“Because of his open opposition to the regime, Santiesteban has been the subject of continuous harassment and accusations,” says the New York-based foundation in its statement, which notes that, in 2012, he was sentenced to five years in prison for his opposition to the dictatorship of the Castros.
“The regime tried to hide him in a military hospital claiming a dermatological treatment, but his family and his lawyer said it was a ruse to deprive him of access to the Commission of National and International Journalists, which had permission to visit him in the prison where he was previously,” says the statement.
The award includes $5,000 in cash and a one-month residency at the Václav Havel Library in Prague. The Foundation announced that the award will be presented at an online gala on September 24.
The writer, who in 2016 won the Reinaldo Arenas de Narrativa prize for The Return of Mambrú, has been awarded for other titles such as The Children Nobody Wanted (Alejo Carpentier Prize 2001) or Blessed Are Those Who Mourn (Casa de las Américas Prize 2006). In 2009, he started the blog The Children Nobody Wanted. He is also co-writer of the film Plantados, about to be released, about the political prisoners of the 60s in Cuba.
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