Prison Diary XXXVI: Proposal for Freedom for Angel Santiesteban

A few days after Angel completed 4 months in prison for crimes he didn’t commit, and having been tried in a gross travesty where they found him “guilty” — for the size and slant of his handwriting — he was visited by some State Security agents who offered him his freedom in exchange for renouncing his political position. The blackmail included that they would film a video, declaring that it wouldn’t see the light of day unless he failed in his promise to abandon the opposition. Needless to say, Angel flatly rejected this “very generous” offer.

This offer didn’t surprise us like it had surprised Angel, because we live in the free world and we have access to information that is denied to Cubans in general and to prisoners in particular.

When Angel received these “friendly” agents, which was only 17 days ago, he didn’t know that we had published his full court file on his blog: “The State Security Case Against Angel Santiesteban-Prats.” The evidence that all the charges had been invented in order to lock him up and silence him, is already available on the Internet. Just now that we have made available to the entire world the file that shows how in the dictatorial Castro clan Justice is a subsidiary of political power, and that Angel is one of the more than 100 political prisoners who inhabit the Castro regimes’ concentration camps.

Regarding the offer they made to Angel, they wouldn’t have made it if they didn’t assume from their own mouths what the world already knows: that Angel is innocent. How many violent attackers of homes have been offered release in exchange for renouncing their political position?

But that’s not all. Angel having rejected the proposal, they have said openly that they’re looking for a diplomat to give him a visa to leave the country. Having made this suggestion they have demonstrated that Angel is an uncomfortable element for them because he has his own clear ideas, because he seeks liberty and justice for his country, because he says things head on, and because he doesn’t care if he loses his personal privileges in order to defend his ideals. Angels has shown them from the beginning of this shameful process of search and seizure, that dignity is not negotiable, and so as not to let himself be blackmailed during the process, much less he will not have the double mission of denouncing the regime’s abuses from within the bowels of evil.

It’s not blackmailing as they can’t get anything out of people with solid principles. On the contrary. If they really want to offer freedom to Angel they can act accordingly: subject him to a fair trial and with all the guarantees they denied him when they locked him up. With fair trial and with all guarantees he can’t help but be absolved, and with the proposition they’ve made, they’ve corroborated — for those who still couldn’t see it — that Angel is innocent.

Angel’s lawyer, Ms. Amelia Rodriguez Cala, has already filed with the Ministry of Justice, on July 4, 2013, with receipt #1778,  the request for a Review of the trial. We have filed the corresponding complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and we have asked precautionary measures following the latest death threat Angel received in prison from a jailer.

The only thing left to do is for the Cuban government to accede to the request for a retrial and to release Angel immediately.

Angel is a great writer, recognized internationally, and has a great deal to say. His literary career and his life circumstances have focused the eyes of the free world.  The longer Angel is locked up for daring to express himself freely, the more it proves to the world that freedom does not exist in Cuba and that no one is deceived by the cosmetic “reforms” they are trying to sell to those who buy.

The Cuban prison system was put to the test in Geneva, and it came out pretty badly, receiving 292 recommendations for implementation. In Istanbul, Cuba came out even worse: the Worldwide Human Rights Movement (FIDH) declared Cuba to be a country that commits violations of each and every one of the civil and political rights in Latin America. The irregularities in the case of Angel also show that the judicial system is as perverse as the penitentiary.

We demand again that Angel receive a fair trial and that he be released immediately with guarantees of his physical and moral integrity.

We hold Raul Castro Ruz responsible for everything that happens to Angel, and reiterate our demand which we extend to each and every one of the political prisoners who flood the Cuban prisons.

The family and friends of Angel Santiesteban-Prats

 State Security Visits Me

by Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Two State Security agents visited me on July 4. After identifying themselves and asking how I was doing, I responded I was fine, with more strength to face them than when I entered the prison, and they offered to release me immediately in exchange for allowing them to film a video of me renouncing my political position. A video that would not see the light of day unless I went back on my word and re-joined the opposition.

I’m not going to deny that they surprised me, I never thought I’d hear such an offer.  It can only come from the cowardice they carry within themselves.

“I don’t want this type of freedom,” I responded. They looked at me without surprise, as if they expected this answer or as if they were automatons.

“Then,” one started, “look among your diplomatic friends for a way they can give you a visa to get out of the country. “Negative,” I started to answer. “I’ll leave on the same plane when Fidel and Raul Castro go with me.”

They were annoyed, whenever I mentioned the dictators, on the various visits they showed they were offended. It seems that in the script they’re playing out, there is that indication. Perhaps they do it so that one of the others, in his report, will describe the annoyance of his seconds.

“Then make yourself comfortable, you’re on a long journey,” says another. Shrugging his shoulders.

“For me, it’s an honor,” I tell them, “to be imprisoned by this regime. I didn’t get off the planes that took me to international fairs to desert. I rather be a prisoner, to your shame, than give up and continue to live under the totalitarian regime.”

“Well you’re going to be pleased,” he said, sarcastically.

“I’m grateful.”

We parted.

While they drove me to my barracks, I witnessed some guards beating a prisoner who was handcuffed in the “Shakira” position. I shouted out them in protest, that they were cowards, I shouted, “Down with the dictatorship!” to make the two interrogators turn and look at what they were defending. Fortunately, they stopped beating the prisoner, and then I saw it was an older gentleman who was crying from the pain. They really tightened my handcuffs to shut me up, and pushed me to hurry my return.

To top it off, they then had to listen to the officials who attended the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, which, like the childish people they are, repeated the silliness that the dictators write to try to fool international public opinion. Those who lie for the government do not allow Rights, nor do they allow us to be treated as humans.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, Prison 1580

16 July 2013