Angel Santiesteban Released “For Now” / 14ymedio

The writer, blogger and activist Angel Santiesteban. (Lilianne Ruiz)
The writer, blogger and activist Angel Santiesteban. (Lilianne Ruiz)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 15 June 2016 — The writer Angel Santiesteban was released on Tuesday night after 30 hours of detention and having been taken to three police stations where he received all sorts of warnings and threats.

Santiesteban told 14ymedio by phone that he was arrested around one in the afternoon on Monday, and released at eight at night on Tuesday. The writer was taken first to the police station at 21st and C Streets in Vedado, then to the one at Zapata and C, and finally to Vivac de Calabazar.

As he explained, the political police were very upset by the recent post in his blog titled “Assassins, Accomplices and Victims,” in which he called the president of Casa de las Americas, Roberto Fernandez Retamar, an assassin. The police said the blogger showed a serious lack of respect in speaking of the elderly poet in this way.

“As a member of what was then the Council of State,” Santiesteban explained, “Retamar signed the application for the death penalty of the three young men who had simply tried to take a boat to Florida. Now, when an anniversary of that horrible event came up, I recalled it publicly.”

According to Angel Santiesteban, the reason given for his arrest was a link to the crime of fraud on the Isle of Youth. “That could not be sustained because this happened in the year 2015 when I was in prison,” the writer said, almost laughing. In his view this was just an excuse for the police to pick him up and detain him.

During the interrogations, the writer says, an official told him, “You pretend you’ve called it quits but we know you’re up to no good.” Santiesteban said that he replied, “Yes, I am up to two novels and you’re not going to like anything about them.”