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Angel Santiesteban

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Ángel Santiesteban, 2 September 2016 — After writing what will now be considered the first part of this post, and publishing it under this same title, I was arrested by State Security; however it was not the writing, and much less the visibility that it would attain in my blog, that was the real cause for the … Continue reading "Assassins, Accomplices, and Victims (II) / Ángel Santiesteban" Continue reading
Quienes me atacaron defienden únicamente su permanencia en ese gremio oficial que es la UNEAC Continue reading
Angel Santiesteban, 30 March 2016 — The denunciation of the violation of Ángel Santiesteban’s human rights has been accepted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The organization has given the Castro dictatorship a three-month deadline to respond. – The Editor [A translation of the letter from the IACHR, addressed to Ángel Santiesteban’s editor, Elisa Tabakman, follows … Continue reading "ICHR Accepts Denunciation of #CUBA for Violation of Ãngel Santiesteban’s Human Rights / Ángel Santiesteban" Continue reading
14 May 2016 — We are now looking at another anniversary of the execution of the young men who, in 2003, tried to hijack the Regla ferryboat and were shot by the dictatorship. As is well known, it was one of the most vile assassinations of the so-called “Cuban Revolution, on an extensive list that has … Continue reading "Assassins, Accomplices and Victims / Ángel Santiesteban" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 15 June 2016 — The writer Angel Santiesteban was released on Tuesday night after 30 hours of detention and having been taken to three police stations where he received all sorts of warnings and threats. Santiesteban told 14ymedio by phone that he was arrested around one in the afternoon on Monday, and released at … Continue reading "Angel Santiesteban Released “For Now” / 14ymedio" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 14 June 2016 – The writer Angel Santiesteban was arrested on Monday afternoon shortly after he left his home. The blogger is in a cell at the police station located at the corner of Zapata and C in the Plaza municipality, according to the information from the police offered by telephone. Recently, Santiesteban received … Continue reading "Cuban Writer Angel Santiesteban Arrested / 14ymedio" Continue reading

El escritor Ángel Santiesteban fue detenido este lunes, según informó a DIARIO DE CUBA la activista Ailer María González, a quien el autor avisó telefónicamente poco antes de "entrar al calabozo". 

González explicó que Santiesteban se encuentra en la estación policial de Zapata y C y las autoridades "le han comunicado que hay una acusación contra él procedente de Isla de la Juventud" aunque no se le ha informado de qué se le acusa. 

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El ejecutivo del PEN sueco ha decidido designar a los escritores cubanos Ángel Santiesteban y Jorge Olivera como miembros de honor, informó a DIARIO DE CUBA este lunes el también escritor Amir Valle.

La decisión responde a una propuesta del Comité Pro Escritores Presos Para América Latina, gracias al impulso del escritor cubano Humberto López Guerra, autor de la novela El traidor de Praga

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Angel Santiesteban, 12 May 2015 — At the Summit of the Americas, the Bolivian president told journalists about the arrests, humiliations and violations of human rights he suffered when he opposed the officialdom of his country, from the beginning of his union movement … Continue reading Continue reading
Angel Santiesteban-Prats, Unidad de Guardafronteras Prison, Havana, April 10, 2015 — President Obama is surrounded by Castros. In front he has the old wolf Raul, taking his turn as tyrant. To his left is Raul’s grandson and chief bodyguard. To … Continue reading Continue reading
Angel Santiesteban, Border Control Prison, Havana, 13 April 2015 — I met him at the beginning of the 90s. I was introduced to him after reading one of my stories and he liked it. He signed one of his books … Continue reading Continue reading
“The Editor”, 4 April 2015 — But you are not one of those worthy men who serve a prison sentence in Cuba for raising his voice against the abuses of the dictator. You are a prisoner of conscience, because your … Continue reading Continue reading
Every 21st of the month, my family — in their visits to my penitentiary —  supply me with the national newspapers. Many times they accuse me of masochism, but I find it necessary because it helps me understand where the … Continue reading Continue reading
“What new trap will the dictatorship lay for April 25, the date when Angel Santiesteban-Prats should be released on parole?” Justice continues to impose itself. In Cuba, behind the bars with which they have tried to imprison his body, without … Continue reading Continue reading
For a few seconds you could see the video on Telesur of the blows given by the official Cuban delegates in Panama. I managed to see, and it’s the gesture I remember the most, a man who, above the rest, … Continue reading Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 24 April 2015 — The vice presidents of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party of the European Parliament, Fernando Maura and Pavel Telicka, have asked the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs … Continue reading Continue reading
With the organization “Creative Time,” on Friday, April 13, there was a performance of Tania Bruguera’s “Tatlin’s Whisper #6,” in solidarity with her, Angel Santiesteban-Prats, Danilo Maldonado “El Sexto,” and all other artists in the world who face criminal charges … Continue reading Continue reading
[1] Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, 31 March 2015 — In the Alamar police station in Havana, the stepfather of a 14-year old minor has been accused by his ex-wife after discovering that the man who helped her to raise her daughter was having sexual relations with the child. Years later, with the visits of this “stepfather” to the home, since he felt he had the rights of a father over the girl, he discovered the love she had for him. The police interrogated the parties, proving then what was certain, only that the minor child declared herself profoundly enamored of her “Papi,” that he never approached her, not even if it had been insinuated at some time. But she began to observe by the manner in which she dressed — because she had family abroad — but above all she called attention by a tactile cell phone of the latest generation and it rang that some day he gave it to her. Already at 14 she was giving away her recent-woman’s body, and she unlocked her virginity to that man who was 26 years older. It was barely noticeable when she showed her phone or the brand-name tennis shoes that none of the young boys of her generation could offer. Finally, the police determined that if they were to lock up every man who let himself be seduced by a minor, the prisons wouldn’t be big enough. Today they’re already full; that while there was no rape, it was permissible. And they freed him. “It’s normal,” said the official who led the investigation. “I’ve had worse cases of girls up to 12 years old, who have relations with mature men.” The stepfather sighed, relieved. “Every night we detain girls practicing prostitution with the consent of their parents,” continued the official, who shook the stepfather’s hand before saying goodbye to him. “It’s no wonder,” he said, looking at the cellphone in the stepfather’s hand, “with such a tool anyone can make a gift.” [2] Ángel Santiesteban-Prats Border Guard Prison Unit. Havana. February 2015. Translated by Regina Anavy [1] [2] Continue reading
