I’m Happy / Angel Santiesteban

Havana, December 30, 2014

Dear Internet users, bloggers, colleagues, friends and Cubans scattered around the world:

Writing you is always an adventure. The constant surveillance is relentless, but perhaps this deepens the desire for communication with the outside and to do so means an unmistakable flavor. After the tensions decrease, and knowing it all came out well, I received the prize for mocking the dictatorship. As a writer, I would be capable of describing my own firing squad, and I would enjoy it, but — in addition to enjoying it — it’s a beautiful obligation that arises from the depths of the being.

I have allies — for now I can only name the closest — some wild cats who don’t allow anyone but me to approach them, to them I have dedicated great love. Slowly they came to accept me as I gained their confidence. They stay close to me, and surround me while I write, I hear their purring, admire the plan to the youngest and the tenderness of their mothers who wash them and love them. When someone barely approaches, the warn me, transmitting the possibility of danger, so I hide what I’m writing.

Photo by George Logan digitally retouched by Tony Swinney

Before, there were twelve, then it fell to nine. The guards are annoyed by the fidelity they show and the discourteous way they almost scare the guards, poking their uniforms. Maybe they’re waiting to go to the coast to look for the remains abandoned by the fishermen on the shore and executed there, because now I have only two — shut in the hole from where they emerge — staying inside the walls that rob me of my freedom. For now these cats are small, they can’t release them. Irony of life, but they must be thankful for their lives in prison.

I wanted to share with you this daily passage of my you so you can imagine how happy I am when I feed and caress them. I protect and defend them like my children, friends, compatriots and dreams of freedom, which — after almost two years of imprisonment — have grown in necessary intensity, in the oxygenation of existence.

In my own way, I’m happy because I’m in a place of the punished for thinking differently, for the height and slant of my handwriting* being incompatible with the totalitarian regime, to my honor.

Thanks to every one who has shouted for the freedom of Cuba, including me or not, because achieving the end of the Castro family dynasty I’m sorry is above me, and all those who dedicate their efforts have my respect and admiration and are my comrades in arms.

May you all have a prosperous 2015, and may our mutual aspirations for a democracy illuminate our archipelago.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

December 2014. Jaimanitas Coastguard Prison Unit, Havana

*Translator’s note: A “handwriting expert” testified at Angel’s trial that the excessive height and slant of the letters in his handwriting, are proof that he was guilty.