Monthly Archives: August 2013

Prison Diary LII: Dear Vilches, Welcome to the Space of Decorum

Any injustice against a single person, represents a threat to everyone.

“God makes us, and freedom joins us.”

This post I owe to the brave writer and friend Rafael Vilches Proenza who, by dint of talent, earned the recognition of the intelligentsia of the Island.

Vilches has followed the call of conscience to do his duty, and responding to his  feelings, forgot the gifts that the Government gives to those who follow its dictates without opposition; thus, he is about it enter the Cuban insile, his career as a ghost writer beginning, and now many who call themselves friends will distance themselves from him, especially those who were, for a time, advising him to leave this path of freedom and continue to suck on the teat of the State.

They ar already plotting some strategy, so I ask my friend Vilches to walk with firm steps. State Security is on the hunt, searching, trying, how to muddy, at times, without an alibi, the desperation with which they carry out their coarse punishments, as in my case, but they don’t know that the lash of their whip tastes heavenly, giving us another reason for living.

Dear Vilches, welcome to the space of decorum, of transparency, tired of speaking sotto voce, after making sure that nobody will be listening to an honest judgment.

I swear I’ve heard those who called themselves friends, who wrote me extravagant dedications in their books — and then came forward to sign the document of the “eight women against violence” — being more critical of the government than I am; as also happened with my literary masters, hearing their discontent, their pleas for a way out of the crisis and a political change, but then, when it was time for decency, they showed caution and moved the flags, writing odes to the leaders of the dictatorship, and signing whatever open letter is organized against their colleagues.

Vilches, my brother, now it touches me to be in solidarity with you, you have stayed to give me encouragement since the regime launched its filthy thrust. I am experiencing the contradiction of feeling myself happy to know that History will not record you as pusillanimous, that you prefer to remain silent to not exchange your dignity for perks, but in turn it saddens me to know that misery you will receive from many around you, the betrayal, the loneliness; yet I predict for you that in the end you will have the compensation of one who stays by your side, worth more than a hundred, how else would you have discovered false friends, the cowards?

I only ask that you notice that in addition to the fear in their souls, they are acting in a mediocre play, none will go down in literary history, so they do it, because it’s the only way to be valued as writers and receive trips abroad, of those who bring soap to clean the skin because they have soiled their spirit; of those who have been taken over by UNEAC. Do not expect solidarity, nor even bureaucratic protection from what is supposed to the space that represents artists, to defend us; because that place is just another arm of totalitarianism.

In the end history will render its accounts, because history is what matters, it is where you can live forever.

From my captivity I send my thanks to you for joining the fight against the dictatorship.

The embrace of forever, your brother Angel.

Lawton “settlement”*
August 2013

*Translator’s note: “Settlement” is the euphemism for the Ministry of the Interior “special” prison where Angel is now being held.

30 August 2013

Communication: As of today, Angel Santiesteban has served 6 months in prison, incommunicado

Today, August 28, marks six months since Angel was unjustly imprisoned by the Castro dictatorship, after their having invented crimes he did not commit, making use of his former wife and the mother of his son to perform a show trial in which they were unable to prove absolutely any of these alleged crimes for the simple reason that he did not commit them. His sentence was based on the testimony of a handwriting expert who alleged that the “accused” was guilty of the crimes charged because he wrote in large and slanted print.

After the verdict which sentenced him to five years in prison, we have made public by various means what should have been sounding alarms in all the governments of the region that call themselves democratic and defenders of human rights, and Angel is deprived of his freedom and has been transferred arbitrarily between various prisons of the island, from which he has continued to report abuses and violations of civil and political rights that are committed in Cuba, especially now with the prison population.

The last transfer, carried out illegally even by Cuba’s own laws, occurred on the  August. It was the surprise they had prepared for his birthday.

For five days he had literally disappeared, held incommunicado in an unknown location. Currentlywe only  know it is in a site that has no name, a place that deals with the constructions of the Ministry of Interior and in which there are only twenty-two prisoners, including Angel. We also know that there are no visits allowed there, nor phone calls, because prisoners are entitled to a monthly pass to visit relatives.

