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