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.
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. Continue reading
Authored by Angel’s 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. Continue reading
Every 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.
“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. Continue reading
Screen capture from Cuban State television. Caption: “Mercenaries [i.e. independent human rights activists] attack the Cuban delegation in Panama.”
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. Continue reading
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.” Continue reading
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. Continue reading
“Act of Repudiation” (organized by the Cuban government) against Cuban activists at the Hotel Panama during the Summit of the Americas.
Angel Satiesteban,16 April 2015 — The biggest problem confronting the Castro brothers’ government is to accept the new challenges posed by the 21st century.
They thought they would arrive at the Summit in Panama and turn it into their show, but the times taught them the truth: the world, the venues, words, belong to everyone. So of course the entourage of sycophants that had been sent obeyed the order to retreat, left the forum, and hid, because really they had no defense in the face of the nonsense that characterizes the dictatorship. They can no longer fool the world, though they continue to practice extortion, and hire acolytes who, as a matter of survival, accept and pretend to support the totalitarian regime. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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.
Translated by Regina Anavy
2 April 2015
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. Continue reading