Prison Diary XLIX: Ode to Friendship / Angel Santiesteban

In the Dominican Republic and scattered throughout the world, many friends await, who tried to protect me when I still hadn’t detailed the gross “stories” which later led to the accusations against me. They inferred what would happen to me. They predicted a future I didn’t want to see or that I didn’t care to suffer.

In 2008, when I last traveled abroad months before opening my blog The Children Nobody Wanted, Rafael Lantigua, the Secretary of Culture, a position which in Cuba would have been the Minister, tried to tell me not to return, and introduced me to his personal attorney to arrange the paperwork for me so that I could stay his country.

On the other hand, the poet and narrator Camilo Venegas took me into his home like another son his mother never had. He begged me not to return, envisioning what would happen to me later. Finally I left, with a promise I was not able to keep: I would be back soon.

Pequeño, after receiving me in his home, entertaining me along with his wife and children, addresses himself, through another Cuba, to getting me a job in a subsidiary of an important publisher in that country, with the intention that I would not return to Cuba.

My sister Mary, from Miami, promised to send money to support me, until I had gotten settled.

Freddy Ginebra offered that his Casa de Teatro would hire my partner, in her work as an actress, once again fulfilling his mission as a protector of Cubans.

Lilo Vilaplana called on the phone to offer me passage via Colombia.

Amir Valle, through chat, opened his arms to receive me in Germany.

I left that half-island, leaving behind, probably, my immediate tranquility; but I did not conceive, and I still can’t conceive, abandoning my country and leaving it in the grip of the Castro brothers’ dictatorship.

The only pain prison causes me if the suffering of these people from knowing I am a prisoner; because if the situation were reversed I would be making the same cries, demanding justice, that I hear today; because disgracefully, it is a characteristic of totalitarianism to impose force against those who disagree with their policies.

In any event, as incredible as it may seem, I am comply as a good Cuban, with what I believe to be reason and rights.

My thanks to all of you from this great Dominican land, and for those scattered around the world, who tried to protect me, but within me I had the dream of José Martí lighting my path.

Hugs, Ángel

Prison 1580.  July 2013

Translator’s note: This is another of the posts Ángel wrote from Prison 1580 before he was transferred to his current prison where he is being held incommunicado.