Author Archives: Ángel Santiesteban

The New Robin Hoods (1) / Angel Santiesteban

In a visit to France I was told I was a terrible Cuban because I was abstinent, didn’t smoke, didn’t dance at all, I didn’t even drink coffee, and I only eat fruits. Since then I have assumed it would be more difficult for me to understand others.

A few months ago I wrote a post in which it could be understood that I justified those who are taken as prisoners, because I explained that, according to them, the life of liberty was extremely difficult, and well, in their homes they had to confront the stark reality, and in some commentaries, or perhaps in only one, I commented, with every right, that no crime has a justification, which I reaffirm, of course. This would entail a sanction against Robin Hood, who committed misdeeds, stole from the rich to give to the poor.

Incidentally, none of the prisoners who are in prison with me have robbed particular houses, perhaps because of the poor socioeconomic status in the society, because the majority live with them daily, and the new rich live in protected areas. Neither have they robbed specific businesses, in Cuba there are none, or the few snack bars that exist are of very low income, and those prosperous businesses were also located in zones with major surveillance.

The majority of the inmates who have robbed, like to assert that they have stolen nothing from the people, only the state, because they simply feel scammed because in return for their intelligence or physical strength they receive nothing, the wages are barely enough to eat.

And don’t be deceived, here there are those with a low level of education, but the majority have degrees in economics and they even have PhDs. There are also engineers, doctors, and other diverse professionals, decent people, Catholics and Christians, who have also committed a crime.

When you investigate for what reason, they tell you they studied a minimum of five years in the university and are not even able to afford sneakers for their kids to go to school. It is humiliating, one tells me, “I have to wait for my wife’s brother to remember his nephews and send them some consignments.” My eyes opened upon realizing the personal shame. “My father in law,” he continued, “when he was in Cuba, would make fun of me for studying late at night until dawn, while he engaged in illegal negotiations, assuring me that I was wasting my time. What is worse? He was right.”

Here they meet severe penalties for transgressing and selling some concrete mixture for construction. Or the economist who accepts twelve dollars as a Christmas present for his good work throughout the year, or the purchaser, who once in a foreign country, without affecting the company for which he worked, he received a secret commission that is not read on paper, and fulfilled his task, perhaps even buying the product in question at the best price ever. Or the food grocers who took products from the black bag like everyone else.

Manuel Garcia

The King of the Fields

There is an official commercial network in Cuba that sells only what is not found in the parallel commercial market of resellers. When they are offered a job position, before asking about the salary, Cubans determine what is being produced and if it is easy to evade work. That is how most Cubans live.

The professors and doctors sell their friendliness, nurses sell how to “resolve” things, that is get them done, or private tutoring that cost 1 CUC a class. No father earns that amount, 25 pesos is all the money for one day, but if they don’t pay it, it is possible that their kids will pass the grade level with very poor school grades.

One would have to ask if stealing for food is a crime. If it is more decorous for families in the island to live off of the sweat of family members abroad. And if stealing from the state is not similar to stealing from the king of the fields.

Angel Santiesteban – Prats.

Prison settlement of Lawton. May 2014.

Please sign the petition so that Amnesty International will declare Angel Santiesteban a political prisoner.

Translated by: Bianca Martinez

12 July 2014

Remnants of History: Cubans in the Independence of the United States / Angel Santiesteban

Many Cubans are unaware, although living in the United States, that we were participants in the independence of the Thirteen American Colonies.

When in 1776 the conditions were given for the confrontation with England, commercial relations between Cuban and the North had already reached a mutual development and interest, independent of their cities. In 1764, England cut off commerce with the Spanish and French Antilles which affected thirty distilleries that produced the coveted “Anitillean Rum.”  This was one of the reasons for the separatist movement, recognized by John Adams, second president of the United States.

After that event, Havana became a supplier for the independence army.  A commercial fleet was in charge of bringing resources while in Havana shipyards and arsenals American ships were repaired and mounted with cannon.

Part of the rebel force was made up of Cuban Creoles and brown and moreno battallions. On the Pensacola Site, April of 1781, the Havana forces that had arrived as reinforcement were the first to enter the city.

