Author Archives: Ángel Santiesteban

State Sponsors of Forgetfulness / Angel Santiesteban

The pernicious, failed, and pathetic ideologues of the Cuban totalitarian regime want you to believe that they should never have been on the “list of state sponsors of terrorism.” Never mind that it’s true, or that there is evidence that proves their constant support, military provisioning and training to all the guerrillas created in the Americas.

In particular, Cuba was added to the list for the help it offered the guerrillas of El Salvador, which, moreover, it did not hide, and which it then called “internationalism.”

The Castros have that characteristic of never being wrong, nor of ever declaring any political or economic action a failure. In more than a half century of dictatorship—and a depressing and chaotic political administration—they have never on any occasion recognized that they were wrong, and as the Silvio Rodriguez song says (which party officials treat as an anthem) “I die as I lived,” so the Castros also do not now recognize that at the time, according to the American criteria for including these countries, Cuba met all the requirements.

But what is important for the Castros is maintaining the image of victims, like the “kitten of Maria Ramos*,” and officially declare that they should never have been on that list, and therefore should not be grateful for this gesture from Obama, and will constantly “bite the hand.”

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

April 14, 2015, Border Prison Unit, Havana.

*Translator’s note: Based on the story of a prostitute, Maria Ramos, who on being charged with the murder of her pimp, claimed it was her kitten, not her, who had thrown the stone that killed him. (She didn’t get away with it.)

When the victim’s time comes / Angel Santiesteban

Harold Cepero and Oswaldo Paya

Laura Pollan

 

God forbid that another death is necessary in order to understand the abusive attitude of the Cuban government against dissidents. I learned by telephone that last Sunday the government authorized the political police to use teams of athletes—judokas and boxers, among others—in combat mode, in another desperate attempt to stop these ladies (the Ladies in White), who only peacefully ask for the release to their families of prisoners and other political opponents who are serving time for thinking differently.

Since I became aware of the physical assaults and the corresponding arrests, an idea has remained fixed in my mind: “We have to expect this to happen in order for the international political community to understand that you cannot negotiate with totalitarian governments, that it is a dead end. That they only appear to adapt to the new times out of their economic desperation, as ‘parasite countries’ that suck what they can out of whatever economy they get near.”

Is an agreement with the United States and the European Union above the objective needs that civil society urges be resolved? By negotiating with the regime, these countries are establishing a dynasty that will last for generations. The shameful truth is that, Sunday after Sunday, the Ladies in White are abused. Now more so, as I learned during my recent call, because those criminal mobs inflicted bone fractures on these helpless women, who have not given up, nor will they give up on their desire for freedom. Even if the above statements fall on ears deafened and eyes clouded by the absurdities with which the Castro brothers enchant them, and make them dance to their tune.

I still hope that the governments involved in the openings understand that they are losing their valuable time, and retracing their steps, only to approach that truth which I have not doubted for a moment: the dictatorship will not submit to a truce in order to change this sad reality that has oppressed us for over half a century.

And I continue to declare that the more the dictatorship strengthens and sends out roots, the more suffering the Cuban people will continue to endure, as the powers reach a deal.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats
April 23, 2015, Border Prison Unit, Havana.

Evo Morales, The Dissident Who Was Abused / Angel Santiesteban

evo-morales-en-los-primeros-tiemposAngel Santiesteban, 12 May 2015 — At the Summit of the Americas, the Bolivian president told journalists about the arrests, humiliations and violations of human rights he suffered when he opposed the officialdom of his country, from the beginning of his union movement activism back in 1988.

So it’s outrageous that this same human being, statesman and politician, who tells of the suffering inflicted upon him by the extremist regimes of his time, is today the one who defends the dictatorship of the Castro brothers, which commits the same human rights violations against the Cuban opposition. It might be assumed that he would show solidarity with the abused of today. But, like they say, “with fame comes memory loss.”

Although perhaps it’s not forgetfulness so much as the price he pays, because in reality he was chosen by Fidel Castro for his country’s presidency, and provided with economic and strategic support, personal protection and intelligence.

Fidel did the same with the others who today make up that Latin American mafia of “leftist” presidents: Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, Lula da Silva; or even Ollanta Humala in Peru, who has had to pay for the favor quietly, because in his country it has been impossible to imitate Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

Nor is it possible to deny that, since his rise to power, Morales has achieved a better situation for the lower classes, developed the economy and created better opportunities and conditions in general for his people, while the most notable is having restored the rights of indigenous citizens, forgotten and out of favor for centuries.

