Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hugh Hefner conditions in notorious Venezuelan jail - NYT report

New York Times reporter Simon Romero and photographer Meredith Kohut went inside Venezuela's notorious San Antonio prison on Margarita Island to produce this video report on the amazing conditions they found, including a swimming pool, a dance floor and private rooms for conjugal visits.

"Bikini-clad female visitors frolic under the Caribbean sun in an outdoor pool. Marijuana smoke flavors the air. Reggaet├│n booms from a club filled with grinding couples. Paintings of the Playboy logo adorn the pool hall. Inmates and their guests jostle to place bets at the prison’s raucous cockfighting arena," writes Romero in his report. 

He also interviewed Paul Makin, a British national who was arrested at Porlamar airport in Margarita on 16 February 2009 with 24 kilos of cocaine concealed in his luggage.

According to Makin, who says "it's the best jail in the world", the unusual privileges are down to Teofilo Rodriguez, known as "El Conejo" (The Rabbit), a convicted drug-trafficker and top dog at the prison.

Read Romero's fascinating article in the York Times: "Where prisoners can do anything, except leave"

A gripping new book by two British lads who spent four years in Venezuela's violent Yare prison has just been published: "Banged Up Abroad: Hellhole"

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