The Metamorphosis of a Butterfly into a Worm as Staged in the Court Theater of the Castros

se-buscaIntellectual Repression in Cuba

How to Convert the Writer Ángel Santiesteban from Butterfly to Worm
by Amir Valle

Wanted: Angel Santiesteban – Taken from Rodrigo Kuang’s Blog

In Number 3 of this magazine, in my personal column, I wrote about an issue I was very curious about then: how the political regime that prevails in Cuba changed the “category” of intellectuals, and changed them from “the great glories of letters” to “the mediocre chattering class,” as if the bad idea occurred to them to have opinions or thoughts different from “the established” by the “moral” imposed by the rulers.

He said then: “All the roads, as a certain phrase said, lead to the Cuban Revolution (and in the area of its influence in the process of this metamorphosis we could talk about the step from worm to butterfly, or vice versa, it will depend on how the little creature behaves with respect to this supposedly most significant environment in human history which is a Revolution).

Under this influence, in recent decades, we witnessed a group of metamorphoses, each more astonishing than the last: the butterfly Raúl Rivero turned into a drunk worm who couldn’t write “even a single line of good poetry” according to the Minister’s words.

The worm Lino Novás Calvo went back to being a brilliant butterfly (someone who returned to the island dried out and pinned to a board after his death). The butterfly Jesus Diaz transformed into the most horrible worm Cuban eyes had ever seen, before whose death the joy shattered (again, according to the Minister, I’m a witness).

The worm Edmundo Desnoes was deranged into a butterfly who wanted to nostalgically pose his colorful old skeleton in the rickety skeleton of the Revolution.

The butter Manuel Díaz Martínez turned into a caterpillar “full of anger and frustration,” according to a writer and ex-president of the Cuban Book Institute. “The detestable worm” Virgilio Piñera reemerged as graceful moth that can be exposed internationally, and proudly (!) mind you (!) among the laurels of revolutionary literature.

The list is rather long. So complex, it would break the head of the most enlightened experts on metamorphosis. And curiously (something that would give many scientists a lot to think about) where usually the conversion of worms to butterflies is increasingly rare and the transformation of butterflies to worms is ever more common.”

Right now, what they call “government” in Havana has decided to convert, again, a famous writer into a “vile worm working in service to the Empire.”

Ángel Santiesteban, a writer who was cited by the officialdom of Cuban culture as “one of the great storytellers who emerged in the Revolutionary period,” is now the latest victim of this Kafkaesque metamorphosis (as we know, typical in the socialist regimes which have hitherto existed in this Blue Planet) that tries to forget his intellectual trajectory, unjustly accusing him of invented crimes so as to sentence him to 15 years in prison and attempt to silence his voice.

A voice is heard with great interest in much of the world since he decided to assume the act of writing freely and began to publish in his blog, The Children Nobody Wanted, a very critical view of the national disaster to which our politicians have condemned our island.

The prosecutor called in his lawyer and told him the request for sentence: 54 years to be reduced to a term of 15 years served concurrently. And they used a spiteful ex-wife, a witness with mental disorders, who even confessed on a video recorded by the writer that the government had bribed her to testify.

The greatest “sin” of Ángel Santiesteban, it’s obvious, is not having said what he thinks about the disaster invented by Fidel Castro and now prolonged by his brother Raul. The “sin” is to have launched himself against the institution that keeps Cuban dictators in power: State Security.

Others have taken on the same cross, but only when they have left behind the bars of the island prison that is Cuba today. But Ángel Santiesteban has done it from within the Island, face to face, and has started by something many of us Cuban writers experienced first hand: how police tried to convert us into political informers on our own colleagues, brothers and comrades of letters and culture.

So we decided to bring this denunciation to these pages, which has been published by various media recently, especially thanking the contributions of Isbel Alba, Rodrigo Kuang, Cubancuentro, Café Fuerte and Diario de Cuba.

It is one of the most direct ways we have found to bring the truth to our readers: intellectuals, academics, writers, journalists and researchers of culture.

Published by Otro Lunes

January 27 2013

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