In a visit to France I was told I was a terrible Cuban because I was abstinent, didn’t smoke, didn’t dance at all, I didn’t even drink coffee, and I only eat fruits. Since then I have assumed it would be more difficult for me to understand others.
A few months ago I wrote a post in which it could be understood that I justified those who are taken as prisoners, because I explained that, according to them, the life of liberty was extremely difficult, and well, in their homes they had to confront the stark reality, and in some commentaries, or perhaps in only one, I commented, with every right, that no crime has a justification, which I reaffirm, of course. This would entail a sanction against Robin Hood, who committed misdeeds, stole from the rich to give to the poor.
Incidentally, none of the prisoners who are in prison with me have robbed particular houses, perhaps because of the poor socioeconomic status in the society, because the majority live with them daily, and the new rich live in protected areas. Neither have they robbed specific businesses, in Cuba there are none, or the few snack bars that exist are of very low income, and those prosperous businesses were also located in zones with major surveillance.
The majority of the inmates who have robbed, like to assert that they have stolen nothing from the people, only the state, because they simply feel scammed because in return for their intelligence or physical strength they receive nothing, the wages are barely enough to eat.
And don’t be deceived, here there are those with a low level of education, but the majority have degrees in economics and they even have PhDs. There are also engineers, doctors, and other diverse professionals, decent people, Catholics and Christians, who have also committed a crime.
When you investigate for what reason, they tell you they studied a minimum of five years in the university and are not even able to afford sneakers for their kids to go to school. It is humiliating, one tells me, “I have to wait for my wife’s brother to remember his nephews and send them some consignments.” My eyes opened upon realizing the personal shame. “My father in law,” he continued, “when he was in Cuba, would make fun of me for studying late at night until dawn, while he engaged in illegal negotiations, assuring me that I was wasting my time. What is worse? He was right.”
Here they meet severe penalties for transgressing and selling some concrete mixture for construction. Or the economist who accepts twelve dollars as a Christmas present for his good work throughout the year, or the purchaser, who once in a foreign country, without affecting the company for which he worked, he received a secret commission that is not read on paper, and fulfilled his task, perhaps even buying the product in question at the best price ever. Or the food grocers who took products from the black bag like everyone else.
The King of the Fields
There is an official commercial network in Cuba that sells only what is not found in the parallel commercial market of resellers. When they are offered a job position, before asking about the salary, Cubans determine what is being produced and if it is easy to evade work. That is how most Cubans live.
The professors and doctors sell their friendliness, nurses sell how to “resolve” things, that is get them done, or private tutoring that cost 1 CUC a class. No father earns that amount, 25 pesos is all the money for one day, but if they don’t pay it, it is possible that their kids will pass the grade level with very poor school grades.
One would have to ask if stealing for food is a crime. If it is more decorous for families in the island to live off of the sweat of family members abroad. And if stealing from the state is not similar to stealing from the king of the fields.
Angel Santiesteban – Prats.
Prison settlement of Lawton. May 2014.
Please sign the petition so that Amnesty International will declare Angel Santiesteban a political prisoner.
Translated by: Bianca Martinez
12 July 2014