Category Archives: Translator: MLK

UNEAC Complicit In Its Silence / Angel Santiesteban

Previously I have said that in the circus exercise called court, which I attended with the sentence already dictated by State Security, as I was made to know long before by one of their henchmen, a fact that I made known publicly — and which the judges in the First Chamber of Crimes Against State Security executed, in their special headquarters for notorious crimes on Carmen and Juan Delgado, when it was supposed that my crime was common — officials of the Cuban Artists and Writers Union (UNEAC) attended, sent by their president Miguel Barnet to watch the show, like poet Alex Pausides, accompanied by the legal official, who said that to his understanding what the prosecution could present against me was smoke, like the report of that handwriting expert who said that the height and slant of my handwriting made me guilty.

At the exit, the poet and Communist Party member Alex Pausides as well as the legal official, said that I would be absolved given that what was presented, and according to what was exposed in the oral ceremony, I could not be judged, especially when I presented five witnesses who demolished those accusations.

Then, when they found me guilty, my lawyer went to UNEAC and left all the documents that corroborated my innocence and that they requested for presentation to Miguel Barnet, but we never received an answer, they kept silent.

Of course, I am not naive, I never expected a reaction from UNEAC, I always knew what they would do, but above all, what they would not do, and they have fulfilled my predictions.  I understood that they would take that posture because I believe in history like a religion, and I knew that history would yield that despicable stance. Their silence is their shamelessness.  And that shamelessness is now written in our history.

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton prison settlement.  April 2014.

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

Translated by mlk.
16 April 2014

S.O.S.: They Continue Harassing Angel Santiesteban in Prison / Angel Santiesteban

My incarceration is not enough for the dictatorship

At dawn on last March 22, we prisoners, once again, were awakened by henchmen’s boots for another search procedure.  Several officers, directed again by Major Cobas, ousted us from the barracks with the intention of distancing us from our belongings. I objected and asked to remain present while they inspected my property which Cobas himself refused. I warned that I was not responsible for what they might find in my absence. The officer persisted in moving me away.

As has always happened, I was the only one of interest although they searched the rest. The majority gathered around my bed searching among books, reading each paper of the many that I posses, and setting aside those they found “interesting,” always news that brings me national and international reality and that generally is far away and different from that of government censors and authorized in their official media. They also read the back covers of the books in order to practice the look of the political police, and as on other occasions, to take them.

In the end, they only confiscated personal documents, printed news, two CDs, one with the images of the false “witness” that the Prosecution prepared against me in complicity with the police and the complainant when they came to demand 54 years in jail for me and later, thanks to those images, they had to desist.  They also took another CD with the sad documentary “Gusanos” which is about the fascist action of the government against State of Sats (Estado de Sats). I suppose that if those officers had the least bit of embarrassment and humanity, they would feel shame.

The alarming thing is that they showed me an instrument that looked like a screwdriver which can be used as a punch and which they claimed to have found within a dark suitcase that I possess. I assured that it did not belong to me, and the officer who said he found it blatantly lied and claimed it was true. A prisoner interrupted to claim that it was his property because he was trying it as a shoemaker’s needle, and he sewed work boots with it; then they left laughing with absolute cynicism.

It is no secret that they are searching desperately to implicate me even more and add some crime in order again, as on prior occasions, to erase the five year maximum sentence as stipulated by the Penal Code. Or a tangible vengeance for the “Second Open Letter to Raul Castro,” which I dedicated this past February 28 on completing a “Year of Unjust Incarceration.”

As always, they are plotting something, and also as always, they will not find in me even an iota of giving in to their constant torture for the “Crime” of thinking “DIFFERENTLY.”

Angle Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton prison settlement.  March 2014.

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

Translated by mlk.

The Dictatorship’s Gift / Angel Santiesteban

February 28, 2013, the day that the Castro brothers’ totalitarian regime jailed me, was not a day chosen randomly by the political police.

That day, several events happened simultaneously, and it was significant for many reasons in my case.  Firstly, that day was the birthday of my partner, and they well knew it because they had interviewed her several times on television; it was also the culmination of the Book Fair in Havana and its continuation in the rest of the country’s provinces.

