Neither the righteous nor the sinners
The settlement where I find myself detained is a fine example of the slave labor that exists in the Castro brothers’ dictatorship.
The prisoners are up at five in the morning, and they keep them going almost until midnight, or perhaps longer, according to the immediate work needed. The food, in addition to being scare, is poorly prepared and sometimes rotten: acid picadillo, raw undercooked chicken and, countless times, stale bread. Eggs, rice and a tasteless, colorless soup is the constant menu.
These prisoners endure the long march because it offers them the possibility of visiting their family every 27 days for 72 hours. They go from one pass to another, moreover enduring bad treatment and the usual blackmail that can make them lose the pass if they don’t complete their work in the time demanded.
In my case, as I don’t collaborate with the reeducation program, my regulation pass for my punishment is for every 70 days. State Security suspended my last passes. They don’t want me immersed in civil society; I represent a great danger. It wasn’t just for the fun of doing it that they constructed my crime.
Really, as I made known to Major Cobas and the rest of the repressors who accompanied him, “You will not be able hurt my ideas in any way.” When I preferred to be taken prisoner rather than emigrate on a boat to Miami, it was because I felt fortified for the experience that awaited me. The worst thing about hired assassins is that their injustice is without limits, and to justify my not leaving, they have withheld the pass from these ruined hands that remain captive, without carrying about the extreme submission, that they accept full-time.
To cover up the injustice committed against me, they have made it greater. I would have to decipher the true intention they pursue; perhaps it’s to provoke criticism of me by those prisoners and at some moment generate some retaliation upon seeing me at fault for their punishments. I remain alone awaiting their reactions. The dictatorship observes. They are interested only in maintaining power for the dynastic clan of the Castro brothers. What’s certain is that nothing provokes me to break. Their abuses redouble my resolve.
Lawton Prison Settlement, February 2014
Please follow the link to sign the petition to have Angel Santiesteban declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.
Translated by Regina Anavy
7 February 2014