Category Archives: Translator: Regina Anavy

Deputies of the European Union Request Freedom for Angel Santiesteban

“What new trap will the dictatorship lay for April 25, 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

Killing Time (2) / Angel Santiesteban

Angel Santiesteban, 30March 2015 — The common prisoner who sleeps near me told me about his “good” uncle, the mentally ill one who took him to the beach on Sundays, or every day during school vacation.

My cellmate told me the worst part, according to his point of view, since he had another “bad” uncle; that one took him nowhere, except on certain occasions when he made him wear his backpack and ordered him to keep a distance and pretend he didn’t know him.

On the way, he told him the details so he would know how to return alone.

One time they went to a certain place, and his bad uncle went into a house and met a group of men. They always started a discussion about a payment that wasn’t made, or vice-versa. Another man confronted him with a deadline for paying a debt. A fight broke out, and the bad uncle took advantage of the hidden minor to put his hand into his backpack and extract a pistol. The bad uncle fired several shots, and he saw, like in the movies, the opponent fall, covered in blood.

After this, his bad uncle deposited the pistol in his backpack and ordered him to go home, which he did, unaccompanied. Once he entered the house, his grandmother asked about her son, and he lied, telling her that he had left him on the corner. Then he hid the pistol in a shoe box as agreed and covered it with notebooks, pencils and books, because in the morning he would have to go to school.

His bad uncle came back in the early morning, when his nephew was expecting him, pretending to sleep. His bad uncle put five pesos in the pocket of his backpack.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Border Control Prison. Havana. February 2015.

Translated by Regina Anavy 

Angel Santiesteban in the RSF/AFP album that honors 100 heroes of freedom

Angel Santiesteban-Prats, who was recognized last year as one of the 100 Information Heroes of Reporters Without Borders, has been included in the photo album.

Reporters Without Borders and France-Press Agency have published a new photo album of the “100 heroes who defend liberty,” including Martin Luther King, Mandela, Edward Snowden and the Cuban blogger, Yoani Sanchez.

The album went on sale on Thursday, April 2, 2015. It costs 9.90 euros, and all the profits will be donated to Reporters Without Borders.

In the name of Angel Santiesteban-Prats, we are grateful to Reporters Without Borders for their solid support.

The Editor

Translated by Regina Anavy

2 April 2015

Dialogue between the color blind and the cynics / Angel Santiesteban

Angel Santiesteban, 20 April 2015 — If it’s said that a dialogue occurred between two governments that have been opposed for more than a half-century, that they came to the negotiation table, one should first expect that both sides accepted the “errors” in their respective diplomacies, as occurred last March in Washington with the talks about human rights. But thinking this, knowing that the representatives of Cuba’s totalitarian government sat in one of the chairs at that table, is an enormous ingenuity or, simply, stupidity.

When the Cuban delegation returned to the Island, they appeared on television, supposedly to inform the population about what was discussed. They showed once again that you shouldn’t expect either democratic progress or human rights. They used their media time to criminalize the attitude of President Obama’s government, talking about U.S. spying and drones, and mentioning the resolutions presented in rejection of the U.S. action.

For his part, Chancelor Bruno Rodriguez, according to the presented medium, spoke of “the calamities on the world level, like hunger, preventable illness and illiteracy,” furthermore reaffirming the words of his “president,” Raul Castro, that “Cuba is not ready to falter nor cede its ideological points of view.”

At the height of cynicism he affirmed that “Cuba complies with the Declaration of Human Rights” and that it has signed the “most important conventions in this matter.” He also affirmed “Cuba’s prestige in sitting on the United Nations Human Rights Council.” And as if this were a public display of someone demented, demonstrating his total incoherence, he continued, “Proof of Cuba’s goodwill was its acceptance of 80 percent of the suggestions in the Human Rights Assembly in Geneva.”

How can a country that admits that it violates 80 percent of the Human Rights Convention assert that it enjoys “prestige on an international level?” I imagine it’s the opposite, that it “enjoys” in a negative way. But if neither they themselves understand, how could I?