[1] See more here [2]. [3] By restaging Tania Bruguera’s participatory artwork “Tatlin’s Whisper #6,” we stand in solidarity with her, Angel Santiesteban, Danilo Maldonado “El Sexto,” and all other artists around the world who face criminal charges and violence for exercising their basic human right to free expression. As article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Governments must embrace the rights of their citizens and non-citizens alike to share their voices, ideas, values, beliefs, and dreams without fear of persecution or violence. As citizens of the world with a shared humanity, we urge the government of Cuba to drop all charges against Tania Bruguera, Angel Santiesteban, and Danilo Maldonado “El Sexto,” who are either imprisoned or facing imprisonment for doing what every person of the planet should be able to do: expressing themselves. Title of Work: #YoTambienExijo: A Restaging of Tatlin’s Whisper #6 **Instructions** For performance: No microphone is needed. Instead use a human microphone like the ones used in Occupy Wall Street. A small box (soapbox style) for the speaker to stand on. People are invited to speak for one minute about freedom of speech. Optional: If you want to you can include a WHITE dove, but do not keep the dove on the shoulder as this is extremely difficult. Each person can hold the dove in their hands, and hands it over to the next person. Have a few… just in case they escape. For documentation: Please document events (either with still or video) and post to the Creative Time Facebook “event” at [4], as well as on personal and, preferably, institutional Twitter and Instagram accounts, using the hashtags #YoTambienExijo and #FreeTaniaBruguera. Please indicate where the performance occurred and when. [1] [2] [3] [4] Continue reading
[1] Today, April 9, 2015, we are just 19 days away from the date in which the dictatorship of the Castro clan should have granted probation to Angel Santiesteban-Prats, a prisoner wrongfully for crimes he did not commit as has been widely attested. So within days of him being about to be released, we have learned that they have planned to move him again. We don’t know where or why. We have also found out that on the last visit he received, he was monitored by cameras set up for this occasion. [2] This Friday, April 10, he should again receive a visit, and this visit coincides with the Americas Summit in Panama City, where Raúl Castro will be with his entourage. There will also participate members of civil society, a fact that – after having done the impossible – he has not managed to avoid, and for days, their henchmen have not stopped trying to disqualify and detract them. The Panamanian state collaborated with the dictatorship of Castro, harassing and arresting dissidents just as they were arriving in the country, and in the last hours there have been acts of condemnation and beating of Cubans, organized by the embassy and Panamanian groups of solidarity with Cuba, against opponents who have been invited to Civil Society Forum of the summit, a thing really embarrassing, although it was predictable. [3] We hope that this new transfer of Angel Santiesteban-Prats, and the recent cameras that violate the privacy of his visits, have nothing to do with the Summit and is not an attempt to silence his voice on this issue. [4] Whether or not Angel gets to send his opinion pieces on the subject — and especially on the dictatorship — we know what he thinks, and know better still that he is imprisoned just for thinking thus. We warn again that all eyes are on Angel and we will not wait a second to denounce new abuses that can be prepared for him. The editor [5] Translated by: Hombre de Paz [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Continue reading
[1] What value is there in loudly bragging about Cuba as a “medical world power” and that it “disinterestedly” sends thousands of doctors around the planet, when in reality the Cuban archipelago, for many years, has been far from this false image as an island paradise, from the moment when the Castro brothers calculated the numbers and dividends from the hugely lucrative business represented by selling the cheap slave labor of these professionals. Thanks to these medical brigades, the government adds millions to its coffers, which wouldn’t be bad if they paid these doctors, nurses and health technicians a large percentage of the revenue they generate and not the paltry share they currently receive of the contracts signed between States. What happens to doctors, also happens to athletes, artists, university professors and any professional that serves their interests; but this post is dedicated to the exploited of medicine. The Castro brothers, once they took power — secured with populist and social laws — the concerned themselves more with foreign policy, interested in regional influence with the aim of extending their communist ideology, than with domestic issues. They started exporting the Revolution with the seeding of guerrillas in several continents. One example is the conflict that persists today in Colombia, half a century after that attempt of insurrectional social war, that installed them in power. But that dream — or nightmare — was cut short. It mutated from the original ideals, and — passing through various stages such as the military support in Africa — to an attempt to win elections with popular leftist movements. The guerrillas were ordered to shift tactics: exchanging their weapons and camouflage, they dressed them in brand name suits and ties to take the floor to manipulate the society’s most economically disadvantaged. Cuban military advisors hang stethoscopes around their necks and dress in white coats. In short, a great part of this new hidden force is in the nobility of the medical professional, continuing the work of the prior military advisors, in order to influence and support the choice of the Castros for the presidency of this country. Meanwhile, whether or not they achieve that, the Cuban government receives the salaries of its 21st Century slaves. [2] Ángel Santiesteban-Prats Border Control Prison Unit, Havana, March 2015 6 April 2015 [1] [2] Continue reading

Se unieron el Proyecto Estado de SATS, Galería El Círculo, Tania Bruguera e intérpretes de hip-hop como Maikel Extremo y Raper Isaac. El evento se realizó el pasado sábado en el apartamento de Gorki Águila, devenido sede de los estudios nombrados La Paja Recold, en calle 35 entre 42 y 44,  Playa.

En las paredes del apartamento se exhibieron cuadros, dibujos e instalaciones de la autoría de El Sexto. Se incluyeron dibujos realizados por él en la prisión donde está retenido, que lograron ser sacados burlando la fuerte vigilancia de los guardias.

