After several days of staging a scene in the tropical paradise prison system for the accredited “press” and the examination of the UN Human Rights Council, where Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said he will accept the recommendations of the international body and apply them to the Castro prison system and he said he will allow the Red Cross visits, everything is the same or worse. Nothing changed and never will change because changes will never come from those who have caused the Cuban tragedy. The only change possible is to root out the evil dynastic dictatorship of the sadistic Castro brothers.
Cuba is a small island in whose geography is the largest concentration of jails in the world. The Island of Happiness is a huge prison where, in its many overcrowded concentration camps live the tortured, humiliated and starved thousands of prisoners, guilty or not, who have rights like any human being; rights that the regime in Havana never respected. To the common prisoners must be added the more than hundred prisoners of conscience who are caged to silence them on false charges of common crimes, such as Angel Santiesteban.
Fortunately, through Angel — and despite the relentless efforts of his jailers to silence him — we know that in that grisly concentration camp in which he is located, the 1580 Prison in San Miguel del Padrón, Havana, on the 5th May there was the beginning of riot caused by the indignation of the prison population on seeing how two thugs torturing a young black man, mentally ill, whose humanity is locked in there. Thanks to the solidarity of all, they left the unfortunate boy in peace and the inmates calmed down.
But from this episode we must extract two important things. One is that not even in such terrible conditions of life do solidarity and values disappear. Although there will always be those who choose to ally themselves with their executioners, the majority will preserves and defend their dignity. If they are often silent it is just to avoid greater evils, but moments of maximum cruelty arrive, as Angel related, the principles take over from fear and all become a voice against injustice. This stopped the savagery that might have killed the boy.
But, and no less important, is when barbarism is manifested with all the fury, the clamor of the prisoners is not limited only to scream against it and stop it, but it becomes a cry for freedom, for democracy, against the dictatorship, against the dictator and a stern warning that should not go unnoticed by anyone, especially Raul Castro and the international organizations that do little or nothing to stop the accumulated abuses from the incredible 54 years of so-called “Revolution”.
There were common criminals who turned their pleas for justice for their fellow prisoner into slogans for freedom and against the dictatorship. Common criminals who, possibly, when they lived in freedom (as it’s defined in Cuba) had never questioned the legitimacy or otherwise of the government that enslaves them; the inefficient, shameless and manipulative government that is the one truly guilty for their being there, that has forced them to commit a crime with the sole purpose to survive and feed their families.
This is not about justifying crime. Not at all. But we all know that justice in Cuba is nothing more but a subsidiary power and dependent on political power which administers revenge more than actual criminal convictions. And, betraying the promise that the Revolution was “a revolution of the humble, by the humble and for the humble,” it vents its rage over the most humble and the most vulnerable. And even more so with those who struggle for freedom.
It is precisely the full force of such arbitrariness and injustice in Cuba that “manufactures” dissidents and opponents, and in this process the concentration camps are no exception. On the contrary. This beginning of mutiny has shown that, when inmates have nothing to lose, they lose fear and regain dignity.
Angel is being abused differently, but no less cruelly. He is being tortured psychologically. They have cut off all means of communication with his family, except for those two measly minutes on the phone every so often. They have taken from him open communication with his peers, who have been harassed and threatened with punishment if they have anything to do with him. But once again, showing courage and intelligence, there many people who create strategies to communicate without being noticed by the guards and by the inmates whom the guards bribe.
Angel is where he doesn’t have to be. He is suffering vengeance for having dared to express himself freely. They have tried to turn him into an abuser and a rapist, but they had nothing to use in this intent because nobody believed it. The unfortunate few who spoke out against him were those who, threatened and pressured, didn’t know how to preserve their dignity or at least to remain silent.
The eyes of the civilized world are on and the abuses they commit. The gaze of international organizations is on Angel Santiesteban and are there are ever more who are speaking up in his favor. The more abuses committed against him, the more solidarity grows, aroused by the injustice.
Raul Castro knows it and he is directly responsible for anything that may happen to Angel. As are the army of eunuchs who fulfill their miserable orders, but not only as obedient soldiers but as genuine sadists manifesting all their murderous instincts.
And once again, and we will not tire of repeating it until we have justice for Angel: we demand his immediate transfer to La Lima Prison where, despite not having to be there, he should never have been transferred illegally and violently. We demand absolute respect for his rights and that he be given a fair trial with full due process, with those who were conspicuous by their complete absence in the trial for him, who are now imprisoned.
We demand that Angel be left in peace to work, doing what he can do like nobody else: write. We recall that while he being beaten, humiliated and isolated, there are international judges reading and evaluating his work; prestigious publishers reading his manuscripts. And when he once again wins prizes and is published, as surely will happen very soon, the world press will report that if he can not collect his prizes, or attend presentations of his books because he is in a Cuban concentration camp, that is not Guantanamo but might as well be.
Look after Angel and try not to continue throwing mud on yourselves. In today’s world nothing can be hidden and, sooner or later, everything is known. So it will be very easy to add to the long list of crimes, that the regime has committed and is committing, this criminal proceeding against an intellectual amid growing outrage while his tormentors bury themselves ever deeper in their rotten and fearful actions. And this must always be paid for.
We also remind them, once again, that the same rights we demand for Angel, we demand for the entire prison population, and in particular we demand the immediate release of prisoners of conscience.
They will never silence the truth. History has proved it. When they are digging their claws into Angel Santiesteban they are further strengthening the symbol of freedom he has already become.
So the demand is clear: Raul Castro, do the right thing and order justice done for Angel and do not forget even for a moment that you are and will remain solely responsible for the physical and mental integrity of Angel.
On behalf of the family and friends of Angel Santiesteban-Prats
Note: In this documentary, and especially from minute 24.30, you can see and understand how the Nazis manipulated and hid what they did in the concentration camps by preparing a perfect theater in Theresienstadt where they took the Red Cross delegates and showed them the “wonderful” life of the Jews there. The strategy of staging the Nazis used then was copied by the regime in Havana and so continue to lie to international public opinion about what really happens in their concentration camps. What is curious and incomprehensible is that today, when we have the help of technology and nothing can be hidden and all the evidence of what happens is within reach of everyone, there are still those who deny it and defend it from above.
The Red Cross the Third Reich
Site manager’s note: This third-party video is in Spanish (and German, French and English) and is included here to show the whole post as it was posted, but is not translated.
13 May 2013