In revenge, England attacked Havana, attempting another capture like that of 1762 but — this time — they found different circumstances. Twenty years later, the defenses were impregnable and their forces were strategically positioned. The harassed Admiral Rodney, then, beat a retreat. The Cuban forces continued their contribution to the American cause and managed to evict the English from control of the Mississippi River, guaranteeing the provisioning of the rebels through that route.

One of the great moments of Cuban collaboration for the independence of the Thirteen Colonies was the delivery — to aid General George Washington when he was without resources — by the native Cuban general and first Creole named governor of the Island, Juan Manuel Cagigal y Monserrat, of his loyal collaborator, intimate friend and personal aide — the Venezuelan Francisco de Miranda — to meet with Washington.

On his return, they gathered resources through public fundraising and jewelry donations by Havana ladies. Thanks to that contribution, Washington began the attack against the troops of British General Cornwallis in Yorktown, Virginia. After intense fighting, he achieved the surrender of the English.

Particularly, Havanans had the opportunity to clear their honor after the loss of The Havana, taken by the English in 1762. With their contribution to the independence of the Thirteen Colonies, Cuban natives fought for the first time to liberate another country.

Thereafter, America began to be the largest trading partner of the archipelago and the second home.

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton prison settlement.  June 2014.

Follow the link to sign the petition for Amnesty International to declare Cuban dissident Angel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience.

Translated by mlk.
4 July 2014

Response to my Blog Readers / Angel Santiesteban

Messages come to my blog mail, some elegant with congratulations for “my upright position” before the dictatorship; others, interested in my health, like this one that I answer in which they ask questions because they don’t understand why I’m in prison, then recognize that sometimes there are contradictions. And of course, this happens so much that I thought I needed to answer. With the most possible brevity, I’ll try to answer many questions in one single answer: this post.

Everything that is sanctioned in Cuba with a maximum sentence of five years is recognized as a “minimum severity” conviction. There are three types of sentences: “maximum”, “medium” and “minimal severity”. As my punishment was for five years, according to the present laws for prisoners condemned for “minimal severity”, they had to place me in a settlement.

The prisoners of “prioritized” character (meaning the most dangerous, condemned for murder, trafficking of people or drugs, economic crimes, rape, pederasty, etc.) are always sent to prisons.

But those like myself with a sentence of “minimum security” and furthermore, with a first offense, are transfered to a camp or a settlement, which is the same thing but with the difference that the second group contains fewer inmates. For example, if in a camp you can have little more than 100 prisoners, in the settlements (like the one I am in, in Lawton) they can only crowd together around some 20 inmates.

When they transfered me on April 9, 2013, from the camp of La Lima to Prison 15-80, the truth was that they were trying to hide me from that group of international journalists, and for that reason, unjustly, they changed my penitentiary regimen from minimum severity to medium severity. They held me there until August 2, the date when they brought me to this place: a settlement.

Once you are in the camp you are confined for the first three months. As indicated in the penal code, the prisoner has a right to a pass of 72 hours every 70 days. In the camp of La Lima, they transfered me at two months, one month before what could have been my first pass.

After arriving at the present Lawton settlement, they gave me a pass at the beginning of October. But in that release, according to the dictate of my principles, I met with the dissidents Antonio Rodiles and Jose Daniel Ferrer, among others, and I suppose that this was the reason, a fair decision, that they took away my pass authorizations, although it’s another one of their flagrant violations.

But they are so many and they have continued for so long, that it’s not worth the bother to complain, and up to this date, they have denied me a pass on five occasions.

Since the last year, exactly on July 4, 2013, the Petition for Review of my case was presented to the Minister of Justice. There they archived said petition for six months. Later they communicated that they did it for lack of a paper that the lawyer did not send.

She returned again to present the Review, and after some months, they answered that the court did not find similarity between the number of case 444/12 and my name. My lawyer returned to meet with the corresponding officials and showed them the papers that corroborated that there was no mistake, and then they recognized it.

All the times that I called this department, they assured me that they were doing what they could, and in their tone of voice, I didn’t suspect pressure on the part of State Security.