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[1] Angel Santiesteban, 25 March 2015 — For the first time in the history of the violations against the Cuban dissidence by the political police of the totalitarian Regime, there are two lines of thought: one subdued and the other more severe. Those in the opposition who have publicly supported the intention of the governments of the United States and Cuba to reconstruct diplomatic relations have had their rights respected to travel abroad, reunite, publish, etc. But those who openly oppose the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, unless the Cuban Government respects human rights and frees the political prisoners, have been detained and had their passports take away, like the plastic artist Tania Bruguera, who was visiting the country, so that she now finds herself held hostage, and the activists Antonio Rodiles and Ailer Gonzales. The Ladies in White, together with their leader, Berta Soler, and one of the 75 prisoners of the Black Spring, Angel Moya, Antonio Rodiles, Ailer Gonzalez, Claudio Fuentes and Tania Bruguera, among others, were captured, some for several days, and, coincidentally, have all opposed the reestablishment of relations. It’s painful that this distance exists between both factions, which, when united, have suffered so much abuse from the dictatorship. Some who accept relations keep quiet about the abuses committed toward those who think differently. In a certain way, they have to recognize that silence converts them into accomplices of the Regime. We can’t forget that in different ways, thinking from parallel paths, is precisely what transforms us in dissidence, because we came fleeing from belonging to that mob that accedes to the call of the Dictator, which sometimes, even in an indirect way, can manipulate us in its favor. Although we think that others are wrong, we should defend their right to be so. There is no one dissidence that is bland and another that is extreme, only degrees that are necessary and that strive for the same thing. [2] Ángel Santiesteban-Prats Unidad de Guardafronteras Prison, Havana. March 2015. Translated by Regina Anavy   [1] [2] Continue reading
[1] Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, Border Guard Prison, Havana, 8 March 2015 — The dictatorship has tried to hide my voice for two consecutive years. I think it has failed. On February 28 I completed 24 months in prison, and I can assure you it has accomplished nothing, that the punishment has not served the purposes of the totalitarian regime. They’ve put me through horrors, and I like to think that each one has left me unscathed. If I remember correctly, I could see the fear in their eyes for what they’ve done and the admiration for my vertical posture and not wanting to live in silence under their boots. I have never asked them when they will release me, because I believe that other political prisoners have that right before me. Of course, I have not received “time off for good behavior” where the years are calculated as ten months if the prisoner behaves well. Last year I asked my family for a cake to celebrate the first anniversary. This year, as is their wont, the regime has intensified my isolation in their constant failed attempt to achieve it. I want to share with all those who love freedom of expression, as an inviolable principle of every intellectual and the society in general, this second year in prison, an honor that the despots in power have given me as a gift. Thank you and hugs to those who understand and support me. [2]   [1] [2] Continue reading
[1] Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, Border Control Prison, February 2015 — If I had any desire to be set free, it wouldn’t be with a great desire to accompany my children in their human, academic and social growth and to cooperate in this dream of liberation for my country. When I think that I will have to return to that huge prison that is Cuba for Cubans who cannot express their opinions about the reality that surrounds them, or the artists who, through their art, bring another aesthetic that  doesn’t make the leaders happy, the emotion fades like that light they try to turn off, to hide. I makes no sense to say that freedom is outside my imprisonment when I fell that I am more free than those who say they are free and speak softly to hide their thoughts, or prefer to lie to others with the intention of not being identified by the officials — somehow the police — persecutors of those who dare to be honest, although they silently envy them. To be punished by a dictatorship is one of the best experiences I’ve received in my life and I am very proud of it. Knowing that history will record me as against the tyranny that has ruled the archipelago for more than half a century, fills me with joy and is, in itself, the greatest payment for the suffering that I have received, for the punishment they deal like a decoration impossible to match. Today, Wednesday, February 25, I called the headquarters of the Ladies in White and thanked them for their shouts of freedom for the political prisoners; their boundless courage, and for bearing up under the beatings and humiliations they receive, as one Sunday 22 February, when they were physically abused, humiliated and imprisoned, as well as Human Rights activists who support the Ladies in White, among others Ailer Gonzalez and Antonio Rodiles. The government has to stop its constant violation of these rights, and accept that once the opposition is a tangible reality it is impossible to annul them no matter how many outrages are committed against them. In addition, the countries who converse with the dictators must demand respect and not allow them to be used and underestimated in this game that the tyranny smears in search of the oxygenation that guarantees their remaining in power. Down with the dictatorship! Nation and Liberty! [2] Published: 13 March 2015 [1] [2] Continue reading
[1] Angel Santiesteban, Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana. February, 2015 — I do not have access to the news online nor the articles by specialists and political scientists in the daily papers with respect to the recent dialogues between President Obama and the president of Cuba. And, as the days pass and we are ever farther from that 17 of December of last year [2] — when their secret contacts and accords became known — there is a question that continues to grow in my mind, and it is: why did the initial list of prisoners to be exchanged not include those who have been jailed in Cuba for almost 30 years? How is it possible that these prisoners were left out of that list of 53 Cuban political prisoners? I am not saying that they should have been substituted for any of those on the list, simply that they should have been included. And the more I ponder this, my puzzlement grows like a snowball. It simply seems to me a sign of disrespect to play politics and forget those men, those brothers, those human beings who have been suffering in the worst of captivities for decades. Would that, in a second “round,” as always happens in these political maneuverings, these men are taken into account. This I pray. Remember that those imprisoned Cubans are serving sentences that are double those that were being completed by Castro’s spies. Perhaps, as the song says, “they have it all figured out,” and in fact they were left for another future spy exchange — such as for Ana Belén Montes [3], their spy in the Pentagon — or to soften up the North American Congress so that they will lift the embargo. I suspect that the script is already written: Obama and the Castros have a common enemy, which is the Republican Party. They are the ones who need to be convinced, because, were it up to the Democrats, they would already, in the blink of an eye, have set up a satellite of China or Russia in the Caribbean — which is what they’re doing, of course, the only difference being that it is official, made legal by the American government itself. I already foresee that this hand will be bitten, and will catch rabies. [4] Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana. February, 2015. * Editor’s Note: There are 9 political prisoners who have been incarcerated more than 20 years. Their names (and years imprisoned so far) are: Pedro de la Caridad Álvarez (23), Daniel Candelario Santovenia (23), Elías Pérez (23), Erik Salmerón (23), Raúl Manuel Cornel (22), José David Herman (22), Miguel Díaz (21), Armando Sosa (21) and  Humberto Eladio Real Suárez (21). Fifteen other prisoners have been detained for periods between 12 and 19 years. (Source: Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation [5] (CCDHRN) and see also Human Rights Watch Report based on CCDHRN reporting [6].)  Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison 6 March 2015 [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Continue reading