All this we know from Angel himself who has managed to filter out a note, which I have posted on the blog. Officially the family has been informed of nothing regarding the transfer or the current status of Angel.

But, as we suspected would happen, they said that as Angel is not working, he has no right to the pass his companions were given on August 23. They have said that in his case they will alternate visits with passes, neither of which have happened, not even when they said they would award it, between August 2 up to today, the 28th, he is literally incommunicado, deprived of any right to receive news of his family, to be able to see them and set his mind at rest that they are in good condition, especially his children who both suffer from the lack of their dad.

We do not know what the political police is up to now that, as we have shown, they concocted the criminalization of Angel to convict him like a common criminal. On July 4 they visited him in the 1580 prison and tried to persuade him to abandon his political position and to record a video promising to cease his opposition in exchange for his freedom. When he refused, he was urged to avail himself of his diplomatic “friends” to grant him a visa to leave the country, to which he also refused.

These two proposals are a clear assumption by the government that Angel is not a common criminal, but a political prisoner. So far there is no record of violent attackers of homes who have been tempted to renounce their political positions in exchange for their release. But Cuba and its dictatorship never cease to amaze for their crass use of the obvious and ingenuous,which makes us wonder if they are fools, or they think we are as foolish as the rest.

The truth is that almost after Angel received the “generous” proposal from the political police, they have moved him in this way not only illegal, but extremely suspiciously, and we know they have something up their sleeve.

The Application for Review of Judgment has been submitted and there is no response from what calls itself Justice in Cuba. But as we expect nothing of a Regime in which justice is a subsidiary of political power, from outside we have not stopped for a moment to move through all possible channels, and international demands in favor of Angel ’s innocence are underway.

The eyes of the world are on Cuba and the dictator. The demands on behalf of Angel are traveling far, and the case of Angel too. We recall that a few months ago we pointed out that the political police hitman known as Camilo threatened to kill him, chased him through the streets of Havana and even maneuvered against Angel’s car to the point that there was almost an accident. There will be no possible and credible accident with Angel. We won’t fall for that while they keep attacking, harassing, repudiating, reprimanding the people who have decided to say, “Enough already!” Spanish Justice is investigating the murders of Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero.

Every day, like wildfire, are published new assassination attempts against so many opponents, but the cowardice and desire for evil have no limits, to the point that they have dared to attack the daughter of Berta Soler, to attack Iris Tamara Perez Aguilera, wife of the well-known opponent Jorge Luis García Pérez — Antúnez — and against Rigorberto Rodríguez from the Christian Liberation Movement, which are the last three cases, reported this week.

We call upon Raul Castro Ruz to respect the rights of Angel Santiesteban Prats, to immediately release him while the review of his trial proceeds, which, if there is true justice in Cuba, will end with him acquitted. We also demand an end to this shameful situation of isolation and incommunicado in which they are keeping him. His voice will not be silenced because his blog will continue to speak for him, restoring the space for free expression that they have stolen from him.

Everything that can happen to Angel Santiesteban is Raul Castro Ruz’s sole and absolute responsibility.

The Editor

Photo: Angel being threatened by State Security Agent Camilo

28 August 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

New Challenge for the Cuban Judicial System. Documents from the Trial against Angel Santiesteban

Requested review of the trial against the dissident writer Angel Santiesteban Prats, we make available the documents from the same.

At a month after the presentation of the review of the trial against Angel Santiesteban Prats, last July 4, not only has no judicial reply been received about it, but, as is already public knowledge, on August 2 he was moved for the second time, in an illegal manner from the 1580 prison to an unknown location until day 7, on which even if his whereabouts were known, he continues incommunicado, with no right to calls or visits. 