But once they told me, almost one year later, that they found the file in their offices; finally now the tone was abrupt and not friendly, and the experience that I had (forcibly), of recognizing when someone is afraid or pressured, made me intuit that this tone signaled the subsequent proceeding with my case.

Knowing their methods, I dare say that now the political police reported to this department and exposed the rules of the game. This is nothing new: It’s always been them, the omnipresent and omnipotent State Security.

First, they were the ones who decided to start the accusations against me. Later, they imposed a bond on me. After that, they sanctioned me through a manipulated trial, and, finally, they sent me to prison as a punishment for thinking differently. Now they are busy trying to detain me.

I don’t expect justice from that review. They, the judges, prosecutors and the rest of the officials who are busy imposing the law, do not govern themselves, just as no other institution of the country is auto-governing.

It’s not for pleasure that we live in a totalitarian regime. I only have accepted doing all these negotiations using the existing official channels to demonstrate clearly that I live in an inhuman and all-powerful system, which mocks the legal and judicial norms established internationally in order to truly defend the integrity of citizens.

I hope that the people who are interested in me feel that I have answered their questions. However, I take the time to insist, always, that the intentions of concern be honest. Thank you very much.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton prison settlement, June 2014.

Please sign the petition to have Amnesty International declare the dissident Cuban Angel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience.

Translated by Regina Anavy

28 June 2014

Opportunistic Foreigners Who Suck the Dictatorship’s Tit: Alessandra Riccio, the Most Castroite of All the Neapolitans

Alessandra Riccio, a Neapolitan who resides in Cuba, knew how to live, like so many leftist foreigners, from the benefits that the totalitarian regime offered them. I don’t know if she came to be one more of the secret collaborators of State Security, captured by Commander Manuel Pineiro “Red Beard,” of course, dead in suspicious circumstances at a time when that death was very convenient for the Castro brothers, because with his secrets as Fidel’s private scribe he could sink them before international justice.

What is certain is that the lady in question has written a book about her memories of Cuba, at least those that she can or they permit her to tell, because if she tells some others she would be catalogued as a traitor by those who helped her out for so many years on the island.

Without seeing the book — really among the list of texts that I need to read, I don’t plan to give it space — I am sure that she did not tell, logical with her usual lack of honesty, that when she was a juror of the story genre in the “Casa de las Americas” prize in 1992, together with the Cuban and great writer Abilio Estevez, and the fabulous Argentine writer Luisa Valenzuela, State Security prohibited them from awarding my book “South: Latitude 13,” because of the heartbreaking stories of the internationalist Cubans in Africa.

She will not tell that they, as jurors, gave into those “extraliterary” demands because, according to Abilio, the political police officials told them that if they gave me they prize they would do me much harm. Coincidentally, an aide to Riccio told me that a little later she left Cuba disappointed and hurt for having seen herself “obliged to commit such injustice;” so much so, according to what they told me, that she had denied meeting me because of the shame that she felt because of her actions.

Abilio and Valnezuela, on the contrary, did decide to confront their guilt and tell me what happened. The first one explained to me what happened; then he did it with others, above all several years later on a trip to the Dominican Republic, when he told that shameful incident to several colleagues and editors, who corroborated their pain and shame because of that literary assassination.

For her part, on meeting me, Luisa Valenzuela was surprised by how young I was (I remember that she exclaimed that I was the same age as her daughter), and immediately proposed to take me to Argentina, a gesture that I appreciated although I refused.

For further embarrassment, last year, at the beginning of my incarceration, Riccio appears in a grisly list of “women against violence,” supporting the government’s injustice which sentenced me without evidence, in a biased trial where nothing that my lawyer did to demonstrate my innocence with five witnesses, videos, and documentary proof, which Riccio could have easily consulted on the internet, did any good.

But as in old times from the already mentioned Commander Red Beard, she prefers to attend swiftly to the call of the tyrant to shape her signature, as if it were not enough already to shoulder the weight of the shame of that other literary injustice that she had committed against my person and my literary career.

Now nostalgia has made her write a book remembering the authorized part that she can narrate, and the newspaper Granma has gotten a photo and a report about her love for Cuba (although I would dare to correct and change Cuba for dictatorship).  Do not worry, Riccio, your role as bootlicker has suited you well, and the tyrant rewards you.

