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.” Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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-galeanoAngel 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

Cardinal Ortega: You Are a Prisoner of Conscience

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

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.

Continue reading

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. Continue reading

The Bullies That Castro Sent to Panama / Angel Santiesteban

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

European Parliament Members call for EU mediation to release Cuban artists from prison / 14ymedio

The vice president of the Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party in the European Parliament, Pavel Telicka. (European Democratic Party)

The vice president of the Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party in the European Parliament, Pavel Telicka. (European Democratic Party)


14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 April 2015 — The vice presidents of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party of the European Parliament, Fernando Maura and Pavel Telicka, have asked the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Frederica Mogherini, to intervene with the Havana Government for the release from prison of Angel Santiesteban and Danilo Maldonado. In a letter to Mogherini, signed by some thirty Eurodeputies, they also call for an end to the “prolonged confinement” of Tania Bruguera.

In a letter released this Friday, the Eurodeputies ask Mogherini to mediate for the withdrawal of the charges for “counterrevolutionary activities” against the regime opponent Antonio Rodiles and his partner Ailer Gonzalez. Continue reading

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.” Continue reading

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. Continue reading