But not even those two dates indicate the bigger joke, the cynicism in the face of not only the dissidence but the world, principally the UN agency, because that day marked five years since the initial signing that the Chancellor Felipe Perez Roque — in 2008 — accepted the respect of human rights with the UN Covenants.  What they perhaps did not know and is most important for me is that that day celebrated the anniversary also of the birth of the great Cuban writer Cirilo Villaverde.

The Cuban government joined me on a date memorable to the island’s writers with a distinguished writer and fighter for Cuban liberty, a coincidence that makes me proud with the love of literature and the need for liberty. For his political ideas, he was jailed and sentenced to death, which he was able to circumvent thanks to the complicity of his jailer.

In homage to his sublime figure, I now in prison began a novel that takes place in 1808, on the eve of the anniversary of his birth, and my characters travel that Havana that he describes in his novella Cecilia Valdes or the Angel’s Hill; it has also inspired in me a script for a telenovela, which I am working on currently, writing the scenes for more than 100 episodes.

According to the writer, blogger and fighter for Human Rights, Luis Felipe Rojas, by taking advantage of my time in prison, it could appear to be a conspiracy between my readers and State Security.  The truth is that if that February 28 was intended to be a mockery of any of the “coincidences,” I have tried to reverse it and make it transcendent, at least for my future work Fear and Truth.  Such is the fear inoculated by the dictatorship since its birth, that later — as much as we exorcise it — it remains hidden, lurking in our guts.

Recognizing the fear in the Cuban citizens is simple and part of the idiosyncrasy of a people engulfed in dictatorship.  To demand rights, convinced by reason, is unacceptable for the majority when they infer the cost they would have to pay.  By telling the truth one is accused as a traitor, of pandering to our neighbor to the north.

In this year of incarceration, many have dared to send me their solidarity verbally, recognizing that to declare it publicly would be to pay a price that they are not ready to sacrifice.

But the most difficult thing has been to accept that that engendered fear also permeates the opposition as is demonstrated in several ways.  Some have given witness to having been threatened by State Security, which would not pardon them the defense of my case, to the point of intimidating them by prohibiting for them the possibility of travelling abroad, now that this has become the fashion.

That corroborates my fear that many of them gave their word to stay at my side, but once I was sent to prison, they distanced themselves, forgot their commitments, coming to allege that my “accusation” is hard to defend because of the international propaganda against “domestic violence.”  If that is not called striking a deal, I don’t know the word to define it.

Of course State Security searched for the most sensitive accusations in the public view in order to try to some extent to be defended; for example, running over a child in the road and fleeing, rape, attempted murder, among others — coincidentally all erroneous — for which I was formally accused.

In the first Prosecutor Petition I published on the internet, it sought 54 years incarceration, which was only truncated thanks to the hidden interview — recorded on video — that we did of a false witness that the prosecution, police and complainant prepared with the intention of corroborating their lies.

I will always ask myself what would have happened if the “witness” had not been caught telling the truth!  Today I would be sentenced to more than a decade of incarceration and with almost all the opposition to the government turning its back on me because they would see me as indefensible.  The fear speaks for itself.

As if that were not enough, the forensics specialists admitted that the “witness for the prosecution” was telling the truth, in terms of unmasking the ruse against me, because he thought that the person who interviewed him was part of the prosecution, as he was introduced, and was unaware that he was being filmed by a laptop camera that he had before him.  In that video the witness admits that he is uncertain that I was in the place where I was accused of being and for which I was sentenced to five years in prison, now finishing the first year behind bars.

Simply, when it comes to officials or opponents who accept or put in doubt my innocence, I do not rely on their transparency.

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton Prison Settlement. February 2014.

Lawton prison settlement.  February 2014.

To sign the petition for Amnesty International to declare Angel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience, follow the link.

Translated by mlk and LW

27 February 2014

The Last in History’s Line / Angel Santiesteban

Cuba has always been the last in line in terms of positive results compared to the rest of Latin America.  By a wide margin we were the last ones to abolish slavery, and also the last to achieve decolonization from Spain.

After a half century of trying out a prosperous and honest republic, we had a “revolution” that immediately stopped being such in order to turn into the iron dictatorship that we currently suffer, exceeding half a century of totalitarianism.