[1] Writers tired of mediocrity Ángel Santiesteban, 9 March 2015 — I recognize that at times I don’t mention writers living in Cuba for fear of harming them, although I know how most Cuba intellectuals think, I know, I’m aware of it, because of what they do, the game continues and what will they get in return for faked docile behavior in support of totalitarianism. Among those I don’t mention is Francis Sánchez [2], a writer from Ciego de Ávila, whom I have accompanied for years in his intellectual development, and then, that call to his conscience to express his political feelings. To this end, he has faced fierce government criticism, harsher in the province than in the capital, being more isolated from the international media and with fewer Human Rights activists. Thus, he has had to swim upstream and against the current most of the time. I know his family, whom I don’t name so as not to cause them to be hurt; I have visited his house, I have crouched in that space of creative lineage, I have accompanied his sons [3] and bought them fish food (they are already teenagers), and they consider me a family friend, to my personal pride. I also thank them that through them I met Laurita in Mexico who helped me, against their will, to create this blog “The Children Nobody Wanted,” and I will always be grateful. [4] It has been gratifying to know that — despite the pressures of State Security, the Provincial Party and the cultural marginality of the functionaries who direct this organization — Francis has answered his call to conscience, resisting the tension of knowing himself to be walking a tightrope, on the razor’s edge, and he has exhibited his work “Cicatrices” (Scars), in the gallery of the artists and human rights defenders Luis Trápaga and Lía Villares. Take care brother, they are lurking, and fabricating a case against you and it will be like an absurd journey into hell, that you won’t believe until you see the total darkness. In any event, there at the point of no return, my voice will be with you, my cry joined with that of your family. I send you a huge hug and my pride in our friendship, and the mutual need to express ourselves honestly in our time, feeling the light that crosses our body, in that full transparency brought to us by the true artists, and first of all by our José Martí. I ask the international community to keep Francis Sánchez and his family in sight, preventing another institutional abuse to silence his voice, his art, which is so painful to the dictatorship. [5] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Continue reading
[1]Angel Santiesteban Prats,Jaimanitas Border Patrol Prison, Havana, 12 February 2015 — Today February 12, 2015, precisely the day of opening of the Havana International Book Fair, various officials have come to me noting one of the recent complaints concerning the slavery of the prisoners in Cuba, their cheap labor, and the inhumane conditions with which they work twelve to fourteen hours a day, including the weekends or public holidays or non-working days. To make matters worse, they work with boots and torn and patched clothes, which they cannot even buy with their minimal, token salary — which sometimes doesn’t arrive on time — and they have to wait until the following month to cash it. Prisoners, like almost always, are fearful for reprisals when the inspection officers depart, since they hinted to them of the deprived circumstances in which they survive their sentence. I am pleased that, somehow, the blog fulfills the role for which it was created, which is nothing more than make justice prevail for the destitute, the fearful, or those who are unaware of the way in which their voices influence society. My generation, the vast majority, got tired of receiving the topics about which we should write, when the repressive government sends them through cultural officials. The truth is that somehow they will give you new boots and adequate clothing. They will not send them to work sick or beaten. Nor, or at least I suppose, while I am nearby, will they allow them to work well beyond the established hours. And they noted down in their agendas the type of job they perform and the fair payment that should receive, since the officials confirmed that prisoners are being swindled by their employers. We know that, unfortunately, a large part of Cubans do not have access to the Internet, but apparently the government is paying attention to a part of my complaints. I’m happy for them, but they do it only to conceal them, we hope they will be eradicating them. [2] Translated by: Hombre de Paz 4 March 2015 [1] [2] Continue reading
[1] “…one is what one does, and not what one writes.” José Martí Angel Santiesteban, Jaimanitas Border Patrol Prison, Havana, January 2015 — Ever since we were born, we heard our parents offer their political opinions in a low voice when they were of criticisms against the government. It was an act that we learned by imitation, something natural spawned in us as cultural training. Silence began to be part of our being. Look both ways before expressing a problematic point of view, this was a spontaneous act that was borderline naivety, but was actually a survival instinct. When I started to lose the fear, friends got frightened. They didn’t want to understand that even the word “political” in the mouth of an intellectual, was something completely contradictory because if the dictatorship had taught us anything, it was that it was using the national and Latin American artists to wave flags in their favor. But when it came to expressing discontent, it was an aberrant, demented act that – in clear words – was nothing more than hitting the wall with one’s head, and that seemed logical to no-one. For this the same “logic” with which they fertilized us across generations, we have endured more than half a century of dictatorship. It has been the most effective weapon of the regime against the Cuban population. First they enslaved our souls, then they have made us know the rigors in the body. [2] Ángel Santiesteban-Prats Translated by: Hombre de Paz 2 March 2015 [1] [2] Continue reading
Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, Jaimanitas Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana, December, 2014 — Lacking access as I do to the predictions of political scientists (which perhaps is to my advantage so that I may be forgiven), I infer from President Obama’s latest measures that he now has nothing to lose. Therefore, any action he takes can only be a plus, or at least help him to maintain his social status. The President is in his second term. He has been besieged from the start of his presidency by the Republican Party. Therefore, besides affording him a means of revenge, the process he has set in motion will at least provide him with personal satisfaction. Barack Obama has left his campaign promises for the end. With little more than one year left before he departs from the White House, he has decided to make good on his words. He has begun dismantling the Guantánamo Naval Base prison, preparing the checkmate for when the North American electorate’s dissatisfaction is manifested (and the reason the Democrats lost the majority in the Senate and both Houses of Congress), for his immigration reform. Add to that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), which the Republicans hope to repeal. And now there is the prisoner exchange with Cuba and the announcement of diplomatic relations being resumed. All of this reminds me of the popular saying about how “the river whose waters are rough rewards the fisherman with a better catch.” Obama is the only one who can gain something from this turmoil since the possibility of Republicans revoking immigration reform would leave them in a precarious situation with the Latino community, and the 11 million immigrants in general. This would cost them votes before the presidential election by forcing them to play a negative role. Regarding the Cuban question, Obama has changed for generations to come that anti-Communist thinking which the first wave of exiles brought in the ’60s, and then later in the ’70s, and even during the Mariel Boatlift; generations who in large part emigrated in search of the American Dream and therefore their motivation was largely economic. Those who arrived later, indeed were genuinely fleeing the precariousness of the socialist system, but they said that if it were not so, they would not have left. In short, the majority of Cubans who are in the United States are concerned only with their economic progress, the subject of Cuba is foreign to them, they are only interested in working, earning, living as well as possible, helping their relatives on the Island and, at least once a year, going back to show off their material wellbeing, and to be received like the “prodigal son.” For them, the embargo is an impediment to realizing their dreams. For some, the Castros are good, and if there is poverty in Cuba, it is the fault of the United States. I reiterate that Obama now has nothing to lose personally. If he has anything to gain, it will be for his party and its presidential nominee. Nothing more than this: Life will surprise us with the catch from the turbulent river. Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison Continue reading