So far, President Morales would have made history as the best chief of the national tribe, and I write this with respect. But that commitment to work for the development of the country still isn’t enough for Evo Morales, nor is it for those other leftist leaders on the continent, those that I call “mafia,” in which I include Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and, to a lesser extent, because of their more independent paths from the dictates of Cuba, Uruguay and some small Caribbean islands.

Continuing in the fashion of popular dictators, Morales manipulated the law to gain indefinite re-election and eternalize his power. In doing so, he betrayed himself, but he did the greatest damage to his nation, sticking a dagger in the back of democracy, since it ensures for him, and for those who can replace him when he decides to leave power, the opportunity to maintain a dictatorship with support from the Parliament.            

Evo Morales, who had the responsibility of ensuring those democratic terms, violated the meaning of his own name — morals — by defiling and hijacking democracy. But, as luck would have it, a light is possibly dawning in the person of Soledad Chapetón Tancara, a young Aymaran woman and educator, who has become mayor of El Alto, Bolivia’s second most important city.

To play at being a dictator is a slow process of degradation, as one falls into the abyss and tries to grab onto some branches. But in the end it is still a fall. When surveys and advisers suggested to Evo Morales the possibility that the Bolivian Socialist Movement (MAS) might lose some of the country’s most important towns, he threatened to “withdraw financial support” from those municipalities. And that was just the beginning of his descent.

It’s undeniable that he opened doors for himself and others with absolutist intentions, and therein lies the danger: he committed the stupidity of letting go of a child’s hand in the roadGenerally, this stupidity ends with a lot of suffering and blood. Morales’ mistake will erase whatever was best of the noblest and altruistic actions he took in his mandate as the first president in favor of his people, who have already begun to withdraw their confidence. It shows, once again, that overcoming a decade in power entails a wear and tear of image, which usually ends, inevitably, in the general ill will of one’s own citizens.         

Losing the municipality of El Alto is the first notice. Now it’s the turn of the mayor, Soledad Chapeton Tancara, who shows she knows what she wants and where she wants to lead her people, who are grateful to her.

Evo Morales is trying to show that what occurred isn’t very important and that everything is going well. Hopefully he will rise above his partisan pains and cooperate with the young Aymara, who asks for “less ideology and more transparency” and offers new proposals for the development of her nation.

Let’s remember that the vote against Morales was partly due to corruption of the authorities in those municipalities, resulting from the lack of control of the president in his obstinate commitment to manufacture a war against the United States.

Soledad Chapeton will remain as mayor of El Alto until 2021, and later, according to how her management goes, will be a possible candidate for the National Unity party together with its leader, the businessman Samuel Doria Medina, who will have the challenge of healing that wound in the Constitution of his own country, a wound which leaves open a clear path for autocrats to install themselves and put forth their ideologies as cloaks for their appetites and personal ambitions. Of course, before healing the wound the knife needs to be removed.     

When Evo Morales finished recounting his stories of abuse in one of the arranged rooms during the Panama Summit, the journalists started questioning him, showing impatience, since in those few words the Bolivian president had never touched on those delicate subjects that bother him so much.

He found himself in front of a group of professionals, among whom were some of those he himself censured in the official spaces, where those who are invited and the questions they can ask are chosen.

When a journalist asked him how it was possible that, with his experience as a victim of abuse from political leaders, he could support Castro’s totalitarian regime, which committed the same outrageous acts that other governments committed against him, Morales threw himself onto a heap of trash, spewing garbage, and tried, shamefully imitating Cantinflas*, to justify himself by saying that when someone badmouths the Cuban people he takes it as a personal attack.

But here’s a curious observation: in Raul Castro’s appearance at the Summit (those twelve minutes that multiplied, since it’s impossible not to violate the time limit rule), he didn’t refer to the most publicized demand of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s exit to the sea, in spite of mentioning other important demands of that mafioso group of acolytes: the condemnation of Obama’s decree against Venezuela, Argentina’s right to the Malvinas, putting the brake on the transnationals who “contaminate” the soil of Ecuador, the “decolonization” of Puerto Rico, poverty in Haiti, peace in Colombia. But Evo Morales’ demand wasn’t mentioned, perhaps so Bachelet wouldn’t be annoyed. I wouldn’t be surprised if some juicy agreement is signed in Chile for financial aid to Cuba.

