Declaration of Principles: We Who Are Born With No Horizon / Angel Santiesteban

Ángel Santiesteban at the door of his houseon election day 2008. The sign says: In this house we don't vote. We toss it out.

We were a generation they blindfolded at birth, telling us how we must think and postpone our dreams because, they told us, the light was blinding. Our mothers put up with injustice out of fear and to protect us because they knew that the worst was yet to come.

Then, at first, by necessity or intuition, we looked for the faint flashes that filtered through the edges of the bandages. And it was definitely beautiful. We arrived at the conviction that we would be happy blind. Until we tore off the bandages. Since then we can no longer live without the glare of the enlightened. The blog The Children Nobody Wanted, in particular, is an urgent space to share free thought, something unknown and forbidden in my country for several generations.

Since I began my journey with the blog, I felt the radiance of unknown freedom. And once demonstrated it is now a must, as essential as oxygen itself. Since then my spiritual life has multiplied, but the Political Police of my country, without the power to attain the ethereal and censor thought, take the body to pay for daring. And two months after starting the blog I was assaulted by three men who threatened me; “you’d better not become a counterrevolutonary,” with the result being a broken arm. This initial torture is known by the phrase, “Teaching Tools,” which have no purpose other than to frighten, terrify, and preview the suffering that future hours of existence hold. My email, assigned by the Ministry of Culture, was immediately deleted. I was prevented from publishing and participating in cultural events. Responding to my posts in official blogs were functionaries, journalists without decorum, opportunistic writers and critics, of course, those of little talent.

There is no way to make me give in

Then State Security understood that their pressure had not had the desired effect, which they hadn’t counted on and which, in some way, discredited them; so they devised the idea to manipulate an ex-partner, a Machiavellian invention, and they have created a series of complaints, without the slightest evidence tying me to the supposed fanciful events. Now I am being prosecuted with a petition that adds up to a total of 54 years in prison, the Prosecution has combined some and is asking for 15 years deprivation of liberty.

For over two years I wait impatiently, giving the Government, State Security, the National Revolutionary Police and the Prosecutor of the Republic time to reconsider that there is no way to make me give in and to silence my breath of free expression; despite feeling terrified by these embarrassing accusations.

Seven months after the start of the legal process, practically ignored by the investigators, on their recognizing that the investigations had no logical basis given personality and behavior of the slandered, the Directorate General of the Police took part, through an official who had to be present at the time of the interview, suspiciously, just after receiving an invitation to the Festival of the Word in Puerto Rico, I was forced to sign a 1,000 peso bond, which legally precluded my participation in this literary festival.

These Government Institutions, seeing my firm stance, despite their efforts and tortures — physical (the broken arm) and psychic — and after the publication of several posts about how they tried for years to recruit me as a member of State Security, decided on force, intensifying and speeding up the infamous process they maintained against my person, in their attempt to shut me up or make me pay for the audacity of rebelling against the silence they imposed.

Prevented from seeing my son

As the start of the psychological torture, they imposed a “restraining order” with regards to the “alleged victim” but the real objective has been to prevent me from having a relationship with my 12-year-old son, depriving me, for over two years, of all contact with him. In this sick way as well, my son has been kept away from his half-sister; the two of them, until this time, maintained an emotionally intense relationship. Since then not even a phone call has occurred.

On August 4, my lawyer, Atty. Lourdes Azua, was terrorized by the intent to involve her in the investigative process against me. Captain Amauri (semi-literate in terms education), in a disrespectful way, asked me leading questions in front of the attorney, where he put into question the professional ethics of the lawyer who had practiced her profession for over forty years. My representative immediately sent a letter to the Director of his Law Collective, and the National Justice Directorate, to make them aware of what could be the beginning of harassing her for doing her job.

After leaving the police station I was depressed for twenty hours, but finally, in the early morning hours I knocked on doors where hearts were open to me and they advised and helped me to regain the spirit of optimism I usually possess. I also considered that my fallen spirits would make the job of the executioner easier. It might even bring me bad luck.

Without the least intention of making a martyr of myself, I was sure that the mission would work and that I could complete it. I have two children. I wrote several books. I planted a tree in the Demajagua a few feet from the bell of the redeemer. I have conscientiously complied with God, the human race, the Masonic Institution to which I have belonged for almost 25 years. To continue would be to repeat myself, because my personal dreams do not amount to much save seeing my country with all the freedoms that belong to a citizen.

Despite the fear

So I want to assure you that as long as I have strength in my body, I will continue expressing my feelings through the written word, literature, and the blog The Children Nobody Wanted. I will not accept intimidation, acts of vandalism, or coarse processes that violate what is more precious: feelings and propriety. I will endure to the utmost so as not to give in and will continue expressing my ideas, opinions and positions of principle.

It doesn’t matter if they imprison me, abuse humiliate demoralize embarrass me, words that may be synonymous, but they have taught me the deeper meaning and etymology of each word and what the differences are. Despite the fear, the suffering my family and friends, I’m happy because I believe I am fulfilling the ideas of Marti, with his indispensable work and reaching for all the light promised by the Cuban Revolutionary Party that was, among others, founded by José Martí.

If the moment arrives I assure you that I will go proudly to prison. And there I will stay as long as my body lasts on a hunger strike. I do not desire to be remembered. I will do nothing to merit that. Others have already done that and they are invincible. With complete certainty I can say that others will come after me and with nobility they will know how to conquer the dreams of those of us no longer here, and I thank them in anticipation.

I also infinitely acknowledge the support of each and every one of the people who have answered the call of justice, because I would prefer not to exist, rather than accept continuing with the bandages on my eyes and the gag in my mouth, to paraphrase the Apostle, seeing a Master in my Country.

In Havana, the 17th day of August, 2011

In regard to me, if I could make one humble demand, it would be that God and Martí never abandon me.

In Havana, the 17th day of August, 2011