After Fidel Castro’s arrival to power in 1959 began the tumultuous period for Latin American countries in that failed effort to export the revolutionary model.  After the communist threat covered the rest of the continent like an ominous shadow, the answer, also negative, as a solution for moving away from Castro’s Carribean Stalinism was the establishment of more dictatorships that captured, tortured and assassinated anyone who opposed them.

After years of governing, those dictatorships were surrendering power because of social and international pressures.

We, as good Cubans, also will be the last to free ourselves of the “monarchical” regime of the Castro brothers.

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton prison settlement.  March 2014.

For Amnesty International to declare Cuban dissident Angel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience, please sign the petition here.

Translated by mlk.

14 March 2014

If this country needs a “Revolution” it is not in industry but in Human Rights / Angel Santiesteban

The New Container Terminal at the Mariel Special Development Zone

There is no economy without liberty

The last visit by the Brazilian ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to the Mariel Container Terminal, accompanied by the dictator Raul Castro — in order to learn of the advances of the large-scale work carried out thanks to a credit awarded by his country, and which began during his first term — was totally wrongheaded.

Raul Castro, Lula da Silva, Fidel Castro

Lula da Silva committed several errors; the first was, according to what he said to the press after the tour through the finished areas, that the terminal “represents for this country the possibility of an industrial revolution.”  We totally disagree given that this country, if it needs a “Revolution,” it is not in industry but in Human Rights, because of the deep and complex violations of the same, and in particular, against the political opposition.

One must recognize that the social achievements of the Castro brothers, in power for more than half a century, are not sustained or justified when the price for them has been the loss of freedom of association and free expression.  The magnitude of their punishments, prisons and deaths, has been and is immense.

Another blunder by Lula da Silva was to assert that — after the completion of construction of said container terminal — “now we just need to overturn the American blockade so that Cuba can full develop itself.”  Mr. Lula da Silva, no industry will be prosperous while a totalitarian regime commands it because wealth itself is in human beings, in those to whom it falls to stimulate that development, and we have spent exactly 55 years in frank decline because we Cubans are not happy.  One pretends to be happy because the cruel boot of the repressive machinery of the Castro brothers is ready to crush everyone who raises a voice against their omnipotent power.

It is no secret that the Castro brothers, for decades, bet on armed struggle in the world, advising and investing our economy in it, which is why today it is so badly battered and unhealthy.  But for the last 20 years, on learning that the times were changing, they began to sponsor leftist revolutions with which to bring future presidents to those countries, hence the appreciation of these on their arrival to power, a regional variant of the Cosa Nostra.

The greatest good that Cubans can wish for is that principled nations refuse to negotiate and use that marvelous terminal until they restore our rights and we Cubans determine, in free elections, who will be the leader to govern our nation’s destiny.

Meanwhile, not a thousand terminals like the Mariel will be able to wipe away the tears of the families and make the national economy prosper.

Sign the petiton to Amnesty International to declare Angel Santiesteban a political prisoner.

Translated by mlk.

5 March 2014

No Effort Will Perk up the Cuban Economy / Angel Santiesteban

The new container terminal in the Mariel Special Development Zone. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

Not a thousand ports like Mariel and its development zone will be able to enliven the Cuban economy. A government which for more than half a century uses a great part of its finances to prepare for a war that never arrived, and which instead of taking advantage of that unique opportunity when it existed — the Soviet Union and the rest of the socialist bloc that maintained us without caring what we invested in — squandered those billions on the work of Fidel Castro, the worst administrator in the history of any national economy, sowing guerrillas in America, carrying out civil wars, instituting misfortune and thousands of death, instead of investing in agricultural and industrial development.

No prosperous economy will be able to exist as long there is not full freedom and demilitarization of all sectors at all levels.  No prosperous economy will be able to exist while the people do not have basic rights and there is no respect for individual thought.  A prosperous economy will not be able to exist while the opposition is disrespected.

The health of a country, and any human yearning, is in listening to the diversity of opinions, in the discussion of the parties for the improvement of the same end.

In 1980 the Mariel port was for everyone the symbol of liberty. Large portions of the best and worst of our society departed through Mariel, essentially the result achieved in 20 years of imposed socialism.