Angel Santiesteban Prats finishes five months in prison, sentenced in a judicial farce prepared by the political police of president Raul Castro with the clear objective of silencing one of the few intellectuals of international stature who has decided to lift his voice, his active journalism and literature in order to denounce the dictatorial situation prevailing on the island from his blog The Children that No One Wanted.

Crimes that were not proved because he did not commit them, false witnesses used on the part of the accuser, refusal to accept testimony that demonstrates the innocence of the accused, scandalous links among the political police and the judicial organs that violate the separation of powers, and juridical irregularities throughout the process, have been the reasons put forward by those charged with defending the writer in order to interpose the judicial review fulfilling all the elements set by existing law.

This is a new challenge for Cuban justice which — as the case of Angel Santiesteban Prats itself demonstrates, and as has been denounced by many opponents over the last ten years — is a system bound by the political and ideological interests of the government.

In this case, in a method that is a systematic practice against the opposition on the island, the Cuban government tries to publicly discredit another dissident.  This is not the first time that the tactic is used to portray important writers as “mediocre writers,” “drunk losers,” “trashy journalists,” and other derogatory labels (remember the cases of the poets and journalists Raul Rivero, Manuel Vazquez Portal and Ricardo Gonzalez Alfonso, sentenced in the so-called “Black Spring of 2003”).

Now they criminalize, accusing Angel Santiesteban Prats of a common crime of family violence, a writer well respected by the intellectual and artistic classes of his country and of other nations.  The objective is very clear: detract validity from the force and reach of his international denunciations about the human rights violations that this regime commits every day against Cuban citizens.  One of the most shameful links in this strategy, as the writer himself denounced on his blog before entering prison, is the fact that the sanction was communicated by an official of the political police, weeks before the tribunal gave its verdict. 

Since he was thrown behind bars, on February 28, from the La Lima prison, from an open regime that corresponds to his sentences, the writer has not stopped his denunciations.  When at the beginning of April the Cuban government selected a group of the best jails to show to a Commission of National and Foreign Journalists, in a visit preceding the Report that Cuba had to present to the UN”s Commission on Human Rights in the month of May, Santiesteban Prats was moved in a violent and illegal manner to another maximum severity prison in order to isolate him from any possible contact with said Commission.

In the Petition for Review presented officially in July, the lawyer, Amelia Rodriguez Cala, analyzes exhaustively all the violations and judicial irregularities committed during the prior trial, which sentenced the writer to five years for supposed crimes in spite of the extenuating legalities that according to Cuban law only permit imposition of sentences of fines or a year of deprivation of liberty.  In addition, new elements that demonstrate the innocence of the writer are provided in the File of the Petition for Review.

The complete story of this crude maneuver that the Havana regime carried out in order to silence an intellectual that made it uncomfortable, is summarized by Amir Valle, another prize-winning Cuban author who suffers exile in Germany, on his blog A título personal (Personal Capacity) and can be read here: General Chronology of an Outrage.

The Editor

Translated by mlk

10 August 2013

Prison Diary LI: Punishments Without Crimes, Slaves of the Revolution

“I am being punished without their having proved that I committed a crime.” That phrase is most common among prisoners who approach me. Suspicious, only after reading the prosecutor’s request and the sanction of the court, I believe them. No proof is needed for a punishment, that’s the reason te processes are so weak. They just assess your social-political behavior, and then make the final assessment, and as the powers in Cuba are not divided and everything comes from the totalitarian regime, they simply follow orders to take off the street those who don’t show confidence in and unconditional support for the dictatorship, criminals or not, evidence or not.

Government policy is that it is better to have them prisoners, working without pay, or to give a paltry symbolic salary to a few, and in this way to possess an army of working slaves, always on hand. I suspect there’s another reason — and God forbid — which is if there is a war they can offer them freedom in exchange for fighting, and I’m sure that “troops” would accept, no matter the political issue, the reason or personal gain, which is none other than the immediate release.

One of the latest who told me he was unjustly punished, after giving me his legal papers and reading them, I learned had been condemned for receiving a 200 dollar bonus, which was sent from abroad by the owner of the firm that he worked for, as a year-end bonus.