In the end, according to what they demonstrated in Washington, both delegations squandered the contributors’ money, something that Cubans are used to doing, without even having the right to criticize officially in this regard.

Since December 17, when they made the secret conversations public between Obama and Castro, we raised our voices to affirm that they failed, and that they won’t achieve what Cuban civil society needs.

Castro is trying to gain time so Cuba will be taken off the list of terrorist nations, so that later the North American Congress will withdraw the embargo, although inevitably, already, there are reports of increased tourism, which Obama announced. It’s now reported that some million more tourists will help the asphyxiating and wasted Cuban economy, money that the dictatorship will know how to use later to repress those who oppose the social, economic and political model of the Castro clan.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Border Control Prison. Havana. April 2015

Translated by Regina Anavy

Prostitution in Cuba (I) / Angel Santiesteban

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, 31 March 2015 — In the Alamar police station in Havana, the stepfather of a 14-year old minor has been accused by his ex-wife after discovering that the man who helped her raise her daughter was having sexual relations with the child.

Years after the visits of this “stepfather” to the home, where he felt he had the rights of a father over the girl, she discovered the love the child had for him. The police interrogated the parties, proving then what was certain, only that the minor child declared herself profoundly enamored of her “Papi,” that he never approached her, nor even hinted at anything ever.

But the wife began to observe the way the girl dressed — because she had family abroad — and above all she noticed the latest-generation cellphone, which the girl dreamed of getting.

Already at 14 the girl was giving away her recent-woman’s body, and she unlocked her virginity to that man who was 26 years older. It was barely noticeable when she showed her phone or the brand-name tennis shoes that none of the young boys of her generation could offer.

Finally, the police determined that if they were to lock up every man who let himself be seduced by a minor, the prisons wouldn’t be big enough. Today they’re already full, and since rape wasn’t involved, it was permissible. And they freed him.

“It’s normal,” said the official who led the investigation. “I’ve had worse cases of girls up to 12 years old who have relations with mature men.”

The stepfather sighed, relieved.

“Every night we detain girls practicing prostitution with the consent of their parents,” continued the official, who shook the stepfather’s hand before saying goodbye to him.

“It’s no wonder,” he said, looking at the cellphone in the stepfather’s hand. “With such a weapon you can make anyone fall into bed with you.”

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Border Guard Prison Unit. Havana. February 2015.

Translated by Regina Anavy

Two Types of Dissidence, Two Policies / Angel Santiesteban

Angel Santiesteban, 25 March 2015 — For the first time in the history of the violations against the Cuban dissidence by the political police of the totalitarian Regime, there are two lines of thought: one subdued and the other more severe.

Those in the opposition who have publicly supported the intention of the governments of the United States and Cuba to reconstruct diplomatic relations have had their rights respected to travel abroad, reunite, publish, etc.

But those who openly oppose the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, unless the Cuban Government respects human rights and frees the political prisoners, have been detained and had their passports take away, like the plastic artist Tania Bruguera, who was visiting the country, so that she now finds herself held hostage, and the activists Antonio Rodiles and Ailer Gonzales.

The Ladies in White, together with their leader, Berta Soler, and one of the 75 prisoners of the Black Spring, Angel Moya, Antonio Rodiles, Ailer Gonzalez, Claudio Fuentes and Tania Bruguera, among others, were captured, some for several days, and, coincidentally, have all opposed the reestablishment of relations.

It’s painful that this distance exists between both factions, which, when united, have suffered so much abuse from the dictatorship. Some who accept relations keep quiet about the abuses committed toward those who think differently.

In a certain way, they have to recognize that silence converts them into accomplices of the Regime. We can’t forget that in different ways, thinking from parallel paths, is precisely what transforms us in dissidence, because we came fleeing from belonging to that mob that accedes to the call of the Dictator, which sometimes, even in an indirect way, can manipulate us in its favor.

Although we think that others are wrong, we should defend their right to be so. There is no one dissidence that is bland and another that is extreme, only degrees that are necessary and that strive for the same thing.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Unidad de Guardafronteras Prison, Havana. March 2015.