Today it is meant to form part of a development zone for the national economy in particular and of Latin America in general, but that depends only on Raul Castro inserting himself into the concert of nations of the 21st century, where there is no room for dictatorships but political and economic processes that truly help guide serious progress in all senses, beginning — of course — with respect for Human Rights, and for that, he must sign the UN Accords.

Hopefully the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, will insist on that urgent point for the people of Cuba and for the world. No one will get more from that gesture than the dictatorship itself and the purse of the Castro family, which for many years has prepared for its future as high-class millionaires. As long as these advances in rights do not occur, there will be no future prosperity.

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton Prison Settlement. January 2014.

Translated by mlk.

1 February 2014

Christmas in Cuba has no Carols, but Villains in Power

The majority of the Cuban community will celebrate Christmas and the advent of the new year, unaware that a political prisoner, David Piloto Barcelo, is serving his punishment in the worst conditions, for defending his unobjectionable right to choose a president, to openly criticize government conduct, to protest, to demonstrate, to join the party that better fits him, etc.

Possibly also, the majority of Cubans will die without testing the state of rebellion and liberty that being an activist in opposition to the dictatorship offers.  Piloto Barcelo practices it daily, his screams against the henchmen that mistreat us day after day in the prisons, could be heard in Prison 1580.

From my barracks, some thirty meters away from his, with several walls and roofs in between, his voice arrives full of truths against the executioners in each arbritray action or appearance.  His protest is constant, all in spite of his precarious health. He contracted tuberculosis in their cells, and not even that condition has impaired his upright posture as permanent opponent. His crime: demonstrating on “Revolution Plaza” and throwing leaflets demanding the freedoms of which they deprive us.

Some days ago Piloto Barcelo was transferred to Cinco y Medio Prison in Pinar del Rio. That is another punishment that he will have endure far from his family. What is left, because after the State Security threatened his mother, she suffered a heart attack, and it killed her. Now his sister will have to travel to that distant place in order to provide him with what is necessary to survive, because otherwise we die.

And it is not that being happy or eating turkey on Christmas is a crime; may those happy ones who manage it multiply until all Cubans can do it in their own land; but do not forget that someone suffers for you at this moment, and that he is also summoned, from wide ranging possibilities, to fight and give tribute to these human beings that have preferred the sacrifice before the pleasure.  And that self denial is for the good of all, because when Cuba is free, we will enjoy it equally.

Not forgetting Piloto Barcelo, Sonia Garro, Ramon Munoz, Armando Sosa Fortuny, Marcelino Abreu Bonora, Ernesto Borges Perez, Madelaine Lazara Caraballo Betancourt, Makiel Delgado Aramburo, Ivan Fernadez Depestre, Angel Frometa Lobaina, Allan Gross, Bismark Mustelier Galan, Ángel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, to mention only a few of those among hundreds of prisoners confined plus those who are on parole and make the humiliating list of  political prisoners of the Regime recently “distinguished” for safeguarding Human Rights on the UN Council.

Even so, to everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton prison settlement.  December 2013.

Translated by mlk.

30 December 2013

The Human Rights Party in Cuba / Angel Santiesteban

The great specialty of Cuban journalists is to inflate balloons, darken with dust clouds the reality of what happens in the archipelago, and, in passing, to lick the feet of the dictators.

The most outstanding in this work are those who write for the Granma newspaper, who were chosen for it precisely: manipulable beings who practice a profession that they denigrate, disrespect, and who some day will come to form part of the anthology of the unremarkable.

Oscar Sanchez Serra, in the publication last Friday on the 6th of this month, in the official press of the Communist Party, talking about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has once again demonstrated, by the cynicism with which he refers to the Magna Carta — our Constitution — calling it “dreams and illusions,” how disgusting it is to him to mention it.

For the Castro government, it has been a stumbling block for the more than half century that they have exercised its flagrant violation, like all dictators, of course. No economic achievement (there are none), nor social, justifies the least deprivation of Universal Rights, whether they comply with them all or violate them.