In his work, as an economist, they found no violated. After a thorough audit the statistics were found in perfect order; even so he was sentenced to seven years in prison. A man over fifty years old, who never had a reprimand in his work sheet, on the contrary, however, nothing was worth so much sacrifice, so much offered for such an insufficient and ridiculous salary.

The sanctioned such as these abound in the barracks, incredible allegations, improbable processes, and painful penalties.

A reality that would be laughable if it were the cause for so much fear and pain in the separated Cuban families.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Prison 1580, July 2013

21 August 2013

Prison Diary XLVX: Boots Impossible to Clean

Along the central corridor of the prison, an inmate walks with his shoeshine box, to shine the shoes of the soldiers. They put their boots on the prisoner’s box, , as a gesture of arrogance, and he immediately starts to spread some dye and bitumen, provided by his family. The soldiers don’t pay him for his work, it’s not allowed to pay the prisoners. I ask the bootblack why he does it, what does he gain from it, and he looks at me seriously.

“For two reasons,” he answers me. “One, to get out of the barracks, to escape for a bit that foul space, of constant quarrels, intrigues and hunger.”

Seeing a guard approach, he shuts up, and continues talking when he leaves.

“The second is because, in consideration, they give me a little more than my share of food,” he says, shrugging his shoulders. “Political, you can’t survive here with the tiny amount of food.”

I pat his shoulder and leave.

When I pass through Barracks 6, an inmate is waiting for me pressed against the bars.

“I’m taking a stand, Political,” he tells me with teary eyes. “They won’t let me make a phone call to find out how ill my son is. I’ve talked with all the soldiers and they’ve rudely refused to let me. I’ve resolved to die of hunger.”

“What will you solve with that?” I say to him. “Your son need get out of here healthy, not dead: it’s the only way you have to help him.”

He nods his head, accepting.

“You only have months before being released, so be patient, bear up, this is the hardest part.”

His eyes are still damp and he thanks me. Later we part, each going to his own barracks to wait for justice to come.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Prison 1580.  July 2013.

Prison Diary XLIX: Ode to Friendship

In the Dominican Republic and scattered throughout the world, many friends await, who tried to protect me when I still hadn’t detailed the gross “stories” which later led to the accusations against me. They inferred what would happen to me. They predicted a future I didn’t want to see or that I didn’t care to suffer.

In 2008, when I last traveled abroad months before opening my blog The Children Nobody Wanted, Rafael Lantigua, the Secretary of Culture, a position which in Cuba would have been the Minister, tried to tell me not to return, and introduced me to his personal attorney to arrange the paperwork for me so that I could stay his country.

On the other hand, the poet and narrator Camilo Venegas took me into his home like another son his mother never had. He begged me not to return, envisioning what would happen to me later. Finally I left, with a promise I was not able to keep: I would be back soon.

Pequeño, after receiving me in his home, entertaining me along with his wife and children, addresses himself, through another Cuba, to getting me a job in a subsidiary of an important publisher in that country, with the intention that I would not return to Cuba.

My sister Mary, from Miami, promised to send money to support me, until I had gotten settled.

Freddy Ginebra offered that his Casa de Teatro would hire my partner, in her work as an actress, once again fulfilling his mission as a protector of Cubans.

Lilo Vilaplana called on the phone to offer me passage via Colombia.

Amir Valle, through chat, opened his arms to receive me in Germany.

I left that half-island, leaving behind, probably, my immediate tranquility; but I did not conceive, and I still can’t conceive, abandoning my country and leaving it in the grip of the Castro brothers’ dictatorship.

The only pain prison causes me if the suffering of these people from knowing I am a prisoner; because if the situation were reversed I would be making the same cries, demanding justice, that I hear today; because disgracefully, it is a characteristic of totalitarianism to impose force against those who disagree with their policies.

In any event, as incredible as it may seem, I am comply as a good Cuban, with what I believe to be reason and rights.