Translated by Regina Anavy

 

Blatant Lies / Angel Santiesteban

During the days in which Ángel Santiesteban-Prats’ whereabouts were unknown, and with fears absolutely based on the illegal transfers that he experienced before, we filed a complaint with the United Nations Working Group on Forced or Involuntary Disappearances, so they would put it before the Regime in Havana to clarify his whereabouts.

Translation of letter from the High Commissioner’s Office of the United Nations Human Rights Commission:

Dear Mrs. Tabakman,

I have the honor of addressing you in the name of the Working Group on Forced or Involuntary Disappearances with respect to the case of Mr. Ángel Lazaro Santiesteban Prats (case no. 10005155).

In this respect I would like to inform you that the communication sent to the Government of Cuba on July 30, 2014, due to an administrative error, did not include the phrase “Marti TV (Miami, United States)” in place of “Cuban communication media.”

Furthermore, I want you to know that this correction of the case does not affect the decision taken by the Working Group during its 104th session, such as was communicated to you in its letter of September 30, 2014.

I would like to inform you that the Working Group will celebrate its 105th session between March 2-6, 2015, in the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Sincerely yours,

Ariel Dulitzky, President-Presenter

They acted with the dedication and speed that an emergency requires, and, of course, the Castro dictatorship did not. They only responded to the Group’s requirement when it gave them the demand; that is, when Ángel already had been located by journalists from 14Ymedio. Thanks to them we knew where he was, although they couldn’t meet with him. The Regime had put him in the border military prison where he presently is.

I want to point out not only the fact that the Regime responded to the presenter for the Working Group, but they also took advantage of the occasion to lie blatantly and use against the “source” complainant the same strategies they use to falsely accuse and imprison the opposition. All thieves believe that others are like them.

Translation of document from Cuban government:

On the other hand, the facts transcribed are not reliable. They don’t come from pertinent and credible sources that act in good faith, in accord with the principles of cooperation in the matter of human rights and without political motivation, contrary to what is set forth in the United Nations Charter. They are supported by unfounded accusations that are only intended to tarnish the reality of Cuba’s record in the promotion and protection of all human rights for everyone.

They exploited an involuntary omission in the group’s communication to the Cuban government to try to disqualify the complaint and the complainants. Now they have just communicated and corrected the omission – again – in order to continue supporting their lies, but they will preserve the same pathetic silence that they have with respect to the whole case.

I am transcribing here the response from the Regime (the complete document is attached in a link in this post):

Session: 104

Government Item

Date: September 4, 2014

The Government of Cuba reported that:

“The allegations about a supposed transfer of the citizen Ángel Lázaro Santiesteban Prats,

from the place where he was fulfilling a punishment of deprivation of liberty to a ’military base.’

“After investigation, it was demonstrated that:

“1. At 7:00 a.m. on July 21, 2014, Santiesteban Prats tried to escape from the center where he was held as a prisoner (with open living). Immediately complaint 38563/14 was filed in the station of the National Revolutionary Police of Municipio Diez de Octubre, for the crime of Escape of Prisoners or Detainees.

“2. At 1:05 a.m. on July 27, 2014, Santiesteban Prats was detained and transferred to the Territorial Department of Criminal Investigation and Operations, where he remains. He enjoys good health and receives all the benefits established in the Cuban penitentiary system.

“3. Santiesteban Prats himself admitted that he fled from the detention center with the goal of leaving the country in an irregular and covert manner, with support from the exterior, and to thereby avoid having to continue serving his sentence.

“On the other hand, the facts transcribed are not reliable. They don’t come from pertinent and credible sources that act in good faith, in accord with the principles of cooperation in the matter of human rights and without political motivation, contrary to what is set forth in the United Nations Charter. They are supported by unfounded accusations that are only intended to tarnish the reality of Cuba’s record in the promotion and protection of all human rights for everyone.