The hack believes that hiding in the historic calamities that happened in the world might justify those in our own country, and so, in that spectrum of examples that he mentions, like the Second World War until the more recent ones in Iraq and Libya, and world prostitution among other examples, he entertains the readers and makes them forget those that they violate before our eyes and remain silent about, like the beatings and arrests of the Ladies in White and the abuses against the opposition, in spite of recognizing that “Our little country is not paradise.”The reporter never mentions, I suppose out of respect for ridicule, that Cuba recently became part of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council; he does not even hint at national problems, hiding behind the manipulative machinery that the system exercises in the methods of revealing, in the best style of Nazi propaganda in the time of Hitler, and wears himself out citing what happens in the hemisphere, something like asking why ask for human rights for Cubans if the same thing happens in other parts of the world.  And with cynicism he jokes about the United Nations’ Magna Carta.

Really more than a journalist he lets himself be seen as an agent of State Security in the most humiliating service to the dictatorship.  It was like a prelude to what happens in the days preceding the commemoration of December 10th, International Day of Human Rights.

The arrests of the brave and peaceful Ladies in White once more occur for dozens of days before.  Recently, on her arrival at the airport from Europe, the leader Berta Soler was abused, harassed and abducted to be taken in an official car which left through one of the side doors, and so to avoid her being received by her daughter and her husband Angel Moya (who on parole after being sanctioned in the Black Spring, forming part of those 75 opponents of the totalitarian regime, that remain standing as flags against the regime).

The abuses, outrages and detentions of the Ladies in White, are only the gasoline that fuels their silent protests, while they walk with gladioli in their hands.

How much shame that journalist must feel who endorses the governmental abuses! Because it is not worth mentioning, comparing it with those semi-literate men and women who operate as henchmen, and are the instruments of punishment against the opposition, one supposes that it is not the case, that there exists a difference, at least you would want that; now we speak of supposed journalists, professionals who should love their profession, at least they should above all, and not in exchange for largesse, by miserable others, and accept pandering to a system that grows increasingly impossible to sustain.

Again the Human Rights party in Cuba will be held with the pain of the opponents who expose their bodies to be beaten and confined in punishment cells, and unfortunately, also, to be attacked under the complicit silence of the corroded people, thanks to the terror imposed by the State, of those who live within and outside of the country, almost in their totality, because of institutional fear that assures and occupies itself with punishing all who confront it.

Those within fear losing their work, their children’s education; those outside fear reprisals against family members that they left behind, and then that they would be refused the opportunity to come visit them.

While that silence happens, women and men, legitimate children of this people, weary of famine, face each other in their streets demanding democracy.  The Ladies in White endure the beatings and vexations.

The space Estado de Sats will try to fulfill the program in a plural meeting in Havana in order to discuss the destiny of the future Cuba where all Cubans participate.

The members of the UNPACU will end up confined, some with open cases and sent to prison, others returning home with fractures.

That is the daily reality of the opposition on the island.  Except that, in that same instant that the beatings and arrests occur, others see a film, open a beer, and watch their children eat ice cream, satisfied, they think that now they achieved their rights and now done their duty by Jose Marti!

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton prison settlement.  December 2013.

Translated by mlk.

10 December 2013

Official Statement about the Petition for Review of the Trial Against Angel Santiesteban Prats

Statement to readers

About the Petition for Review of the Trial against Angel Santiesteban Prats.

A few hours after the official web page STATE OF SATS published the post “Justice for Angel Santiesteban Prats,” in which it was officially reported that the petition for review of the trial by which the said writer had been unjustly and arbitrarily sentenced to five years in prison had been presented before the relevant bodies of the Cuban judicial system, we began to receive worried messages from friends, colleagues and unknown people (but interested in the injustice for which Angel is incarcerated).

Many of those messages presuppose that, the blog The Children Nobody Wanted being the “International Public Face,” the “Official Voice” of Angel Santiesteban Prats, we were in direct contact with those in Cuba who carry out the processing of legal matters.

The concern, in short, centered on three basic aspects:

First, for what reason did the announcement only appear in a couple of media outlets pertaining to the Cuban exile community and were not reproduced, as has happened on other occasions, on other internet sites and in the written press, in order to guarantee that the reach of the news had a more crushing effect?

