CHILLING images have revealed the inside of the notorious prison where Fidel Castro was jailed.
The feared Presidio Modelo, located in Cuba’s Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), fell into disrepair after riots more than five decades ago.
In 1953, Castro spent two years there, along with his brother Raul, imprisoned by the regime of Fulgencio Batista after a leading a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks.
The same prison then hosted enemies of the new regime and developed a reputation for overcrowding and harsh treatment, AtlasObscura.com reports.
Presidio Modelo’s architecture is heavily inspired by the Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois.
Able to house up to 5,000 inmates, the Cuban hell jail has five buildings in a panopticon design.
They are circular, with six floors of cells each and surround an armed surveillance tower from which all cells can be seen.
The design does not allow inmates to know whether they are being observed or not, which defines their behaviour.
Presidio Modelo also had a hospital with two pavillions.
Panopticon prisons were built—but are no longer in use—in Cuba, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, Australia, and the United States.
The horror facility has now been left to rotten since it closed down more than 50 years ago.
But its haunting history is still very much present as the grounds have become a museum open to the public.
From the entrance to the prison complex, long pathways lead to derelict colonial buildings, with the prison structures beyond.
A hot breeze dampens surrounding noises, but the sharp creeks of metal roof panels peeling away from the structure high above are clearly heard.
Small plants spring from cracks in the crumbling concrete and the edges of a few sun-drenched ledges.
In nearby El Salvador, thousands of rival skinhead gangsters are packed together like sardines inside a hellhole prison.
The Centre for the Confinement of Terrorism (CECOT) in Tecoluca opened its doors six months ago in a bid to crack down on gang violence in the world’s murder capital.
The mega-prison is packed with 12,000 bitter rivals from two of the most feared gangs MS-13 and Calle 18, born on the streets of Los Angeles in the early 1980s.
In each 100 square-metre cell, around 75 crammed inmates sleep on metal cabins and are forced to share just two toilets and two sinks.
Prisoners also plead for officials to give food and medicine for the terminally ill dying around them.
The prison pavilions have a curved roof that guarantees natural ventilation for the prisoners, as well as skylight spaces to filter the sun’s rays into a patio that separates the cells.