“In that sense, it is false that his presumed disappearance was related to ’declarations of a person associated with him in Cuban communication media in the days previous to July 20, 2014.’

“Nor for his activities as a writer and blogger was Santiesteban Prats sentenced to five years in prison for having committed common crimes, as regulated in the present Cuban Penal Code.

“He was accused by his wife, Kenla Liley Rodriguez Guzmán, in August 2009, of the crimes of Harm, Home Invasion, Injuries, Threats, Rape, and Robbery with Force. After investigation, the Prosecutor presented the case before the Provincial Court of Havana for the crimes of Injuries and Home Invasion.

“From that time they knew of his intentions to flee the country in an irregular and covert manner, incited by his sister who lives in the exterior, to evade his sentence. He finally tried, unsuccessfully, in July of this year, as already has been explained.”

Ángel Santiesteban, without even knowing of the existence of the complaint or this document, has already given an answer to that nonsense in the message that was sent explaining what motivated him to leave the Lawton prison settlement and saying that he would give himself up several days later. The only certainty in everything the dictatorship alleges is that he recognized that he abandoned the prison voluntarily, taking advantage of the movement of the prisoners who left for work in the morning.

The first lie, which falls of its own weight, is that “he receives all the benefits established in the Cuban penitentiary system.” Exactly because he DOESN’T receive them is the reason he left on his own to recover them (the 15 days of pass that corresponded to the last 10 months, which they arbitrarily denied him). He wasn’t “detained” on July 27 like they allege. He gave himself up, telling the official who received him that they still owed him 10 days of pass.

“On the other hand, the facts transcribed are not reliable. They don’t come from pertinent and credible sources that act in good faith, in accord with the principles of cooperation in the matter of human rights and without political motivation, contrary to what is set forth in the United Nations Charter. They are supported by unfounded accusations that are only intended to tarnish the reality of Cuba’s record in the promotion and protection of all human rights for everyone.”

Such a declaration merits nothing more than remembering that we are facing a dictatorship where neither law nor justice exists, in which they only administer rewards and punishments according to whether one is obsequious or opposed. The cynicism of those who work for the Regime is such that they have the nerve to mention the United Nations Charter and human rights. Does Mr. Dictator finally want to ratify the pacts of the U.N.? The biggest violator of all human rights on the continent makes believe that the complaint “continues tarnishing reality and the executive of Cuba in the promotion and protection of all human rights for everyone.” Ask him about all the executions, assassinations, tortures, imprisonments, and those who have been banished and forced into exile who have endured the said promotion and protection for 55 years.

Then they relied on the before-mentioned omission to lie again: “(…) It’s false that his presumed disappearance was related to ’declarations of a person associated with him in the Cuban communication media in the days previous to July 20, 2014.’ Now it’s already been explained to them that it was a matter of an omission, clarifying that it referred to the declaration of Angel’s son in a television program from Miami. How do they explain that they had prepared a transfer for Angel and that he complained only five days after his son said on Television Marti how he had been manipulated by his mother and the political police to lie and prejudice the case against his father? Wasn’t there a relationship with the said complaints? Are they trying to delegitimize the rumor that he denounced his imminent transfer on July 20 when on August 13 they incarcerated him where he said they would? The Regime knows perfectly well that there was an involuntary omission in the report, and they knew that it referred to the declarations of Angel’s son on Television Marti, who said that the political police were permanently spying on him, so that the Human Rights Commission granted cautionary measures for him also.

Ángel Santiesteban is the only “common” prisoner to whom the dictatorship has offered – on numerous occasions since he was incarcerated – freedom and banishment in exchange for renouncing his political position, documenting it in a video. Every time he has refused outright and denounced this in his blog. Even so, they continue stubbornly trying to convince him. So that “From this time they knew about his intentions to abandon the country in an irregular and covert manner (…)” is no more than another cock-and-bull story like the ones they habitually resort to in order to justify the unjustifiable: the lack of freedoms, guarantees, and protections for the citizen victims of the island prison.