“Leaving to one side that only a specific and limited sector of the exile community goes to those sites, I believe they must work more so that the civilized world knows that this review has already been presented.  I am a lawyer, I am familiar with Cuban justice because I worked in it, and I know that if that news were more widely spread, in Cuba they would find themselves obliged to pay more attention to the petition,” F.O. Sonora said from Burdeos.

Second, why was the document presented so elemental, so superficial and so unclear?  And why was it, even, badly drafted?

“If those are the weapons with which they try to defend Angel, I see them as bad.  In a totalitarian system defeat is chirped from the first play if it is not forceful, firm and clear,” Samuel Gonzalez Perez wrote from Tampa.

On the STATE OF SATS page itself, Ricardo E. Trelles had written:

“// Indispensable to be clear, lucid and forceful // Facing the pseudo-legal system that we have imposed in Cuba, it is indispensable to act with total transparency and with clear and firm legal representatives (if they are not to be had, look for and use the participation of better document drafters although they may not be lawyers).”

Third, why haven’t this petition or other previous legal documents (for example:  the file of the Further Appeal against the sentence), where firm proofs exist of Angel’s innocence, been circulated for review in intellectual circles?

“I have received hundreds of messages from Cuba, from writers asking me for information about what is happening with Angel.  As I agreed with Angel’s family and with you all, I have been sending to Cuba, to those writers, all the dossiers that we have prepared about the international support that we have obtained; I have sent them all the pronouncements of international agencies and institutions that have been gotten thanks to personal arrangements of the blog’s managers, some Cuban writers living on the outside and prestigious intellectuals and foreign journalist friends of Angel, and since (after an incomprehensible delay the legal files of the case arrived in my hands), little by little, due to its weight, I have also sent to Cuba those files, asking that they irrigate there,” Cuban writer Amir Valle, Angel Santiesteban’s legal Representative and literary executor, reports from Berlin.

All the preceding obliges us to clarify publicly that by decision of Angel Santiesteban, all the legal steps in Cuba are in the charge of his lawyer, Attorney Amelia Rodriguez Cala, working with Antonio Rodiles, Director of the website STATE OF SATS.

Our responsibility is limited to handling the post through the shipments that Angel manages to get from Cuba by diverse means; to establish contact with the hundreds of websites, blogs and internet press that have manifested their interest in following this injustice; amplify our means of press and promotion by print or internet everything concerning Angel’s life and situation in captivity, and to establish ties with international institutions and agencies in order to achieve our statements of support for Angel (to show but one example, the last two of these efforts have been the presentation of Angel’s case in the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and the Request for Precautionary Measures in the face of the death threats that Angel has received throughout this ordeal).

As far as promotion and management of his literary work, Amir Valle, in his capacity as legal Representative, and in coordination with other Cuban and foreign writers, has gotten important pronouncements of support by prominent intellectuals, agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations of the international cultural world.

All that work, which has placed the case of Angel Santiesteban Prats as a point of interest for thousands of intellectuals and dozens of the most important international political, human rights and cultural  institutions and agencies, has been possible thanks to the coordinated work of a small group of people (some today are occupied with other responsibilities in the fight for Cuban liberties, but they keep helping us as much as possible).  And, in any case, always in complete coordination among the managers of the blog, some family members and friends of Angel in Cuba and Angel’s family in exile.

Due to the communication barriers that always exist between Cuba and the outside, and also other reasons that even today we do not understand, we regret to inform that that joint work has not been able to materialize, not with the lawyer nor with those from STATE OF SATS who are occupied with working with the lawyer in those legal efforts.

By luck, until now, in spite of the lack of communication, the efforts on behalf of Angel on both shores have been successful and, although until today we have never been informed directly of the plans or of the legal efforts planned by those  you suppose must be our colleagues in Cuba in this fight to get Angel out of jail, we have always supported and publicized all and each of these efforts.

But, we insist, although we are, by Angel’s own designation his “Public International Face,” his “Official Voice,” in relation to all the legal handling of the case of Angel Santiesteban Prats in Cuba we are simply observers.

Relatives, managers of the blog The Children Nobody Wanted and literary Legal Representative of Angel Santiesteban Prats.

