Reasons to Live / Angel Santiesteban

My daughter, Daniela, is turning 17 and has written me a letter yearning for my return, saying that this would be the best present for her — but at the same time, she reaffirms her support and respect for my way of thinking and the necessity to make it public, and to go to battle for those rights. Her words are a caress on my face, a welcome breeze that soothes my wrinkles and tribulations, a force that rises up my chest and embraces me. “Papá, you are always with me, you are my pride, I speak to everyone of you, never was I ashamed of the situation. I carry you always in my heart, I swear, through everything and at every moment.”

As for my son, Eduardo, he also offers me his support. This, despite maternal pressure and influence from those who love him yet succumb to their own political cowardice, and surrender before the political police; even when, in silence, they think the same way I do and admire me — and expressed as much in the dedications of books that I guard jealously, in the event that some day, history might understand them.

My children wait for me because they know that I belong to them, and they need me — and also because I am a friend of both of them, and we discuss all human issues. Yet they also understand my need to be an intellectual true to his time and the sacrifice that I savor like honey in my mouth.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

December, 2014. Jaimanitas Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana.

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

29 December 2014