Congratulations!

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton prison settlement.  May 2014.

Follow the link to sign the petition for Amnesty International to declare Cuban dissident Angel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience.

Translated by mlk.

2 July 2014

Another Day Without His Children / Angel Santiesteban

Angel saying goodbye to his son in the police car taking him to prison

Today is the second Father’s Day that two teenagers will spend without their dad, like many; they will throw him a kiss through the bars of the Lawton prison settlement, if the strict vigilance that the dictator dedicated to Angel Santiesteban doesn’t prevent it.

Three guards and some officials, just for him, watch him constantly. This “common inmate” must be very important to make the Cuban people pay for such “guarding.” Every official costs more than a thousand pesos, and there are three trios taking it in turn over 24 hours, generation a cost of more than seven thousand pesos a month, plus the gasoline for their transportation, and that of the bosses who come daily to check in person how the guarding of Angel is going.

Also today, there are many dads who will miss the warm kiss of their children, from the capricious vengeance of a dictator who violently represses and imprisons all those who fight peacefully for freedom.

Ramón Muñoz, Alan Gross, Jorge Cervantes, just to mention some of the many political prisoners of the Castro dictatorship, will, like Angel, spend another day without their children and many of them will spend the day without their parents.

Raul Castro with his family

The dictator brothers will celebrate — with their children and grandchildren — gobbling and drinking with no limits everything forbidden to Cubans, while pretending to the world to be everything they aren’t, laughing at the thousands of families separated by the distance of exile for over half a century.

The mother of his child, along with the Political Police, managed to imprison him on false charges, all of which accusations were not proven, not the guilt of her ex-husband — she never proved that anything happened — rather her own guilt was proved because a false accusation is a crime and harms the reputation of another person. But the mother of his son didn’t manage to turn her son against his father; he is as attached to him as ever. Angel will receive the kiss that his son blows him from a distance, a kiss that will deservedly caress his heart, because for Angel Father’s Day is every day, and his children show how incredibly proud they are of him.

I lost my father many years ago and the best way I can honor him is to live the ethical teachings and principles he passed on to me. I know that he — wherever he is — is proud that I am doing what I’m doing for Angel.

The Editor

Sign the petition for Amnesty International to declare Angel a prisoner of conscience.

15 June 2014

Reporters Without Borders Alerted To A New Black Spring in Cuba / Angel Santiesteban

 Towards a new Black Spring in Cuba?

Reporters without Borders have expressed their concern for the situation of aggression against Cuban journalists, arbitrary sentences, death threats and barriers to access registered information over the last few days. The press agency and organization for the defense of freedom of expression Hablemos Press has been the target of the hostility of the Department of State Security.

Its founder, Roberto de Jesús Guerra, was a victim of a violent aggression perpetrated by an agent of the National Revolutionary Police on June 11th in Havana.

His wife, Magaly Norvis Otero Suárez, correspondent of Hablemos Press, indicated that she is presently confined to her home without the ability to walk, having suffered an injury to her knee and a broken septum.

Four days earlier, Raul Ramirez Puig, Hablemos Press correspondent in Mayabeque province, was threatened from a vehicle whose occupants warned him that “anything” might happen to him.

The arbitrary detention of journalists is also occurring very frequently on the island. Mario Hechavarria Driggs, who is also a collaborator with the Centre of Information for Hablemos Press, was detained by agents of the Department of State Security on June 8th.

Yeander Farres Delgado, journalism student, was held for questioning while taking pictures of the Havana Capitol Building, headquarters of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment. He was released five hours later.

“Despite the apparent political opening of the Castro regime, the methods used by the authorities to silence dissident journalists are every time more brutal,” said Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders. “Since the last journalist detained during the ’Black Spring’ was released, in 2011, we are witnessing a reinforcement of the repression,” he added.

Hablemos Press denounced, this past June 11, the multiple death threats they have received in the last two months. Journalist Magaly Norvis Otero Suarez received several calls to the newsroom of Hablemos Press. Later, on June 12, she was cited by Department of State Security agents, who pressed her to change the tone of the articles she posts in the information center, which displease the Castro regime.

