I Plead with the UNEAC’s Defence Committee / Angel Santiesteban

Prison Diary VIII. Shameful silence

I heard the terrible news that a Lady in White, Iris Perez Aguilera, was savagely beaten. Despite these recurrent allegations of abuse against these women, we will never be able to get used to it, nor have we with that we have seen.

These women from the opposition who struggle against the regime like true 21st Century Mambises* are disrespected and abused by those who defend the totalitarian system, particularly national security. As if the beating given to her wasn’t enough, she was then denied hospital access.

At the end of last year I also saw, with my own eyes, 15-year-old Berenice Héctor González, who was slashed all over her body and face simply for being related to a Lady in White. She was mercilessly attacked by the daughter of a police officer in the province of Cienfuegos for calling for respect for her aunt who is in opposition to the government.

As always, some pro-government bloggers have tried to spin the story that the criminal attack was the result of “blind passion”.

Recently, at the beginning of the year, Elsa Rubio Fernández, the daughter of another Woman in White, Mercedes Fernández Fonseca, was assassinated. Elsa did not receive police protection despite the five complaints lodged and the fact that the murderer shouted “that he was killing her and he he wouldn’t have to pay for it because her family were opponents”.

I sincerely appeal to the honesty of those eight women** who have raised their voices in defence of women so that they have the decency to show solidarity with these victims of real abuse.

Hopefully silence will not be the response of these intellectuals who must now demonstrate their own grandeur and ethics.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

La Lima prison. March 2013.

Translator’s notes:
*Mambises is a term used to refer to independent guerrillas who, during the 19th Century in Cuba and Philippines, fought in the independence wars for Cuba and the Philippines. 
** Ángel is referring to eight women, members of UNEAC (Cuban Writers and Artists Union), who signed a letter condemning him for violence against his ex-wife — the trumped up charge for which he was sent to prison.

Translated by Shane J. Cassidy

1 April 2013

Another Scandalous Political Maneuver in the Trial Against Angel Santiesteban / Angel Santiesteban

The so-called Cuban justice, which is nothing more than another of the pathetic military arms of the political police of the dynastic dictatorship which is clinging to power for more than half a century, has shown – once again, of course – the audacity and impunity with which it always tramples on the law and the rights of those on the island, believing that we would sit idly by, complicit in another violation of the law and ethics.

On the 11th of February, Ángel Santiesteban’s former defence lawyer, Miguel Iturria, presented before the Havana Court of Appeals a request for clarification on the sentence imposed on the 15th of January 2013, regarding the serious irregularities which occurred during the whole trial and sentencing. The request, which would have been responded to if Cuba was a state which adhered to the rule of law, never received an answer.

On July 4th, Ángel Santiesteban-Prats’ new lawyer, Amelia Rodríguez Cala, presented to the Judgement Appeals Review, complying with all arranged elements under existing law, demonstrating that the trial was based on offenses which were not proven because he did not commit them, the use of false testimony on the part of the prosecution, refusal to accept testimony showing the defendant’s innocence, scandalous links between the political police and judicial the bodies which violate the separation of powers, and judicial irregularities throughout the whole process. Nor, until today, has there been a response to that request for review of the trial and on August 28th, Angel marked 6 months in unjust incarceration.

A few weeks ago, the lawyer Muguel Iturria received the ruling in response to the request for clarification on the sentence which was made on the 11th of February. On the 8th of August the answer to his request was, as many feared, negative.

That they have announced this ruling 6 months after clarification was requested and that this announcement happens “coincidentally” at a time when a response to request of the lawyer Rodríguez Cala is expected, once more provides evidence and lays bare the scandalous justice of Castro, revealing that it only works for those who are driven by opportunism and political maneuvering, trying to outwit those who proceed according to law. This time they have done this with another blatant overbearing maneuver which doesn’t adhere to what is established in law, to avoid being told that justice does not answer the claims of citizens. However such maneuvers don’t fool anyone, it proves once again that in Cuba justice doesn’t exist, they lost another opportunity to rectify their violations of the law against Ángel and, at least for once, to do justice.

This unjust ruling adds to the lengthy record that teaches the world how in Cuba there is no rule of law, as they violate human rights and there is no separation of powers in the state.

Raúl Castro Ruz, the world is watching you: sooner rather than later, those who shall be accountable to justice shall be you and your minions.

