Due to the closure of penitentiaries and overcrowding in Venezuelan prisons, transitory centers for detention are functioning as an alternative prison system. Venezuelan photographer Ana Arévalo Gosen’s (@anitasinfiltro) project Dias Eternos, exposes the living conditions of women in the so-called “preventive detention centers” in Venezuela.
Thousands of women awaiting trial are separated from their families for an undefined time. These women, some of them pregnant, are normally expected to be held for only 45 days, Venezuela’s political and social crises have rendered that notion a memory, and this gave Ana the inspiration for the title Dias Eternos which means eternal days.
Pre-trial detention centers are dark, hot, overcrowded and claustrophobic. Prisoners have no food, water, or medical attention. Some suffer from psychological disorders, and many are affected by heavy drug addiction. The facilities do not possess the capacity to separate women from men, nor do they allow for a separation between low-level offenders and hardened criminals.
Living under these conditions does not allow rehabilitation. “When we get out of here [the jail], if we do, we will be worse people than we were before prison”, said Yorkelis (21), who was detained two years ago. She calls “Chinatown”, a one-cell-only prison overcrowded with 60 women, her home.
The justice system, in Venezuela, doesn’t function. They spend all day in little cells, sitting or standing, but doing nothing. The pregnant women have lots of infections, they cannot move. It’s not healthy. These people will come out worse, not better. They are not going to feel reformed or forgiven by society.
Due to the Venezuelan crisis, Ana Arévalo Gosen born in Caracas in 1988, decided to move to Toulouse in 2009 to study political sciences and then photography at L'école Supérieure de Photographie.
Ana María Arévalo Gosen has been documenting overcapacity jails for some time as part of her project Dias Eternos, for which she received grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and from Women Photograph + Nikon Grant. Dias Eternos series has already been published in the New York Times’s Lens Blog. In 2019, she won the first place in POY Latam in the “strength of women” category.
She currently lives in Bilbao and keeps on working in long-term projects in Venezuela. Her work has been published in international news medias. The NYT, LFI Magazine, DUMMY, Wordt Vervoldt, Libération, Tal Cual, El Pais Semanal, Der Spiegel, etc.