The Cuban authorities — via the state-owned telecommunications company Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) — have even blocked the mobile phones of Roberto de Jesus Guerra, Magaly Novis Otero Suarez, and their colleague Arian Guerra (they were disconnected from the island’s sole network), to prevent them from communicating with each other.

“What is happening with the right to information if Havana suppresses telephone communication at will, while the use of the Internet is so limited on the island?” asks Camille Soulier, head of the Americas division of Reporters Without Borders. “We ask the Cuban state that it reestablish without delay the telephone line of the Hablemos Press journalists.”

Reporters Without Borders also laments the detention conditions of independent journalist Juliet Michelena Diaz, held April 7 in Havana and accused initially of “threats against a neighbor in Centro Habana” and later of “attempt” (the charges against her changed within a week). Her trial is still pending.

Also imprisoned is Yoenni de Jesus Guerra Garcia, Yayabo Press journalist, detained in October of 2013 and condemned in March of 2014 to seven years in jail. The blogger Angel Santiesteban-Prats, jailed since February 28, 2013 on trumped-up charges, is among the 100 “heroes of information” published by Reporters Without Borders.

Cuba is in last place among the countries of the Americas – and 170 out of 180 countries worldwide – in Reporters Without Borders’ current “Freedom of the Press” tally. Read more here.

Translated by: Shane J. Cassidy. Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

16 June 2014

Lilo, An Artist Who Fed Himself From Misery / Angel Santiesteban

Lilo Vilaplana

Lilo Vilaplana


When I began working in Cuban television, in the second half of the eighties of the past century, the first person they introduced me to was Lilo Vilaplana. He was already a star Assistant Director and they assigned him to teach me, in practice, his expertise.

We immediately became good friends, and friendship flowered as if an elf had taken us by the hand. I joined the post-production of a children’s series directed by Roberto Villar, and we would begin to produce an adventure fantasy written by the brilliant writer Daina Chaviano.

In the serial edition, we could see from our booth how they accommodated the trial of the Number One Cause of General Arnaldo Ochoa. I remember that our editor was famous for being one of the best in the trade, and he recognized that the soldier who was doing it in the other booth was excellent.

For example, in the scenes where the Republic’s Prosecutor or Raul Castro spoke to Ochoa directly, he replaced his angry face, sometimes his ironic smile, and showed him tired, jaded and perhaps even drugged, making him appear ashamed of what the Prosecutor or Raul said to him, like someone who recognized that he had made a mistake, and he deserved it.

That which I lived together with Lilo — and which maybe was the first injustice that we attended as witnesses — was a seed of rebellion. We swallowed that, and — in our youth, at 20 — maybe had awakened our consciences. Almost thirty years later, those beginnings have made us more deeply know the pride of being friends, in spite of geographical distances.

I remember those years of human and artistic development, where we shared his theater works and my stories. Taken by the hand by the persevering elf, we went to propose characters to Lili Renteria, to Jacqueline Arenal, who rejected one princess character because she preferred to be the witch.

Once, in the “Aquelarre” Humor Festivals, I was with my partner trying to gain access and, when it seemed that it was impossible because of all the people who were still outside, I saw Lilo passing in a line of five people who made way among the tumult contained by police and ropes.

I called to him, and he stopped with a smile that even now — remembering it — moves me; I had to say nothing else, he took me by the arm and put me ahead of him.

He was always giving like this; I believe that the hardships we have experienced have placed us on the same side, that I have always recognized that I had a childhood full of poverty, my mother — alone — raised five children and sometimes we had to go to school with holes in our shoes, or in the winters, we stayed in the house because we had no coats.

Scene from "The Death of the Cat" with Albertico Pujol

Scene from “The Death of the Cat” with Albertico Pujol


I wil never forget that Lilo, when he decided to become an artist, the first thing that he understood is that he could not achieve his dreams in his native and beloved Nuevitas, so “maddened,” he arrived in Havana without knowing anyone; that was the great course of his life, since he slept in the funeral home or sneaked into hotel pools in order to bathe.