The Editor

Translated by Shane J. Cassidy

9 September 2013

Angel Santiesteban-Prats on “The Night” on NTN24 / Angel Santiesteban

The programme ” The Night” on NTN24, exclusively revealed a letter [which can be read here, in English] from the dissident writer Ángel Santiesteban, who is currently serving a five-year prison sentence in Cuba.

The writer alleged that he had received “constant death threats” since he was incarcerated. Equally, the dissident defended his innocence through his writing and questioned the justice of the Castro brothers, Fidel and Raúl, on the island.

Translated by Shane J. Cassidy

10 October 2013

Latin America Witnesses the Repression in Cuba Thanks to Television / Angel Santiesteban

NTN24’s programme “The Night”, directed by Claudia Gurisarri and Jeferson Beltrán and hosted by Jason Calderón, has dedicated its 9th of October broadcast to Cuba and the terrible situation and the terrible repression its people are suffering from the Castro dictatorship. Far from seeing some improvement with false “reforms”, the regime wants to make the international community believe that it is leading the country towards openness; the only thing that they are really doing is an unparalleled multiplication of repression and violence against all peaceful opposition on the island.

“The Night”, on top of doing an excellent job denouncing the dictatorship of the Castro family, the repressive situation which has existed in Cuba and the violation of human rights on the island, has dedicated a privileged space in its programme for Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, who will soon have completed eight months incarcerated after a judicial farce with invented charges by the political police, using the mother of his son to place false accusations against him with the only objective to silence his critical voice against the regime, and therefore they intend to keep him imprisoned for five years.

But so clumsy and so thinly disguised are the crimes that it wasn’t sufficient for them to jail him for being innocent but to jail him for political crimes according to them, they offered him his freedom in exchange for renouncing his political position, becoming the first ordinary criminal to whom they offered the freedom in order for giving up his political activism. A strange way of understanding freedom which the dictator Castro Ruz has.

All our gratitude to Claudia Gurisatti, Jeferson Beltrán, Jason Calderón and the Cuban Lilo Vilaplana, tireless figther for the freedom of Cuba for the rights of their brothers and Friend  (with capital letters),

in the name of Ángel Santiesteban-Prats,

The Editor

Translated by Shane J. Cassidy

11 October 2013

Letter from Angel Santiesteban to NTN24 / Angel Santiesteban

Hello to the viewers, the team who works for “The Night Moves”, in particular to their presenter, greetings to the persistence of friends like the director and the writer Lilo Vilaplana and to Antonio Rodiles, who directs the cultural space and social project State of SATS.

Dear friends, this month marks eight months that I have been imprisoned, and my departure on this primetime programme with a continental reach.

I am not lying to you if I admit to you that I never could have believed that the dictatorship would be able to imprison me knowing that I’m innocent, not because there remains an ounce of sanity of justice in them but because they provoked a wave of protests, so that to expose the evidence of the prosecution and that of the defence, the political game behind the circus mounted against me is clear.

Of course, as a totalitarian regime they have made a show of force, they have once more shown what they are capable of doing to voices which oppose the dictatorship, especially if they are within the Cuban archipelago. I know that my life has been thrown into danger, the mysterious deaths of the opposition leaders exposes their crimes. I have received constant death threats since my arrival in prison, where they have assured me that I will not leave with my life. What also makes it difficult is that there are many eyes of solidarity watching me on an international level. They have also offered to give me liberty if I desist from my opposition ways, or if I change them they proposed my definite departure from the country. In both cases, I refused flatly.

At any rate, the worst will come if needs be, it was a path I took with full conscience and for the necessity of my soul, I took it knowing the risks, because even before opening the blog, I, an intellectual and exemplary citizen to society thus far, many family and friends predicted jail or death for me.

Of course, I don’t want to be a martyr, my dream is to continue being a writer and be able to tell what is happening in my country the hopes and disappointments of my contemporaries. They know that if this doesn’t come to pass, I prefer it, since what I could not tolerate is to continue living in my country under the slavery of one of the most intelligent and ferocious dictatorships which has existed on the face of the earth.

When all will be revealed, many will be ashamed of having supported it, justifying that they did not know.

To you all, my eternal gratitude, long live Cuba and may it be free!

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton prison settlement. October 2013

Translated by Shane J. Cassidy

10 October 2013