[1] Hector Maseda after his release, with his wife Laura Pollán, founder of the Ladies in White, who later died under circumstances still being questioned. Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, Border Guard Prison Unit, Havana, February 2015 — February 12th will be four years since the release of the last prisoners belonging to the group of 75 arrested in that fateful “Black Spring [2]” of 2003. History and Memory are two spaces that in time unite. I remembered Hector Maseda telling me about the pressures he received those final days to abandon the county. The way in which the political police have pressured me is similar to what Maseda told me about At times I feel I am in the same mold, they’ve only changed the people, to my honor. On more than one occasion Maseda came to see me in the Lawton jail. There, I had finally heard his voice and a powerful force entered me. He said words to me that out of humility I would be incapable of repeating, and coming from someone whom I admire and respect, I will keep them in my memory for the rest of my days; but right now I could restart my imprisonment. I feel such strength as at the beginning thanks the spirit of those who have sacrificed their lives, and those who are still willing and accompany me with their breath. As José Martí said, “honor is happiness and strength,” which like a blanket, my brothers in the struggle cover me with. [3] 3 March 2015 [1] [2] [3] Continue reading
Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, Jaimanitas Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana, December 2014 — Raúl Castro has just finished his address to the so-called Cuban “parliament” this morning, Dec. 20, 2014. For those who are familiar with the logic of the Castro brothers throughout this more than half-century since they installed themselves in power, his words do not produce the least surprise. They have been like the Second Declaration of Havana [1] and a reaffirmation of his “socialist character.” President Barack Obama’s enthusiasm, his excess of emotion and assuredness, convinced as he is of acting in the Cuban people’s best interests and, of course, most significantly and above all else, in the most beneficial way for the United States (for many reasons that we are not going to explain in this post) — for the Cuban regime, it is nothing more than a power play, a show of arrogance and contempt. Obama’s words insulted and frightened the Communists, who therefore demanded a forceful response. I can picture Fidel Castro’s aggravation upon hearing it, the insults that he must have spewed upon interpreting Obama’s remarks as insolence. Simply put, the words of the dictator quash the dreams of Obama, who enjoys the unique and unprecedented opportunity given him, and which barely hours later, already confirm for him that about which some in the dissident movement have warned him: that the more the Castros gain strength, the more they will double down on human rights violations – because a totalitarian system is diametrically opposed to independent, individual thought. In his speech, if General Castro broached the subject of the opposition, it was to label us as “mercenaries at the beck and call of the United States.” To call me that, who have never entered the U.S. Interests Section building, save for the year 2000 when I went to the common area on the ground floor to collect my visa, for my first cultural trip to the north, is effrontery of the first order. Since then, I have been given a visa without appearing in-person. Similarly, never have I received money or instruction of a political nature. I have never been face to face with a representative of the United States government. If I have had two faults since joining the dissidence, they are the suffering caused to my loved ones, and the financial drain on my sister, Mary, and my closest friends. Nonetheless, I am accused of being a “mercenary” — I who gave up receiving the government’s handouts which, because of literary prominence, others with less, live like princes attached to the dictator’s teat. There is no need to be confused. If in his first speech announcing the prisoner exchange, Raúl Castro said that “we should learn the art of coexisting, in a civilized manner, with our differences,” these are manipulative words, uttered only so that President Obama will take ownership of them. The mind of the Castros is focused on “big ideas” about projects at the U.S. and Cuba government level — never on the “ordinary understanding” with which we long for our divergent thinking to be accepted, at least on principle. The great gift in Castro’s response is that we now find ourselves at the beginning, and negotiations with the Castros are not now, nor will ever be, of any use. Would that this causes Obama to pay attention to and trust the opposition. Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison [1] Continue reading
[1]24 February 2015 — In December 2012, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, together with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and Amnesty International, U.S., created the Defending Freedoms Project, with the objective of supporting human rights and religious freedom worldwide, with a particular focus on prisoners of conscience. Specifically, the members of Congress who “adopt” prisoners of conscience, in solidarity with those brave men and women throughout the world, pledge to plead publicly for their freedom. Ángel Santiesteban-Prats and the journalist José Antonio Torres, both Cuban political prisoners, have recently been included on the list. [2]This new recognition of Ángel Santiesteban-Prats is added to what he recently received on behalf of the German Eurodeputy, Dr. Christian Ehlerquien, who assumed the political sponsorship of the imprisoned Cuban writer. Translated by Regina Anavy [1] [2] Continue reading
At this point in the historic events that have taken place in recent days between Cuba and the United States, it is not worthwhile to have regrets, but rather to understand the reasons for these events, and try to find a positive view of them. I dare say that President Obama has passed the ball to the Cuban rulers. Now they have in their court what they have been long been clamoring for. We shall see what they are capable of doing with it. Most likely, the Castro brothers will not know what to do with the new possibility that can only lead to the path of liberty and democracy. This is something that they are unwilling to concede, albeit knowing of the great chance that the Republicans will assume power in the next U.S. elections and will revoke a good part or all that Obama has given them – which as a policy matter is never possible. Barack Obama knows that he can play with these possibilities for another year and, in a certain way, it is his personal vengeance against the opposition party. Although in his speech he mentioned relations with China and Vietnam, the question is whether the U.S. is willing to tolerate human rights violations in a country so historically and geographically close. I do not accord to Cuba the same status as those other two communist countries. I am of the view that Cuba will demonstrate to the world its inability to allow individual freedoms, even though the Castro brothers will be unable to return to power – the older one due to physical limitations, the younger because of the very legislation that he himself approved [1]. Of course, we are all more than certain that the president who will be installed will be no more than a puppet whose strings will be in the hands of the Castro family if, by then, one of their own offspring is not put in power so that the cycle of history can repeat itself. Ángel Santiesteban-Prats December, 2014. Jaimanitas Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana. Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison [1] Continue reading
Angel Santiesteban, 7 January 2015 — To know that there is a Cuban who knew how to work against the dictatorship [1] makes it easier to bear that the regime’s five spies  [2]are now back on Cuban soil. I rejoiced when it was revealed that this Cuban — responding not to the North American government but against the dictatorship of the Castros — was the cause, having passed information to United States intelligence agencies about the enemy network [3] that was operating in its territory. He is a free man today, having been exchanged for the last three of those spies who were still in prison in the US]. In turn, the fact that Alan Gross is now back with his family also means relief for those of us who harbor good feelings — especially those of us who know firsthand the suffering of incarceration. [4] I believe the Castros will win any arm wrestling match in which their arms are supported by feelings. They do not care about keeping innocent people in jail, at least for the crimes with which they are charged. In the Gross case, the regime’s own reports affirm that this is about “a North American subcontractor who intended to smuggle into Cuba equipment which is not authorized by the government of the Island.” If his crime is one of “smuggling,” then of what espionage is he accused? The government’s legal action was forced in the exchange for its spies, as has recently occurred. There are good reason that it has an espionage and repression machine, lubricated by the oil of experience over more than half a century. The most important thing, to my understanding, is that the Communists in power have, for the moment, been left without a carrot to mobilize social media. Throughout their more than 50 years in power, the Castros have been characterized by public “yearnings” — which they use to keep the Cuban people distracted. Nobody can forget the months of intense, manipulative propaganda regarding the return of the boy Elián [5] Gonzalez, later replaced with an even more intense campaign for the return of the spies. [6] I suppose that at this moment, the ideologues of the regime must be finding themselves in a forced march in search of a new carrot to dangle, as well as a new objective to achieve. In the meantime, they will find entertainment in the embargo, which they like to call a “blockade” in order to produce maximum solidarity effect. Starting with Obama’s announcement of establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, an interesting chapter is opening that could end up, for the regime, being even more destructive than the embargo. [7] Ángel Santiesteban-Prats December, 2014. Border Patrol Prison Unit, Jaimanitas, Havana. Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison [1] [2] [3];_ylt=A0SO8z2qGulU0lsAhU1XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTBya2cwZmh2BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwM1BHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg-- [4] [5] [6] [7] Continue reading
