Prison Diary XVIII: Those Who Live Off The Government / Angel Santiesteban

A few days ago it was suggested to me in a letter that someday, in another government of course, I could be Minister of Culture, which I doubt because I think politics is not my thing. But if being a politician is saying what you think and going against the interests of the current president, then I am a politician, or a romantic risking that I don’t get tired of suffering until the coming of the happiness to this country that it has deserved for so many years.

In this future government I don’t doubt that there will be the same people who now support the dictatorship.

Unfortunately they are corks*, intellectuals without honor, allying themselves for their personal benefit to communism and fascism.

We see them there, and they, as usual, extend a greeting to me that if I escape they will label me spiteful and say that I cannot adjust to the new national force for a better country.

Those of us who were born to suffer, those of us who do not accept gifts from wherever they come, those of us who think first of Martí, we never enter into these political alliances.

For me, a president is nothing more than a good administrator, and if we get one, then we will see our economy and our culture flourish. What more can we ask for? With that I will be deeply happy. I want a participatory democracy, a country without a secret police that persecutes the opposition and a culture that is not censored for expressing ideas contrary to the State.

In short, I want a free country and that’s why I wake up every morning in this prison completely sure that José Martí’s dream is coming. I am happy in the place that I am. I am at the side of the suffered with Bishop Espada, Father Jos” Agustín Caballero and Félix Varela; I am where I am because I am continuing along the path laid for us by Martí, Céspedes, Agramonte, Maceo. And accompanying me on this path are hundreds of Cubans like Antonio Rodiles, Jose Daniel Ferrer, Guillermo Fariñas, Berta Soler, Hector Maseda, Angel Moya, Cuesta Morúa, Antunez, Manzano and Palacio, among many, who risk their lives and those of their families to achieve our longed for freedom, not to mention the community of bloggers and independent journalists.

I am going to be this: a citizen in the service of good causes, and I’ll be with the rest of the noble and honest intellectuals creating our works which is the best omen.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats
Prison 1580. May 2013

*Translator’s note: “Corks” in the sense that they keep bobbing to the surface.

17 May 2013