Morales was obviously nervous when they asked him the question. He looked at the journalist like a weirdo, surely wanting to throw the microphone at him rather than answer; and, searching perhaps for a way out, it occurred to Morales to ask him if he were a journalist, perhaps in case he wasn’t, to negate his words. But his interlocutor said “yes”, leaving the president no other decent option than to respond, or at least to try to, as he finally did.

The leader knew before starting that he was plunging into the ridiculous and he extracted forced words, produced ready-made phrases and readings, learned in the best moment of the educative rigor that Cuba offered to that mafioso alliance, conscious of the quota of impudence assimilated by obligation as part of being affiliated with the mafia of “leftist” Latin America.

A dangerous double-edged knife, that this time injured its carrier, removing him, if some time he was close, from that vociferous leftist longing to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, when in reality every one of his steps showed that he was preparing for a war and, even worse, for a war against his own people and his Aymara brothers.

The Bolivian sovereign, while trying to guarantee that the garbage wouldn’t smother him, cited the words of Fidel Castro: “We have to share what we have, not that which is left over.” But Castro didn’t talk about the price that the Cuban people have paid for decades, for more than a half century, for his narcissistic obsession of reaching a preponderant level on an international scale.

It didn’t matter to Castro that he has made his people sacrifice and suffer, crushing generations of Cubans, one after the other, and worse, converting them into lost generations socially, like throwing away offerings in empty sacks, discarding victims; finally, considering them dispensable human beings, those whom he always saw as mere numbers.

What Fidel Castro lacked was the spirit of a benefactor, and the facts prove it. Or perhaps you can call someone a benefactor who collects hundreds of millions from Venezuela in petroleum, in exchange for the Cuban collaborators placed in that country, which has almost been taken over by Cuba?

Does a benefactor charge Brazil an undreamt amount of money for the doctors it rents to them, paying them a poor salary and pocketing the major part of what it pays for every doctor sent to the Carioca nation? This only mentions two countries of those where this slavery business of the 21st century imposed by Fidel Castro proliferates. It’s known that professionals who refuse to go can forget about receiving income in their specialty or material rewards for their work. The impoverished economic situation confronting their families obligates them to accept.

Perhaps one day there will be a study on the marital cost of this separation, this distance between couples, the lack of protection for family and children who remain. Divorces from that physical separation on average are very high. What make this more deplorable and shameful is that in the end those “internationalists” receive a tiny part of the payment that the government charges, a miserable payment that evaporates over months, because some decide to loan themselves again to slavery and so perform two or more collaborations in other countries.

I knew someone who spent six years in Venezuela, while they kept his wife, two kids and old parents in Cuba. And he did that, planned it, to resolve the family calamities and be able to celebrate his daughter’s “quince**” with a little decorum.

Evo Morales knows, but perhaps doesn’t want to see out of pure convenience, that all the foreign graduates in Cuba, thousands, today professionals in their countries, are converted in the great majority into agents, ideological stone-masons, silent allies of the Cuban government, who in many cases have ascended to important posts in their governments, with all the intention of influencing these nations, once the era of guerrillas has passed. Solidarity, it’s not.

Castro thought out very well his plans for global power. He gave the stairways to power to Chavez, Maduro, Lula da Silva, Evo Morales, among others, but on credit, and charging them means destroying that staircase, snatching away from them that initial impulse and launching them into the worst of the history of their countries.

In summary, Evo Morales, more than being a satellite, like the one recently launched into space, needs a shaman to enlighten him and show him the reality of today and the future, and one who, moreover, will make him think about the question of office that the journalist at the Panama Summit asked him: “And you, Evo, are you the president?”

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats
April 16, 2015 , Border Prison Unit, Havana.

Translator’s notes:
*Cantinflas was a Mexican comic actor who often portrayed impoverished peasants.
**The “Quince” is the tradition of celebrating a young girl’s coming of age on her 15th birthday.