My thanks to all of you from this great Dominican land, and for those scattered around the world, who tried to protect me, but within me I had the dream of José Martí lighting my path.

Hugs, Ángel

Prison 1580.  July 2013

Translator’s note: This is another of the posts Ángel wrote from Prison 1580 before he was transferred to his current prison where he is being held incommunicado.

17 August 2013

Prison Diary XLVIII. Raulist Politics: Schools Converted into Jails

One of the big boasts of those who took power in 1959 was to have converted military jails into schools; today, these schools are being converted into penitentiary centers.

The old “schools in the countryside” were closed thanks to Raul Castro’s new politics, to save what was invested in the logistic means designated for those students.

Those old schools are again opening their doors to receive convicts, after having been transformed into jails, with the required bars on windows and doors, and the security barrier around the perimeter to avoid escapes.

The tortures in those jails under the Batista dictatorship have returned with the dictatorship of the Castros.

One of the young men they sent to a prison in distant provinces, because of his relationship with me and because he offered me help in my communicating with the exterior, has returned, after two months, with horror reflected on his face. The method used to harm him was written in his file, the classification of “dissident.”

Upon arriving at the jail, an old “Youth School” in Santa Clara, the 22-year-old prisoner, Pedro M. Ferro, because he was political, was beaten savagely by the head of the unit, Lieutenant Colonel Delvis, who, after filling his body with hematomas, and without taking off the handcuffs, locked him in the “cubicles,” a place, says the young convict, of inhuman conditions. This was his punishment for collaborating with a dissident.

Thanks to the petition of his mother, a nurse, who demanded the return of her son to Havana, and also because he was a lieutenant colonel, they agreed.

What must there be inside the breast of that mother, who surely turned over her own youth to the totalitarian system that now abuses her son? Was her own sacrifice worth it? Any political system that tortures is fascist. Ours included.

Now Pedro M. Ferro wants to be a dissident. He doesn’t want to accept any utensil that hands him re-education. What is really undisputed is his full right to choose his own way of thinking and acting, maximized after witnessing the continual abuses of the penitentiary regime.

At least Pedro M. Ferro will not suffer the deception his mother suffered.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Prison 1580. July 2013.

Translated by Regina Anavy

15 August 2013

Prison Diary XLVII: “I Want Out of MININT. This Is Shit.”

Operation in prison: Sleeping inmate victim of the officers.*

On Friday, 12 July at 6:00 in the evening, an operation started in the prison. The guards ran about desperately, holding clubs and bats. Reinforcements showed up, making a cordon, shirtless and in shorts, rifles at the ready. The guard dog was given a shirt to smell and the dog immediately took off running, perhaps mocking them, because a heavy rain had fallen recently; but it was fun to see the excitement around the German shepherd, excited about finding the escaped prisoner.

It’s been just a week since the first fugitive, who still hasn’t been captured, and they’ve taken every coercive measure, thinking someone else will try it.

Now I will tell you in the first person present, what one re-educator said, embarrassed about what happened:

“We had counted all the prisoners who were in the barracks. We now had no doubt that a prisoner was missing. For the duty officer, an escape is the worst demerit, it will mean being demoted, so you can imagine the desperation with which he tries to find the fugitive. Coincidentally, the duty officer of the day is Major Erasmus, who was removed from Combinado del Este precisely for two escapes at the beginning of 2012, when he was Head of the Building 1 Unit.

“Now Mayor Erasmus is Head of Internal Order, and is more nervous than ever, he walks the floor asking everyone around if they have seen some strange movement. Some soldiers look inside the cistern, in the grass, on the roofs.

“The despair is widespread. At ten in the evening, the news goes out that there’s been movement seen in the dining room where there shouldn’t have been anyone at that time. We all run towards it. When we get there, the First Lieutenant and Secretary of the Party for Prison 1580, Tamayo, is already beating the inmate who works there and who’s shouting that he had fallen asleep from the pills he took. I can not hide that an anger burns within us, we want to evacuate; but practice and maturity tell us to behave, although we do not all think alike. This same captain was demoted — along with Lieutenant-Colonel Mediaceja — when the minor Dayron was assassinated in the Cotorro Youth Prison.

