Poet-writer Armando Valladares, 49, was imprisoned for 22 years by Cuban President Fidel Castro for his outspoken opposition to communism. Freed in 1982, he now works to promote human rights in Latin America. 'Against All Hope,' his account of indignities suffered by political prisoners in Cuba, was published earlier this year. Q: How many political prisoners are there in Cuba today? A: There are two groups of political prisoners. Those who reject political rehabilitation and suffer torture as the result number about 125. In addition, there are between 13,000 and 14,000 political prisoners who are in rehabilitation programs and are working on re-education farms. Q: What is life like for those in the first category? A: It is difficult to say which is the most terrible of the tortures employed. Is it more horrible to allow someone to die of thirst, which is what happened to former student leader Pedro Luis Boitel, or to mutilate somebody's hands with a machete, as was the case with Eduardo Capote, a teacher who fought against (former dictator Fulgencio) Batista but nevertheless was sent to the Isla de Pinos when he disagreed with Castro? Some of the worst torture occurred at the Boniato Prison, where biological experiments were conducted on prisoners. Q: You describe different kinds of torture in your book. For example, what are drawer cells? A: They are very narrow cells, about six feet long, that contain five or six prisoners. Prisoners had to sit with their knees against their body. There was no room to move; prisoners had to urinate and defecate right there. All of the tortures had one purpose, which was to break the prisoner's resistance. If a prisoner called a political commissioner and said he understood he had been wrong, if he denied his religious beliefs, saying they were from the obscure ages, and if he admitted that he now understood that communism was the solution to mankind's problems and he wanted to have the opportunity to re-enter the new communist society, then he could escape the cell and be put in a re-education farm. Then he could see his family, receive mail, and the violence would be ended as far as he was concerned.