Translated by: Nathan Clarke and Regina Anavy

Obama Dances with Wolves / Angel Santiesteban

Angel Santiesteban-Prats, Unidad de Guardafronteras Prison, Havana, April 10, 2015 — President Obama is surrounded by Castros. In front he has the old wolf Raul, taking his turn as tyrant. To his left is Raul’s grandson and chief bodyguard. To his right, just behind Ban Ki Moon, is Raul’s son Alexander, wearing his faux-angelic expression, because he was suddenly promoted from colonel to brigadier general, and directs the black hand of State Security.

Raul Castro appears not to understand anything that Obama is saying. Alejandro displays a look of delight, of orgasm, of dreaming of reaching power with the approval of the Americans. When in a change of plans Obama shows up alone, the grandson clumsily shields his diminutive grandfather, and in his officiousness almost knocks Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez to the floor.

I don’t think the Castros are off the hook, at least not for the time being, if before they didn’t arrange to put their house in order, to organize the truths and the lies, to present, in the matter of human rights, something that relates to the present day.

Eduardo Galeano’s Last Embrace / Angel Santiesteban

eduardo-galeano
Angel Santiesteban, Border Control Prison, Havana, 13 April 2015 — I met him at the beginning of the 90s. I was introduced to him after reading one of my stories and he liked it. He signed one of his books for me which I keep with devotion. In those years I accompanied him, along with his wife Helena, on some vacations in Veradero. They told me they wanted to talk, listen to ordinary Cubans, and they wanted to share with the people of Havana and Varadero. They talked with people as if they’d known them forever.

He had a sensibility that any artist would like to possess. I remember that cartoon where a boy watches a sculpture chiseling a rough stone. Later he starts to give it form and the silhouette of a horse emerges. And then the boy, surprised and curious, has the sculptor how he knew there was a horse inside the stone.

Eduardo Galeano, who was a victim of political persecution by another dictatorship, was not spared Cuban censorship. Fidel Castro and his cultural ideologues expunged some pages from his books and didn’t accept him. I am of the opinion that Galeano never forgave them.

When he broke with Cuba and made statements against the regime, they didn’t forgive him, and the distancing was maintained until his death. Since then Galeano avoided Cuba. The same thing happened with the “Sandinista Revolution” with which he had had strong ties of solidarity, and a deep friendship with the Commander Tomas Borges.

When the Piñata* happened, and the commanders shared out the riches of the country making themselves millionaires, including the current president Daniel Ortega, Galeano, who was a transparent and honest man decided to distance himself. But only physically because recently he was one of the activists most engaged in the transoceanic canal in Nicaragua because of the ecological damage it would cause.

In one of the last interviews he gave, we watched on Telesur when the interviewer asked him, “What do you want for your country (Uruguay) once Tabaré Vázquez assumes the presidency of your country.” Galeano avoided answering, nor did he response to the next question about the politics of his country, from which I inferred he didn’t have a good relationship. Galeano reflected, or vice versa, the sensibility reflected in his books, in the actions of his life, regardless of flags or the corners of political militancy, keeping his transparency and his soul.

*Translator’s note: From Wikipedia: “In Ortega’s last days as president [in his previous term in 1990], through a series of legislative acts known as “The Piñata,” estates that had been seized by the Sandinista government (some valued at millions and even billions of US dollars) became the private property of various FSLN officials, including Ortega himself.”

Cardinal Ortega: You Are a Prisoner of Conscience

The Editor, 4 April 2015 — But you are not one of those worthy men who serve a prison sentence in Cuba for raising his voice against the abuses of the dictator. You are a prisoner of conscience, because your conscience is not free; it is a slave to the designs that Raúl Castro has imposed with shady negotiations, even on institutions such as the Church, which should be watching over Her sheep, as Jesus did, and not being an accomplice to a dictatorship that works against everything established by that God Whom you claim to represent in Cuba. Your soul was kidnapped by your cowardice before the pressures of the dictatorship, and since then you live as a prisoner of that double morality wielded every day by those who live off the pain of the Cuban people, and the economic, social and ethical destruction of a nation like Cuba.

You, who were a victim of the sinister UMAP*, can you admit for once what secret about you the dictatorship keeps so well, the one that makes you tremble and obliges you to maintain that complicit silence and to cover up the truth with pious and patriotic arguments of a shameful falsity?

How can you pretend to represent a God upon whose commandments you spit every time you don your sacred vestments to speak in the name of a flock — the Cuban people — whose pain is clearly alien to you?