“After Officer Tamayo handcuffed him with his hands behind his back, the slugfest begin, they all had  rubber batons, bats, and fists. They were beating him from the dining area to the cell area, fifty yards of constant beatings.

“The prisoner fell and they forced him up, without stopping the blows. Upon reaching the cell, Mayor Erasmus was already waiting for him, who had been informed by the plant, and he joined in the punishments. When they all had sweaty uniforms, they stared at me because mine was completely dried, I had no choice, I kicked him but it hurt me more than him, at that point he couldn’t not feel anything. His body was completely red. They immediately stripped him and threw him into the cell.

“As we were leaving, a soldier showed me some empty pill packages found around the prisoner when he was caught in the mess hall.”

“Keep them to serve as evidence,” I told him.

At this Officers Erasmo and Tamayo appeared and took the packages and threw them out the window.

“You won’t have pasaítos at hand; nor make known what is chronic, nor take psychotropic drugs.”

We were silent and continued watching the rest of the night.

At dawn, when we went to the count and saw him again, if it weren’t for the cell number I would have thought they’d moved him. He no longer looked like the person we’d left, red and watery, much less surprised by that trouncing in the dining room. We had before us a monster, literally, with swollen and purplish eyes, bumps in the skull, his body completely purple with the marks of the beatings by rubber truncheons, boards and bats. He was still weeping, aching.

“He spent the whole night complaining,” said the soldier guarding the cell.

There were blood clots on the floor.

“Take him to the doctor and get him injections for the pain.”

We had to load him up to transfer him to the medical station. When the doctor saw him he couldn’t hide the impression it made on him, and immediately begin to examine him. The officers tried to stop him when they saw he was filling out a medical certificate of the injuries, but he refused.

“If this man dies, the responsibility will be yours; he has to be taken to a hospital for a more thorough exam and X-rays.”

The officers, frightened now, refused to move him, knowing that if he was taken this way there would be a scandal. They threw him back in his cell, naked, and fourteen hours later the blood is still running there.

“I swear, ’Political’ [political prisoner] that the kick I gave him was in the leg. These people are crazy, as if they don’t think that at some point the time is going to come to pay for these abuses. My wife’s family in Spain warns me not to get involved in the crimes they commit, especially against the ’Human Rights’ [activists].”

The officer finished telling me everything with his head in his hands.

“I want out of MININT [Ministry of the Interior], this sucks,” he told me.

He then went off, afraid, like someone who knows that in the future he’ll have to narrate this event in front of a court that does not owe its power to the government or to the repressive forces.

Now there’s nothing we can do but pray for the life the young man who suffers intense pain in the punishment cell.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

* There are several posts that Angel sent me while he was still in Prison 1580 that I still have to post. This is one of them. In the coming days I will publish others.

The Editor

14 August 2013

The Case of Angel Santiesteban: Legally Dismantling the Farce

The Cuban Legal Association, through several of its specialists, legally dismantle in this video the farce mounted against the writer Angel Santiesteban-Prats, who is currently serving a prison sentence in a high-security Cuban jail.

Here are analyzed, from the perspective of the law, the numerous legal and procedural and police violations perpetrated by the Cuban dictatorship to silence the powerful critical voice of the literary laureate, who since he is already known internationally, was sentenced to five years of imprisonment, in a trial rigged by the Cuban political police, condemning him with impunity and shamefully for a crime he did not commit.

It’s one more proof of the impudence, arrogance and lack of humanity of the Castro dictatorship when it comes to suppressing those who dare to exercise their right to express themselves freely, the only “sin” committed by Angel Santiesteban.

 (Video is in Spanish)

Note: On the date when this video was edited in Cuba, Angel was on a hunger strike but now no longer is.

Translated by Hombre de Paz

7 May 2013