His first great triumph was to get work in the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT); his second triumph was to rent in the building adjoining the Cathedral in Old Havana. It was a small room without either bath or kitchen, which he celebrated as if he lived in a small palace.

Entering that citadel was like arriving at a giant anthill. The bathroom was collective, and Lilo told me that when the women bathed, their husbands had to protect them so that they were not seen. The citadel that Lilo recreates in his short “The Death of the Cat,” was based on that where he lived, very close to his friend Raul Guerra, where he took me once to listen to his mastery; there also I met his daughter, who was at that time in that interval of leaving childhood and entering adolescence, and who later would become that excellent writer who today is Wendy Guerra.

Lilo Vilaplana, Director

Lilo Vilaplana, Director

All this preamble in the life of Lilo was knitting or rather soldering his bones, those stories that — at times — you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, because he passes through the so extreme social dramas that Cubans — and so artists imitate it — tinge with humor, in order to avoid melodrama, and which serve as a safety valve, letting pressure escape.

All those human pressures, sadnesses and miseries with which Lilo coexisted served him — besides feeding and strengthening his creation — to — for the second time — arrive at an unfamiliar city, also in a foreign country, and in Lilo’s case, overcome all the obvious obstacles for any immigrant who, by luck, arrived with two suitcases, one of a trade and the other of talent.

Angle Santiesteban-Prats
Lawton Prison Settlement, June 2014

Translated by MLK

Amir Valle, the Apple of theDiscord / Angel Santiesteban

He was introduced to me in 1986, in a meeting of young writers that I attended, invited as an observer, in the Alejo Carpentier Center. I believe I was the last writer who arrived at the then so-called “Generation of the Newest.” There I knew those who later would be my brothers in the profession, and we would share literary, existential and family conflicts.

Jorge Luis Arzola was as thin as a thread of water; his shyness was complete and competed with his naivety. Their first images are those that I’ve always remembered. They remain frozen in my memory: Guillermo Vidal, Jose Mariano Torralbas, Alberto Garrido, Daniel Morales, among others.

Amir came to Havana to finish his journalism studies, which made us closer. He brought that form of rebellion of the literary group, ” Six of eighty,” that State Security, at such early ages, had added to their black list, and they were persecuted, interrogated, and their families were summoned before the Political Police. They were marginalized from literary activities in the province. Once you show your dissent, they never forgive you, although they dissimilate and even smile.

Amir was watched since that time and they never trusted him; they stayed on alert, suffering his literary triumphs, his prolific work.

The writers of preceding generations warned us. In particular, they told me that I shouldn’t trust Amir, that he was not my friend, that he was deceitful, that surely he would betray me, and even his condition of being from Santiago served them to sow discord.

Amir left the country — or they made him leave — and for his political detractors it was a relief. He never stopped contacting us, keeping up with our lives and experiences. In an interview of me that Amir did for his digital magazine, “Otro lunes,” (Another Monday) he raised hives among Cuban officials, and some told me about his nonconformity, but always dropping a hint that he wanted to harm me.

When I opened my blog he appeared very worried. He told me, “Be careful about what will happen, little brother.” He supported me at each terrible accusation, and we suffered together, like brothers do.

From my entrance into prison, Amir has kept representing me and promoting my books, and has taken care of every detail that has to do with my person; and in a great irony, those who betrayed me were those who counseled me to be careful of my brother writer. What’s sad is that they did it out of fear and to obtain benefits, because I heard what they thought of the Regime, and I am sure they are more radical that I am.

That’s the sad reality of the Cuban intellectuals, and at the same time, the immense happiness I have to be able to count on a brother like Amir Valle Ojeda.

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton prison settlement. May 2014.

Have Amnesty International declare the dissident Cuban Angel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience. To sign the petition, follow the link.

Translated by Regina Anavy
2 June 2014

New Prize for Angel Santiesteban

Miami: Presentation of Ángel Santiesteban’s novel also includes a tribute to him

Bacardi House, Rosa Blanca Institute, Chef Paella, Connect Cuba, Neo Club Editiones, Green Designs and Alexandria Library welcome to the presentation held on Tuesday, 3 June at 6 pm, of the book by Ángel Santiesteban-Prats called The Summer God Slept awarded the 2013 Franz Kafka Novels From the Drawer Prize.