Ángel never asked that they free him; he only requested a review of the trial with ALL the guarantees of due process that they denied him when they took him to prison. If they would proceed to carry out the review, he would be absolved, because the accusations aretotally false. That’s the reason they delay the review with the stupidest excuses, because they only pretend to penalize him by keeping him locked up: “Nor for his activities as a writer and blogger was Santiesteban Prats sentenced to five years in prison for having committed common crimes, as regulated in the present Cuban Penal Code.”

The accuser is named Kenia Diley Rodríguez Guzmán; only by reading how they refer to her in the response do we have proof of the “care” they put into fabricating causes of action, the accusations and the accusers. It doesn’t ever matter to them who has lied; the only thing that matters is that their lies serve the interests of the dictatorship: “He was accused by his wife, Kenla Liley Rodriguez Guzmánin August 2009, for the crimes of Harm, Home Invasion, Injuries, Threats, Rape, and Robbery with Force. After investigation, the Prosecutor presented the case before the Provincial Court of Havana for the crimes of Injuries and Home Invasion.”

I remember again that as there wasn’t any proof that would incriminate him, they condemned him after a report from a lieutenant, a handwriting expert, who alleged that “from the size and inclination of his handwriting, he’s guilty.”

In the end, there is little to add that is not already known.

The Editor

Translated by Regina Anavy

20 October 2014

Angel Santiesteban’s New Dossier

The mechanism of annulment is cleanly bureaucratic: You can’t hire an attorney without having completed the dossier. The prosecution prepares its case in the dungeons.

Lilianne Ruiz

Havana, Cuba.  In the doorways of Avenue Acosta, in the neighborhood of La Vibora, some faded beings sell aluminum scouring pads, Band-Aids and little boxes of matches. A few meters away, crossing Calzada de Diez de Octubre – formerly Jesus del Monte – is the former police station of Acosta and Diez de Octubre, which now advertises itself, by a lighted sign, as a Territorial Unit of Criminal Investigation and Operations of the Ministry of the Interior. The latest news about the writer, Angel Santiesteban, places him in the cells of that sinister place.

Another writer, the Czech Milan Kundera, victim in his time of the same procedures, pointed out that our only immortality exists in the archives of the political police. In this city of changed names, where poetry is a military choir, where the violation of human rights is called anti-imperialism and there is thoughtless defense of socialism, and where some nameless beings without a voice sell scouring pads in order to eat, I think about my friend who is experiencing the same awful misfortune.

Except for Daniela Santiesteban, his 18-year-old daughter, sufficiently bewildered and frightened to not want to speak with the independent press or the dissident friends of her father, no one else has seen him nor can corroborate that he hasn’t been maltreated, or that he really tried to escape from prison, as the authorities say.

The Territorial Unit building has checkpoint surveillance. It seems to be the entrance where the detainees are taken to the dungeons, which are in the basement. Those who have left that prison say that below there are around 70 cells. And that’s where they look for confessions in all the cases. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know the first thing about the crimes that the official presents to them. The dossier can be false. It takes time to complete, so that in order to obtain the auto-inculpation, the false confession, no attorney can be present.

This is the beginning of total domination: The detainees can’t count on having the right to an attorney from the beginning of the charging process. The mechanism of annulment is simply bureaucratic; you can’t hire a lawyer without having a dossier and the case number. The trial is prepared underground.

It’s in these cells where you can be interrogated at any time, where no family member can have access unless he’s also a prisoner and where even your diet has been thoroughly studied with the goal of crushing your feeling of having rights. It’s there that your dossier would be assembled and the charge against you enumerated in the most total incommunication. Hannah Arendt already said it, when in 1961 she formulated the expression “banality of evil” as a phenomenon that is characteristic of every dictatorship: The first essential step on the path that leads to total domination consists of suppressing the juridical person in Man.

