Chucho el Roto
The Folk Hero of San Juan de Ulua

Photographs and Text by John Todd, Jr.

Itīs rather chilling to think that people actually lived and died in this very old prison. It gives you an idea of what a dungeon must have been like.

When You Face It Alone
Here is a walk through the old prison of San Juan de Ulua.

First you cross over the Bridge of the Last Sigh.
Inside the Old Prison
The cellblocks are dark, and water is always dripping from the stalactites hanging from the cieling.

Little stalacmites form on the floor, drop by drop.
An Open Cell Block
Notice the old style architecture in the ancient doorways.
The Stairs
Under the stairs is a small cell.
The Cell of Chucho el Roto
It is the cell of Chucho el Roto.
The Cell of Chucho el Roto
The door was firmly closed.
Mystery Number 23
On the upper left is the Number 23, still barely readable after all these years.
Inside the Small Cell
The inside of the cell is very small. There is no escape from the dripping water and the stalagmites which must have made it impossible for anyone to sleep on the raised ledge.
A Closer Look
Hereīs a closer look.
Here is the chapel and infirmary where Chucho El Roto was taken after receiving the 300 lashes by "El Boa".
Back Across the Bridge
We can take a last look at the prison before crossing the Bridge of the Last Sigh again.

I guess we made it out of the famous prison of San Juan de Ulua.
Up the Stairs
You can go back into the fort section.

Just to the left or to the right, past the main gate, is a small stairway upstairs to where you can see a panoramic view of the fort plaza.

Twin Flower Pots
Just before you get to the top you can look out across the plaza.
Door to Downstairs
The Arsenal date 1916
You should take a final walk around the main section of the fort and take a look at the little functional details of the construction built so long ago.
The Stairs
An Elegant Stairway
The elegant stairway is a relic of the past.

I like to take one last look at the 400 year old plaza because where I stand, millions in treasure passed through and countless men died defending the fort, or died in the prison.

I hope one day you can visit the old fort of San Juan de Ulua. It is a something precious from the early history of many countries that belongs to all of us.

I think I will go look for a pirate movie to rent, and look for any mention of Veracruz or San Juan de Ulua.

The main plaza at San Juan de Ulua

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