The prisons in Mendoza are some of the worst in the world. In 2004 there was a major incident in this one prison where the prisoners actually held hostage a group of civilians that had come to do a theater act for them. Apparently the president was on the way and they had intended to hold him hostage protesting the horrible condition. Anyway, long story short, eventually the situation was resolved without causalities but this led to a policy which forbids civilians to enter this specific.
They were able to organize an event for us where we could perform inside one wall but outside the main wall in a court yard. We were able to move all the benches out of a Catholic church so the guys had a place to sit and then prisoners were escorted out under heavy guard. We shared a beautiful time with them and they were eager to listen and learn. Most of the men had very long sentences and told us they never get visitors or to participate in activities. WE were also able to give them some different items we had like socks, hats, things to read and the survival blankets that had been donated to us. They were very grateful especially since it is winter and they suffer extreme cold.
After our performance, the director insisted we have coffee because he wanted to tell us that he has never seen anything like what we did and in our case he would make an exception to the “no civilians inside policy”, and let us inside the prison to perform our show for multiply patios. We were honored.
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