[1]Angel Santiesteban, 2 January 2015 — It finally happened, what a part of Cuban society desired and another share feared: Cuba and the United States resumed diplomatic relations. To criticize President Obama would be an innocuous, ungrateful, and useless, if we learned from José Martí that in politics what isn’t seen is bigger. Obama has charted a course and we have no option but to watch from the stands. that some remember that they gave him their vote isn’t elegant, especially because we must be grateful for the sheltering of several generations of Cubans. It’s a glaring mistake to think that Obama should defend the rights of Cubans when his only obligation is to guarantee the prosperity of the United States. After having done that, he can — as he has done up to now — support the reality of Cubans: but the political, economic and strategic interests, at the presidential level, outweigh what a good part of we Cubans consider best for our nation. We all know that the embargo was mild when compared — for example — with the sanctions applied to Russia right now. With the tiny totalitarian government of the Castros, we are now writing history, perhaps the worst since the Special Period, and where the only sustained human casualties were the most economically vulnerable Cubans unable to face the extreme hunger. We might think that the United States never wanted to carry this guilt, because — needless to say — the leaders, their power structure and their minions, have not reached the rigor of that escalation that, ultimately, even the most extremist had criticized. On the other hand, it is not OK to demand constant turns of the screw to the impoverished Cuban economy when it is so distant and you know that you won’t experience even a single drop of the misery caused. Most particularly, I continue against the lifting of the embargo, because — as I’ve said before — to the extent the dictatorship is strengthened, the arbitrary executions, illegal and abusive treatment against the dissidents. But to avoid our own suffering, more than is our usual share, we shouldn’t desire it for the rest of the population of the archipelago. Now our minds are overwhelmed trying to unravel the intention of the American president. In the next post I will share my musings with respect to, where — perhaps — we could all be mistaken, because finding myself isolated I don’t hear what the specialist say on the topic. Perhaps what I consider an inconvenience, is an advantage, because the blind here the chords of the instrument better. Ángel Santiesteban-Prats Written in December 2014, Jaimanitas Coastguard Prison Unit, Havana Posted in January 2015 [1] Continue reading
[1] My daughter, Daniela, is turning 16 and has written me a letter yearning for my return, saying that this would be the best present for her — but at the same time, she reaffirms her support and respect for my way of thinking and the necessity to make it public, and to go to battle for those rights. Her words are a caress on my face, a welcome breeze that soothes my wrinkles and tribulations, a force that rises up my chest and embraces me. “Papá, you are always with me, you are my pride, I speak to everyone of you, never was I ashamed of the situation. I carry you always in my heart, I swear, through everything and at every moment.” As for my son, Eduardo, he also offers me his support. This, despite maternal pressure and influence from those who love him yet succumb to their own political cowardice, and surrender before the political police; even when, in silence, they think the same way I do and admire me — and expressed as much in the dedications of books that I guard jealously, in the event that some day, history might understand them. My children wait for me because they know that I belong to them, and they need me — and also because I am a friend of both of them, and we discuss all human issues. Yet they also understand my need to be an intellectual true to his time and the sacrifice that I savor like honey in my mouth. [2] Ángel Santiesteban-Prats December, 2014. Jaimanitas Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana. Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison 29 December 2014 [1] [2] Continue reading
[1]Ángel Santiesteban-Prats was and is the victim of Cuban State Security, which wants to silence his voice of opposition. They fabricated a judicial action based on false denunciations from the mother of his son, who properly denied them when he announced internationally that he had been forced by his mother and the political police to declare against his own father. Angel’s innocence has been shown with more than enough proof, and all good Cubans (and others) know it. Before the impotence of puppet justice to “prove” these denunciations, in spite of the fact that international law doesn’t consider one element of the accusation valid, they justified a sentence of five years on the report of a calligraphy expert: “guilty by the height and inclination of his handwriting.” Some secret accords between the administration of President Obama and the dictatorship of Raul Castro, encouraged by his Holiness Pope Francis I (knowing the “Santiesteban” case, since he has received many letters and faxes), have effected the renewal of diplomatic relations between both countries. As a gesture of “good will,” the dictator freed 53 political prisoners, of whom 14 were already released, demonstrating once again how Castro ridicules the whole world, including those who favor treating him in a way he doesn’t deserve. [2] Shamefully, Angel Santiesteban-Prats wasn’t included on that list [of prisoners to be released]. Obama, as well as the “human rights” organizations that composed the list, know very well that the dictatorship’s most effective method is to condemn the opposition for common crimes that are invented in order to take support away from them and in order to deprive them of the possible benefit of amnesty. Nor can those who composed the list of “approved” political prisoners justify the Machiavellian maneuver of the “legal bureaucracy” (not being “bureaucratically” political prisoners, they can’t be on that list, although the trap perpetuated against them has been made public). The fact is undeniable: They ignore and exclude those “common prisoners” condemned because of their opposition and moreover are responsible for the injustice they committed with Angel’s exclusion. It’s worth remembering once more that Angel Santiesteban-Prats must be the only common prisoner on the island who was offered freedom in exchange for abandoning his political posture, many times. Each time he refused. Angel not only remained off this list because he is — according to the dictatorship, the Pope, President Obama, and the intervening human rights organizations — a “common delinquent,” they also laid another legal trap, delaying for more than a year the “benefit” of a review of the ridiculous judgment. This “review,” approved but not yet carried out, left Angel outside any possibility of enjoying his rights as a prisoner, among them conditional liberty, which he should get in April, upon fulfilling half of his sentence. The explanation is again a bureaucratic one: While there are pending “matters” with justice, there is nothing conditional; now Angel has a pending review that will never happen. [3] The ones guilty of this situation are Raul Castro and his always-and-never-dead brother, Fidel. But by the same measure, so are all those compatriots who call themselves “activists” and “dissidents,” who know that Angel IS NOT a common prisoner but a prisoner of conscience. They left him alone and excluded him from the list. You have to ask yourself how many more of those “common prisoners” have also been forgotten when that list was drawn up. Any honest and decent agreement must include the demand (no one demanded anything from the dictatorship) of immediate and unconditional freedom for ALL Cuban political prisoners. Angel Santiesteban-Prats has always expressed this demand in his writings from prison. From here on, and condemning the silence and the complicity of everyone involved in these agreements, WE DEMAND THE IMMEDIATE, UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE OF ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS. The rest, as the people of Cuba say, is mere jabbering, cheap politicking. The Editor  Translated by Regina Anavy 15 January 2015 [1] [2] [3] Continue reading