You shall love God above all things. Does he love God who in His name has betrayed his compatriots by endorsing tyrants who continue to misgovern for almost 60 years, all because he lacks the courage to rebel, as did worthy representatives of God in Cuba in the past – whom, certainly, you censured, pressured, and “relieved” of their clerical duties for fear of the dictatorship, and to preserve that position of privilege that allows you to live as only the Castro regime nomenklatura live?

You shall not take the name of God in vain. Is not using your priestly investiture to position yourself against millions of compatriots taking the name of God in vain? Delivering pious speeches in the name of God while the prisoners during the Black Spring of 2003 were being deceived, lying to them about the true conditions under which their exile in Spain would occur? Maintaining a shameful silence about the real reasons that provoke hundreds of Cubans fleeing Cuba to be devoured by sharks in the ocean, while dirty deals are made with the dictator, begging for the spaces which the Catholic Church never had to beg for in the history of Cuba? This, Cardinal Ortega, is taking the Name of God in vain.

You shall keep the holy days. Maneuvering the sacred festivals to serve as a legitimate discourse for your masters, the Castro dynasty, and using these festivals to give deceitful sermons, designed to calm the evermore rebellious and nonconformist spirits of Cuban Christians, is a sacrilege  for which you should answer before your God and before the people who today witness your outrageous servility.

You shall honor your father and your mother. Your parents, who surely bred in you (or tried to) the sacred principles of the Christian faith, must be turning in their graves with shame, horrified, as they contemplate how their son, in the name of those values, behaves like a puppet at the mercy of the assassins and torturers of our native land.

You shall not kill. You have stained your hands with blood when you are complicit with the rhetoric with which Raúl Castro’s government hides from the world the constant repression that imprisons those who dissent; beats those who resist the outrages of repressive forces; executes those who have rebelled; eliminates via “accidents” the most popular leaders; and casts Cubans to a certain death in that sea that shelters the remains of more than 20,000 Cubans who drowned or were devoured by sharks during these last 60 years of dictatorship.

You shall not commit impure acts. The impure acts, those that you say you committed and that were the cause of your incarceration in the UMAP, are as dirty and perverse in the eyes of God as betraying those opponents who sought and continue to seek shelter in your church from the thugs who, because of your cowardice, manage to beat and jail them. Dirty and perverse acts are also keeping silent and remaining obedient before the brutal beatings of the noble Ladies in White, and before targeted killings, such as of Laura Pollán and Oswaldo Payá, among so many others. It is impure to feed oneself as the people cannot, to travel as they cannot, to live as they cannot.

You shall not steal. Do not forget, Cardinal Ortega, that making a living from the robbery and theft that the dictatorship has perpetrated against 11 million Cubans, and trying to disguise with soft words the hard reality lived by the people, who continue to be looted to this day in the name of changes that only seek to perpetuate power in the very robbers’ hands: that, too, is stealing.

You shall not bear false witness. Although the most recent lie is saying that there no longer are political prisoners in Cuba, enumerating your many lies throughout so many years of your ministry would produce a book as long as the very Bible.

You shall not allow impure thoughts or desires. Leaving aside the rumors that have always existed about your carnal immorality, have you at any time tried to explain to the dictators and their paid assassins that physically and sexually abusing the defenseless Ladies in White violates this commandment of God? Have you raised your voice to denounce the sexual abuses that are committed against the opponents of the Regime in Cuban prisons? Have you told your masters, the Castro dynasty, that because of the economic, social and moral impoverishment caused by the dictatorship’s appalling management they are the only ones responsible for the thousands of rapes and suicides that happen every year in Cuba?

You shall not covet others’ goods. You and your spiritual colleagues have been delighted, euphoric, applauding like trained seals, when the Regime announced that it would start to return the Church’s property. And that brings up a question: How many times did you ask your Commander-in-Chief, or his brother Raúl, to restore the property stolen from the people? How many times did you ask that they return the property of those Cubans who were despoiled simply because they emigrated? How is it possible to celebrate that they are returning some property to the Catholic Church, in exchange for its domestication, while hundreds of thousands of Cubans who are Christian live in crowded and unhealthy conditions, barely surviving in a country literally in ruins?

Cardinal Ortega, have you lost what few traces of shame remaining in you, to be capable of sustaining the lie that there are no political prisoners in Cuba, when institutions and opposition groups that you know well have denounced to the world the existence of political prisoners and, even worse, that every month new names are added to those lists?