Translated by mlk

19 July 2013

Santiesteban depends on us

By Lilianne Ruiz

Havana, Cuba, April,  After having been more than a week in a punishment cell, Angel Santiesteban was seen Tuesday, April 16 by his lawyer Amelia Rodriguez Cala, who was denied a visit on April 11.

The prison’s own officials had declared that Santiesteban was in a punishment cell and carrying out a hunger strike.

Since the week before April 9, in which it had been announced the visit by the official Cuban press and a group of foreign correspondents to some jails, it had been proposed that Santiesteban be transferred to the Salvador Allende military hospital in order to receive treatment for dermatological problems.  Santiesteban refused.

Then he was informed that they would give him a pass to visit his home. Santiesteban called his family to advise them and told them that he would call again to pin down when they should expect him on Monday, April 8.  But the second call was never made.  He was transferred in handcuffs and by force, in an illegal manner, from the Lima jail to the jail known as 15-80 in San Miguel del Padron, in order to prevent him from interacting with the press.

It was known that Santiesteban tried to resist the transfer and this had been carried out Sunday, April 7, in the night. Besides the arbitrary transfer from a regime of minimal severity in La Lima, to a regime of maximum harshness in the 15-80, the writer was thrown into the punishment cell for having demanded his rights.

The government of Raul Castro published in Granma, the official organ of his party, and on its official website Cubadebate, Wednesday, April 10, the visit made by some select journalists to see a part of the jail system; but it has refused on all occasions to allow the human rights mechanisms established on an international level see the situation in Cuba, and in particular the inside of the prisons.

Next May 1 it is expected that the Cuban government will appeal before the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in the Periodic Universal Review, in order to examine the Human Rights situation on the island.

Cuba still has not ratified with the second signature the United Nation’s Human Rights Accords, and in the last review received the Council’s recommendation that it ratify as soon as possible.  To which the Raul Castro regime responded “that it needs time to analyze the contents of the Accords and to harmonize them with national legislation.”

Santiesteban, like many other Cuban political prisoners of whom there is news — as is the case of Ernesto Borges Perez, Sonia Garro and her husband — was hidden from the press in this announced visit.  Maybe, as we know, in order not to ruin for the correspondents the script agreed upon with the government, and in this way to give to the Cuban delegation before the UN’s Human Rights Council the chance to boast that the press visits Cuban jails.

In the case of the prize-winning artist Angel Santiesteban, the determination to destroy him symbolically and physically began for the second time with the opening of his blog The Children Nobody Wanted.

Because Santiesteban is a man marked by the experience of Cuban imprisonment: at 17 years of age he was held in the La Cabana jail for having gone to say goodbye to his uncles and sister who were “illegally” (in a boat) leaving the country, and they were all captured and accused of “counterrevolution.”  All were sent to different jails in Cuba; even the young Santiesteban, who at 17 years of age had only gone to the coast to say goodbye to them.

The national and international prizes, won for his work and his talent, did not erase Angel’s dissident brand, who unlike many Cuban intellectuals could not be bought with foreign trips nor privileges of any kind.  Neither was he paralyzed by fear.

He was judged without legal guarantees, in a fraudulent process as the monitoring of the details of the process itself indicates.  He himself commented on an opportunity:  “It was so incredible that first we thought that the trial would not be held.”  In the end, it was shown once more that in Cuba there do not exist, within the system and through that legal recourse, independent mechanisms of protection for the citizen who finds himself in the sight of a complex apparatus of State Security.

The only thing left to us Cubans is the effective memory of us that people of good will in the world have of us, that they work for solidarity with those who suffer and that they formally impose limits on the Castro government, so that it recognizes once and for all the rights of the Cubans, higher than the ideological monstrosity that serves no one and that is the excuse brandished before the world in order to continue destroying, incarcerating, assassinating, with total impunity within our borders and without recognizing the political opposition.

In the next week, Santiesteban’s lawyer must present a revision of appeal of the case.

May 1, while Cuba is being reviewed in the Periodic Universal Review, some influential people in the world may remember that phrase by Vaclav Havel who also suffered a communist dictatorship:  “They lie when they say they don’t lie.”

That day, where will Angel Santiesteban and the rest of the Cuban political prisoners be, standing and rebellious?

Published on Cubanet

Translated by mlk

20 April 2013