Literature has its decorum, as do those who live by it. José Martí [1] Nelton Pérez is a Cuban writer who recently won the Alejo Carpentier prize, which is the highest literary award for writers on a national scale, and also the best financially-endowed prize, comparable only to the Casa de las Américas International Prize. His winning novel “Infidente”, deals with José Martí’s stay at the El Abra estate, on the Isle of Pines, following his release from political prison, when Sr. Sardá, a friend of his father’s, invited him to recover his good health there, while he awaited his deportation to Spain. Taking as his starting point the limited historical information about Martí’s stay on the island, Nelton recreates, imagines, supposes — and he does it so well that the reader ends up believing that the letters written by the young Martí are real. Once when he visited me in prison, I had the privilege of him bringing me the manuscript. I admire Nelton for his talent and quiet perseverance. He hasn’t lobbied or asked for concessions of any kind in order to achieve what properly belongs to him based on his genius. In fact, he has passed several years, as patient as a priest, waiting for the Cuban Book Institute (I.C.L) to publish his excellent volume of stories, “Apuntes de Josué 1994” (“Notes of Josué 1994″),which contains some subject matter uncomfortable for the government, i.e. the stampede of the boat people* during the year referenced in the title, from which one can appreciate the pain of the Cuban people–above all that of the young people desperate to try their luck on the Straits of Florida, to achieve their dream of getting to Miami. Every year, Nelton calls Rogelio Riverón, who acts as the boss and devotes some minutes to excuses, which I assume are meant to be a joke; including that one of the characters mentions my name and the title of one of my books, and that the censors won’t accept it. I remember that it was Riverón who assembled that anthology with the prizewinners in the Carpentier and Cortázar competitions, leaving out Jorge Luis Arzolla and me; I presume that Riverón was obeying precise orders from the then-President of the Cuban Institute of Books (ICL), the Taliban Iroel Sánchez. But it is best that history take cares of placing everyone in the position they have earned, whether by honesty or dishonesty. Nelton Pérez once again demonstrates — by means of his own talent — that he is a great writer, and this creative greatness is comparable only to how great a human being he is. In particular, I can assure you that he was the only writer who has visited me in prison, and I was the one who always had my apartment full of friends and colleagues. On many occasions, Nelton has set out on a journey over land and sea from the city of Gerona, just to see me during visiting hours and exchange a warm embrace. Nelton has never embarked upon a political speech to me. He is not interested in why I might find myself imprisoned, because, being a friend, a brother more than anything, he only knows that one of his family is jailed. But as if that weren’t a good enough reason, Nelson knows I am innocent. He was always at my side. When a bond was imposed to ensure that I would not travel to the Festival of the Word in Puerto Rico in 2009, he went to the bank to deposit the sum in question, and then, when he found me in prison, when he wanted to pay it, he read in the official documents that the  requirement had in fact been imposed by the State Security, which didn’t even have the modesty to hide its desperate hand, on account of my rebellious attitude toward the dictatorship. Nelton suffers my imprisonment as much as or more than I do. He is the most honest person, with the finest feelings, of anyone I know. He is himself a prize, as friend, husband and father, who, unlike others, did not keep his distance for fear of reprisals for not accepting the pressures applied by the Culture  functionaries and the State Security officials. This prize will not be the last we will hear of Nelton Pérez, because his talent includes also writing poetry, songs, and directing a literary workshop in his town, thus providing help to the newest writers. Brother Nelton, when I learned of your prize, I don’t recall having been so emotional when I won it myself in 2001 for my book, “The Children Nobody Wanted.” Sending my happiness to you with an embrace. [2]  Ángel Santiesteban-Prats January 2015. Jaimanitas Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana. *Translator’s note: 36,000 Cubans launched themselves in makeshift boats in the summer of that year, to try to get to the United States. Translated by GH 16 January 2015 [1] [2] Continue reading
Angel Santiesteban Prats Dossier in English: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD [1] [2] [3] 14 January 2015 [1] [2] [3] Continue reading
[1] Graphic: Sonia Garro Alfonso, recently freed Lady in White [2]. Collage over a piece by Rolando Pulido [3]. The writer and blogger Ángel Santiesteban Prats, from the prison where he is serving an unjust sentence, just published–thanks to the help of a friend on Facebook–a brief post expressing his thoughts about the recent releases of political prisoners. As always, Angelito is filled with Light and strength. May my embrace reach him though the faithful reproduction of his text. Ángel’s post: I have received the expressions of pain from many friends, my publisher, and my relatives–some stupefied, others offended–over my exclusion from the list of prisoners recently released by the Cuban government. Upon completing almost two years of unjust imprisonment, I can assure everyone that never have I asked the correctional authories or, even less, the officials from State Security who have visited me, when I will be released. I will never give them that satisfaction, just as I have never inquired whether I will be given the pass* which is granted to all “minimum severity” prisoners like me, who am sentenced to five years. Nonetheless, although I know that I am not on the noted list, my joy is infinite at knowing that those who were on it are now free. My suffering is universal. I feel all Cubans to be an extension of me, or vice versa, above all those who have suffered and do suffer for an ideal–and in particular that of freedom for our country. I also believe that the list that so gladdened me was missing the names of other political prisoners who deserved to have been added. There will always be some who are excluded because government’s sleight-of-hand is very swift and, when it already has one list compiled, it as another of recently-apprehended inmates. It is unfair to think that they should have taken one name off to insert another. Rather, they should have added to the list, because those who were freed deserved it, just as do those who still remain in the totalitarian regime’s jails–some shut away and subjected to inhumane treatment for many years, for whose imminent freedom I pray. By the same token, and referring again to the recycling of political prisoners, we must now clamor for the immediate absolution and liberation of El Sexto, Danilo Maldonado [4], whom they keep in the Valle Grande prison for a crime of “disrespect to the images of the leaders.” This is a further proof of how jealously they hold on to their power, and of what they are ready and able to do to safeguard it. Power and its dictators are untouchable, and to live is to see it. I will not live long enough to infinitely thank those who clamor for my release, and those who suffer because of my imprisonment, but we must clamor for all–just as my publisher entreats on the blog, “The Children That Nobody Wanted [5],” and my family through social media. At the least, may I be last on the list, as I will complain no more. Ángel Santiesteban-Prats January, 2014. Jaimanitas Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana. *Translator’s note: In an earlier post Ángel explained the Cuban penal system that allows prisoners with shorter sentences to leave prison every so many days for extended (overnight) home visits. He was granted one of these passes when he was in the Lawton Settlement, a work camp, but future passes were withheld.  Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison  22 January 2015 [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Continue reading