The novel will be presented by the writers Carlos Alberto Montaner and Antonio Correa Iglesias in the Bacardi House in 1531 Brescia Avenue, Coral Gables (Miami Fl 33124). At the event, the journalist and presenter Karen Caballero will deliver a monetary prize, provided by the second edition of the culture project JOVENAJE, to Ángel Santiesteban’s sister María de los Ángeles Santiesteban who will receive the prize on behalf of her brother.

Between 6 pm and 7 pm the organizers will offer refreshments and tapas. Following this, at 7 pm, the presentation of the novel and activities of JOVENAJE will take place.

JOVENAJE is an independent itinerant event dedicated to paying homage to working writers, cultural promoters and artists. Ángel Santiesteban, dissident writer whose work has been acknowledged for its significance at the national as well as international level, was imprisoned a year ago in Cuba and has been sentenced to five years in a rigged trial. Reporters without Borders included him to the list of 100 Information Heroes.

In Cuba, where the separation of public powers doesn’t exist, judicial structures are only a mere appendix of the political power. In the last years, the Cuban government has resorted to creating false but well-known cases in order to increase the number of political prisoners on the Island without the risk of facing international campaigns for amnesty or unfavorable states of opinions. Santiesteban-Prats is one of the major victims of this new kind of repression.

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Please sign to ask Amnesty International to declare Ángel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience.

Translated by: Shane J. Cassidy, Michaela Klicnikova

21 May 2014

Open Letter to Leopoldo Lopez / Angel Santiesteban

Dear Leopoldo, my brother in struggle,

I write to you from another prison, in Havana, in the claws of the brother dictators Fidel and Raúl Castro.

First of all, I want to send you my moral support. Right now, you need it more than I do, since your country is hanging on by a thread to becoming a totalitarian state like ours, from which we have been suffering for more than half a century.

I admire your upright position in defense of your ideals and dreams for a free country where democracy governs and justice and the rule of law reign supreme.

I have your wife and children in my prayers so that God protects them and maintains the courage with which they support you unconditionally, and so that He returns you soon to your home, next to them, from whom they never should have separated you.

I am filled with emotion at the solidarity of the deputy, Maria Corina Machado, meanly stripped of the office that the people assigned to her, and of the governor Henrique Capriles, who together with millions of his compatriots has not forgotten you, nor left you alone. This support — that you certainly deserve, for your ideals and the way in which you defend them — perhaps tomorrow can be intended for them, because the government of the puppet Nicolas Maduro, like that of Cuba, doesn’t pardon or forget those who raise their voices against his regime and its abuses.

Many Cubans, by the corresponding share of responsibility that touches us, feel ashamed of the Cuban government that, without hiding in the wings, orders and manipulates Venezuela’s plans, because their interest — it’s no secret — is born from their thirst for oil, their need to count on Venezuelan oil to stay in power.

As on our island, they already have devastated everything, from the economy up to human values. Now – by the death of your people – they have thrown their sharp fangs over your country. They are vampires of fuel, opportunistic parasites who act like those terrible mutant viruses that risk everything up to the end, hanging on to the body of the chosen victim.

In the same way that they harm your country –and it is part of your demands and claims — they continue oppressing us. Clearly, if you can’t contain and avoid the permanence of the Chavistas in power, your nation will be submiited to the biggest misery that you could ever imagine, and will suffocate itself more each day, submitting to an empire of injustices and constant repression.

I pray to God that you stay healthy so that your social light doesn’t go out, and you continue setting an example for those millions of compatriots who today are already struggling for their future, an example also for those of us who observe, expectantly, from the rest of the world, the struggle of the worthy Venezuelan people for their freedom.

Hopefully we can soon raise a glass for the freedom of our people. The dreams that we share today are the seeds of what we will later call reality.

Receive my hug and admiration for surrendering your freedom in the urgent demand we all have.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton Prison Settlement. May 2014.

Have Amnesty International declare the dissident Cuban Angel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience.

To sign the petition follow the link.

 Translated by Anonymous and Regina Anavy.

9 May 2014