I remind you, because I know that you know very well, that even the world leader of the Church you represent in Cuba, Pope Francis, knows about the case of Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, a prisoner in Cuba for having raised his voice against the Regime in his blog, “The Children Nobody Wanted.” His Holiness has received by multiple channels the documentation that shows that Ángel Santiesteban-Prats is a political prisoner, that he has been thrown in prison under a judicial farce for common crimes, as the dictatorship is doing recently with the opposition. Although the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation has for two years left off the list, inexplicably, the name of this prize-winning writer, Ángel’s proven innocence makes it clear that his case is also political. His Holiness Pope Francis, furthermore, knows perfectly that the list of political prisoners in Cuba duplicates the list that the Vatican prepared for the exchange of the convicted assassins in the United States.

We are aware that neither you nor your two bosses (that of the Cuban government and that of the Vatican) have the least interest in restoring freedom to the more than 50 political prisoners who rot in the Cuban concentration camps, but, at least, now that nothing will be done for anyone, have the decency to keep your mouth shut.

The Editor

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison and Regina Anavy

*Translators’ Note: UMAP – “Military Units to Aid Production” — was a network of concentration camps for “counterrevolutionary elements,” including homosexuals, religious believers and others.

4 April 2015

The Magicians of Empty Text / Angel Santiesteban

1429880622_magos-del-texto-vacc3adoEvery 21st of the month, my family — in their visits to my penitentiary —  supply me with the national newspapers. Many times they accuse me of masochism, but I find it necessary because it helps me understand where the Government’s nonsense is going.

Sometimes — after much practice — I can infer, almost guess, the political, cultural and populist strategies that they outline. I invest around twelve hours reading, and I can’t hide the fact that, once I complete the aberrant task, the journalists’ cowardice stays with me, their “robotic” writing that translates the boss’s order of editing to cover specified news, after those bosses have received it in a chain that begins in the ideological office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

As a Cuban, a writer, a citizen immersed in the daily social problems of Cubans on the ground, I am ashamed of those who — unfortunately — have access to those spaces, because they, unfortunately, stick to the subject matter ordered by the Government.

In the last Congress of the Cuban Journalists Union (UPEC), there was talk and boasting of an “opening” that would do away with “secretism.” That speech was a joke. They were talking about another country, another system, with different leaders. Immediately there was an echo from some “journalists,” very good at repeating the government line, magicians of the empty text.  Now, one year later, probably no one remembers that bland, misleading propaganda, which simply impressed a collective that displays sheepishness like no other sector in the country.

I finish reading the pile of newspapers and am left with a sensation of betrayal from the names I recognize. They are incapable, at the least, of being honest with themselves, those who say that the projects in the Cuban nation are in full swing, although it’s not important to them where the old Castros and their fawning followers are taking them. Twenty-one days of articles and feature stories, which assure us that Cuba is Paradise (although there are things that need to be changed), and that outside its borders you live in Hell.

The press has no other intention than to deceive and terrorize people, who should continue with their heads bowed, because a rebellious attitude is too agonizing.

Someone once told me that as a psychological defense, in order to stay sane, you laugh at the economic and other news, and about how much deceit you’re already saturated with. As much as I try, I can’t even crack a smile. What I feel is pain for those common intellectuals who – after being kicked and humiliated in the decade of the ’70s – today pretend they have forgotten. They write for a press that is as worn-down as they are, and are incapable of expressing their own opinion, one that is different, authentic. They conform to being that way, filling a harmless space without being straight, with the dictators’ vision.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Border Control Prison. Havana. April 2015.

Translated by Regina Anavy

Deputies of the European Union Request Freedom for Angel Santiesteban

“What new trap will the dictatorship lay for April 28, the date when Angel Santiesteban-Prats should be released on parole?”

 

Justice continues to impose itself. In Cuba, behind the bars with which they have tried to imprison his body, without being able to capture his spirit and his ideas, Angel Santiesteban-Prats is today a little freer.

The world, Europe in particular, is making a new gesture, showing that dignity still is not lost in the world of high politics, in the world that prefers to make economic, commercial and political concessions to the Castro brothers’ dictatorship, ignoring the enormous violations of human rights that the Regime perpetrates on the Island.