There’s another front entrance to the building. Going up the stairs you arrive at a reception area that is garishly green, with a sepulchral silence. Ornamental plants, always the same: miserable malanga vines. Portraits of Castro and other allegorical figures of July 26 provide ambience, so you don’t have any doubt that you’re in Hell. In this mournful place, the guard refuses to answer my questions about the situation of the detainee. He says that only his family can see him, and that he is accused of “detainee evasion”. “I’m not giving you any more information”, he concludes. The expression “detainee evasion” appears to be nonsense. It’s not clear what the accusation is. Neither does he answer when I ask his name and military rank, in spite of the fact that I told him, before he asked me for my identity card, who I am and what I do.

I know Angel. Before being taken to prison he had time to leave the island, but that’s not his intention. His awareness of not being guilty of the crime that the political police fabricated in collusion with his ex-wife, Kenia Diley Rodriguez, who had already made threats that she was going to destroy him, made him believe until the last moment that it wasn’t possible that the authorities would go so far in the consummation of evil.

On one of those afternoons when we talked about this, he told me how at the beginning of the whole process, neither he nor the people who would serve as witnesses, making him believe that they would stand by him when his accuser, Diley Rodriguez, told her story, thought it possible that a case would be opened against him. But he armed himself with a dossier with the case number. Later, his lawyers told him that it was impossible that a trial would take place, because that would not be logical. And there was a trial. And the sentence? It was announced to him previously during a detention, by a minion of the political police named Camilo – famous for his sadism – with the exact number of years to which he was condemned. Five.

So that this isn’t the first dossier prepared against Angel Santiesteban.

Interview with Marti News

The Lawton military settlement, which presents itself as the Ministry of Interior Housing Construction Company, was the last place Santiesteban was seen. So I went there to follow up. The prisoners, through a fence, repeated to me the authorities’ version, but no one could tell me that they really saw him being transferred from the prison. They only affirmed what the authorities said.

A friend of the writer named Reinaldo Gantes Hidalgo was “visited” by State Security, in a move that can be part of the new judicial fabrication, to ask him if he knew where Santiesteban was. Another person, who asked me not to reveal his identity for fear of reprisals, was detained for a week, accused of complicity without any evidence, but he hadn’t seen Santiesteban either. And it’s clear that State Security wouldn’t spare itself some arbitrary detention with which it could propagate the version that matches their perverted goals.

Gantes Hidalgo told me that after the visit of the son of Colome Ibarra, the present Minister of the Interior, to the military settlement of the regime prison, in his position as the head of the MININT Housing Construction Company, and after the escape of a boatman, an inmate who managed to get to Miami, three guards kept watch on Santiesteban at all times, even when he went to the bathroom. All of which was again inconsistent with the official version.

If there’s a relationship between this visit and the increase in vigilance, we can only deduce this from the question that Colome Jr. asked him. With much sarcasm he questioned him about the woman who called the Directorate-General of Jails and Prisons to denounce Santiesteban for the possession of a laptop and a cell phone hidden inside the prison, and about a supposed plan to escape. From there they also started the records. With these notices it’s not very probable that Santiesteban would have improvised an escape from an island where there are police guarding almost every corner, and boats patrolling 24 hours a day thanks to Venezuelan oil.

All this points to a set-up. After which his son, Eduardo Santiesteban, 17 years old, conceded an interview to Karen Caballero, a journalist from Marti News, where he denounced the manipulation of State Security in the trial against his father. And so he began to demolish the first dossier. Let’s remember that during the trial, they used, as pretend proof, his declaration that Angel didn’t accompany him home in order to claim, in a rare sophisticated use of ubiquity, that he found him at home with his mother, Kenia Diley. As if by being absent from one place he would be fatefully in another.

So that the prosecutor’s maliciousness, added to the fact that trials aren’t independent, had the result of an unjust sentence based on ridiculous reasoning, twists and lack of proof.

Until Angel Santesteban commnicates his version, we can’t believe the authorities, who are dependent on a government of which it can be said that not only do they lie, but they also hardly ever tell the truth.

Published by Cubanet.

Have Amnesty International declare the dissident Cuban, Angel Santiesteban, a prisoner of conscience. Follow the link to sign the petition.

 Translated by Regina Anavy

18 August 2014