Date: January 29, 2013 18:30
Subject: Urgent plea for a native from Lerida
[From: Elisa Tabakman]
Dear Mayor of Lleida*, Don Angel Ros Domingo
I am writing to you to beg for a prodigal son of Catalan and specifically Lleida.
This is the extremely well-recognized Cuban writer, noble son of Lleida, Angel Santiesteban Prats, who has been with awarded the most important Cuban and international literary awards, but the Castro regime has punished him for not supporting them and having dared to express his ideas on a blog called The Children Nobody Wanted.
Ángel Santiesteban was born in Havana in 1966. A Filmmaking graduate, he lives in Havana, Cuba. In 1989 he won a mention in Radio France International’s Juan Rulfo Contest, and his story was published in Le Monde Diplomatique, the magazine Letras Cubanas and Mexico’s El Cuento.
In 1995, he won the national prize of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC); but because of his human (or inhuman) vision of the reality of the war in Angola, where Cubans participated for 15 years, was held back from publication. The book, Dream of a Summer Day, was published in 1998.
In 1999 he won the César Galeano prize sponsored by the Onelio Jorge Cardoso Literary Center. And in 2001, he won the Alejo Carpentier Award organized by the Cuban Book Institute with the book of stories The Children Nobody Wanted. In 2006, he won the Casa de las Americas prize for the book of stories, Blessed are Those Who Mourn. He has been published in Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, China, England, Dominican Republic, France, USA, Colombia, Portugal, Martinique, Italy and Canada, among other countries.
My plea is not political, it’s a humanitarian appeal begging whoever handles the destinies of the people of Lleida to intercede for one child who is in dire straits just a week away from five years imprisonment after a trial that was a farce with bought witnesses and fabricated charges, for the sole purpose of silencing a voice that annoys a despotic government and already has 90 political prisoners and last year surpassed its own record by carrying out more than 6,000 arbitrary arrests, many of them violently.
The only “crime” Angel committed was to think and express himself. On the internet you can follow his entire shameful case.
France is no stranger to this great injustice and in its media are numerous demonstrations against Angel and concern for him.
I don’t want to overwhelm and bore you with more links, which you can find for yourself.
I think that his being a young Catalan, his parents being from Lleida, which is a source of pride for the universal letters represented in their Catalan surnames, deserves this his “parents,” his large Lleida family, who care about him and are doing everything they can to avoid his going into a Cuban jail in six days.
It is not about right or left, it is a ruthless persecution against a defenseless intellectual whose only “weapon” is his pen — certainly an excellent one indeed — facing a terrifying oppressive state apparatus.
From Argentina, hoping the Catalan nation, which I so appreciate and admire having lived in it fourteen years, will not abandon Angel.
Yours affectionate confident you will do whatever you can,
*Translator’s note: The city is called Lerida but is officially known as Lleida
February 3 2013