Two Eurodeputies fly the flag of dignity: Fernando Maura and Pavel Telicka. They ask the head of European diplomacy, Frederica Mogherini, who mediates with the Regime of Havana, to obtain immediate freedom for the artists Angel Santiesteban-Prats and Danilo Maldonado, as well as the cessation of the extreme cruelty that confines the renown artist, Tania Bruguera, in Cuba.

Even more important is the letter that Fernando Maura and Pavel Telicka, vice  presidents of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party of the European Parliament, sent to Frederica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, signed by some 30 Eurodeputies from different parties.

Bravo for the dignity that these Eurodeputies represent by putting themselves on the side of freedom!

It’s a very clear message to Raul Castro: Every time more people in the world, from all ideological tendencies, verify the crime that Cuba’s cultural and military policemen have committed against the writer Angel Santiesteban-Prats, the truth is revealed.

The Editor

See related article here.

Translated by Regina Anavy

24 April 2015

The Bullies That Castro Sent to Panama / Angel Santiesteban

For a few seconds you could see the video on Telesur of the blows given by the official Cuban delegates in Panama. I managed to see, and it’s the gesture I remember the most, a man who, above the rest, attacked with his fist, exercising brutal force, and I remembered that on November 8, 2012, when I was in front of the Acosta police station, members of Cuban State Security beat me for demanding freedom for Antonio Rodiles, who was detained in jail there.

Beating Cuban dissidents is a daily practice. They can’t avoid doing what they always do. It’s their instinct, their Castrista education.

Mysteriously, those seconds of the image of the altercation that Telesur showed were not repeated. A call from their politicians censured them. For its part, Cuba, through its media of communication, affirmed that the disturbance was started by the opposition, but it’s not what the cameras picked up.

When the Cuban Book Fair took place in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2002, the same thing happened. The Cuban envoys packed the room for the presentation of “Free Writing” and attacked the exhibitors.

We know it’s the way the rulers and their stooges think. They operate without any political conscience, only for the gifts they receive from those in power.

And what is happening in the media reports of the Obama-Castro conversations doesn’t make me suspect the Cuban side, because they are who they are, and nobody can change them. I distrust the North American side; I ask myself what they really are looking for, because I haven’t seen an iota of progress nor interest from the Dictator, except that of hanging onto power with the money he thinks he will earn once the embargo is lifted.

If it’s a matter of consistency, I don’t see a positive path for these erroneous negotiations because they were conceived, from their birth, as a deformed and retarded creature. While Washington and Havana lose time in delayed conversations, Cuban dissidents continue to resist unjust incarceration and the constant beatings.

I don’t know if Obama will abandon us or not, but I’m convinced that God remains on our side.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Border Control Prison, Havana. April 2015.

Translated by Regina Anavy

Important Global Event Supports Freedom for Angel Santiesteban

With the organization “Creative Time,” on Friday, April 13, there was a performance of Tania Bruguera’s “Tatlin’s Whisper #6,” in solidarity with her, Angel Santiesteban-Prats, Danilo Maldonado “El Sexto,” and all other artists in the world who face criminal charges and violence for exercising their basic human right to free expression.

The solidarity event invoked Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights that states: “Every person has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medium and regardless of frontiers.”

The participants urged governments to respect the rights of citizens and non-citizens equally to share their voices, ideas, values, beliefs and dreams without fear of persecution or violence.

“As citizens of the world, with a shared humanity, we urge the Government of Cuba to drop charges against Tania Bruguera, Angel Santiesteban and Danilo Maldonado ’El Sexto,’ all of whom are in prison or facing prison for having done what every person on the planet ought to be able to do: express oneself.”

An action for artists Tania Bruguera, Angel Santiesteban, and Danilo Maldonado “El Sexto”

By re-staging Tania Bruguera’s participatory art work, Tatlin’s Whisper 6, the Hammer Museum stands in solidarity with her, Angel Santiesteban, and Danilo Maldonado “El Sexto”, and all other artists around the world who face criminal charges and violence for exercising their basic human right to free expression. As article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states, Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

On Monday, April 13, from 12:30-2PM, all were invited to step up and speak freely for one minute about freedom of speech as part of the performance. The event was streamed live online.

For more information about the event: CLICK HERE.

Translated by Regina Anavy

11 April 2015