[1] Warning: The regime in Havana has prepared a new legal trap for Ángel. As is already public knowledge, Ángel Santiesteban has been held in a military border patrol base in Jaimanitas since August 13. He was placed there after several days of detention in the Acosta Police Station, following his surrender after having taken 5 of the 15 pass days that he had accumulated since his incarceration in the Lawton prison. The night before taking his days, on 20 July, Ángel used his blog to denounce the great rumors circulating about his imminent transfer to the border patrol base for purposes of isolating him. This was after his son had declared, on Miami’s TV Marti on July 15, that as a child he had been manipulated by his mother and State Security to force him to lie and hurt his father. After turning himself in and having been held for days in police station cells with no nourishment, he was taken to a location such as he denounced in that post. He is kept there in isolation, where his rights to visits and calls are ignored. He has no physical space so vitally needed so that he can keep himself healthy. To demand his right, Ángel declared a hunger strike for a period of days. We learned of this because Lilianne Ruíz, of 14yMedio newspaper, was able to interview him from outside the detention facility. We barely have news of him, because he wants to say very little by telephone, and his jailers do not allow him to send letters or post on his blog. Every time he manages to get one out, it becomes a major feat and it takes very long to reach us. This is such that just this past weekend, I received a letter from October and another from the 15th of November. Of course, he tells me nothing in them about the incidents and motives that caused him to go on the hunger strike in recent days. But he does tell me that although the request for an appeal (made on the 4th of July of 2013) of his case was accepted, nothing has been done to move it forward. This is more grave than it appears. As all of you have read in the press these days, the Cuban government–in a clear move to “look good” for its negotiations with the US before the imminent collapse of the aid that it receives from president Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela–has let go about 20 political prisoners. That is, the government has not freed them–they have let them go into house arrest to await their pending trials. The most well-known case is that of Sonia Garro, who with her husband and another peaceful activist, had been held for 31 months without trial. Ángel’s case is equally notorious because not only did his son declare what truly happened–thus dismantling the judicial farce that was invented to lock up and silence Ángel–but in addition, he already served a third of his sentence (in April he will have served half)–and he should have been released pending his new trial. At the least, they should give him a conditional release in April. However this is something they will not do–given the recent releases from which they excluded Ángel, they made abundantly clear their eagerness to keep him locked up as punishment for his oppositional stance. Having consulted with legal experts, we have learned that it is possible that the regime is preparing a new legal trap for Ángel. Conditional release is given to persons who have already served part of their sentence, but who do not have anything pending in relation to their trial. In Ángel’s case, having requested an appeal, they could remove his right to a conditional release, claiming that it is necessary to wait until the opinion is rendered regarding the appeal. In addition, we have learned through various sources that in the artistic and intellectual sphere in Cuba it is widely remarked that high-level functionaries of the regime who are politically and culturally connected have privately said that Ángel “will be made to serve his full sentence to that he will be well-punished.” Bearing in mind what Ángel himself told 14Ymedio (that the prison guards, responding to his demands, had told him to hold his horses because he had already done a lot of damage to the Revolution and that if he had accepted the offer of exile made at that time he would not find himself in prison now)–and also the political prisoner releases of this week (that sought to improve the government’s terrible image due to its repression and detentions of dissidents on December 10, International Human Rights Day)–this report, plus the analysis by the legal expert, takes on a maximum significance. Ángel’s helplessness is absolute, now that his son also is in danger for having defied the government by telling the truth–and also because Ángel is unable to post his updates on what is happening with his. Thank God, 14Ymedio was able to obtain his own words [2] on what he is going through. We express our gratitude to Lilanne Ruíz [3] for following Ángel’s circumstances so closely. The post below is what Ángel sent me in his last letter. When he wrote it, he had no idea that Sonia Garro [4] would be released. He still doesn’t know it. If he did, he would be overjoyed that she is able is to celebrate the holidays with her daughter, and he would have said so. The children of Ángel will have another Christmas without their father. Ángel will have another Christmas alone and isolated. The Castro clan will have another Christmas illegitimately usurping power and enjoying the privileges it robbed from the people. The dictator brothers will have another Christmas violating with impunity the rights of all Cubans. The Editor If it were up to them, they would shoot me. by Angel Santiesteban In this border patrol military base where they now have me shut away and isolated, I am behind bars that reach to the roof of the patio, and I am guarded 24hrs/day, but not even that or anything else will be enough to make me back down from my goal to live in a free country, something that I do not know, even at my 48 years of age. Regardless, it appears that they are learning that there is no way to make me change my opinion. I believe in God, and the time in prison has not been for naught, it has a purpose and God willing I am close to knowing what that is, not just for me but for my country and my family. This is a struggle that has no room for half-measures but, unfortunately, many Cubans prefer to forget about those of us who are imprisoned, so as to not incur problems for themselves with the government. Contrary to what many believe, the fighting spirit grows in jail because there will never be a better place to know the injustices a dictatorship commits within them such as the threats, the abuses and tramplings such as they wreaked upon me in La Lima prison and later in Prison #1580, where they would tie my feet and hands to make me ingest something foul which, I suppose, or they supposed, was nourishment. At that point my strength increased and kept me going. With the smell of battle, blood flows with more force like a wild and untamable horse that rides through the veins. Then they are the ones who fear, they turn away from our gaze, they avoid confronting us because the truth spoken in our face is more effective than their blows. They are the cowards because they believe that this is the most effective method to dampen our demands–without further justification, according to their logic, because they imagine that were they in our position, they would give up. And this is their great deceit, the question they cannot answer, when they see our strength grow. When one has right on their side, a great part of the battle is already won. Now, with more justification and strength for the battle because I have known more closely the injustice of the tyranny and the constant love and support that provide the confidence needed to remain in combat, I know why they don’t want Sonia Garro or me to be free, because we were too ’impudent’–perhaps that is the right word, to not use a vulgar term. We faced down the political police–I on that 8th of November of 2014, when they beat me and it was seen on that video that fortunately went viral around the world and later the open letter that I addressed to Raúl Castro demanding the release of Antonio Rodiles. Sonia and I are intolerable for the government–especially so with she being of the Ladies in White and I an intellectual, we do not fit the mold that is extremely acceptable to them. They know that we do not fear them. I don’t know how the government officials are not ashamed (but this would be asking the impossible) to still repeat the list of grave accusations that they laid on me, and then later they kept the two least serious ones, while the ’flaming witness’ for the prosecution and the accuser assured them that all were false. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300"] [5] Raul Castro ties the blindfold on a man about to be executed during the Revolution[/caption]   I continue to wait in vain for the appeal that my attorney requested. If it were up to them, they would shoot me, but because they can’t, because times are different, then they have no other recourse but to keep me imprisoned. On the other hand, they are gaining time, they are buying it so that Raúl Castro can serve out his term and somebody new can come in–some other Castro, surely, because the Castros will not relinquish power. I believe that they will not want to risk their position even with a puppet government that they control from behind the scenes. While they ’take their time,’ here remain shut away those of us like Sonia and me, who have no fear, and who they have not succeeded in bringing to our knees. [6] Ángel Santiesteban-Prats Border Patrol Prison Unit. Havana. October, 2014  Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison  14 December 2014 [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Continue reading
Havana, December 30, 2014 Dear Internet users, bloggers, colleagues, friends and Cubans scattered around the world: Writing you is always an adventure. The constant surveillance is relentless, but perhaps this deepens the desire for communication with the outside and to … Continue reading Continue reading
The last time State Security allowed me to leave the country was in 2008, to a Book Fair in the Dominican Republic, which I attended as a judge for a literary prize; and from where I returned with my blog … Continue reading Continue reading