To Redress a Wrong / Luis Felipe Rojas

Rafael Alcides

A couple of weeks ago my friend, the poet Rafael Alcides, published a text… as a way to air the case of Ángel Santiesteban Prats. I responded to him immediately, “You are wrong, Master…”  Alcides sent me this text that I want to share with you about the opportunistic response of eight Cuban writers, affiliated with UNEAC (Writers and Artists Union of Cuba), on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Here is the complete text:

Dear Luis Felipe: Alcides gave me this charge, but there is no visible email address for you to receive the letter, so I leave it here. In my blog today I posted about Angel. Hugs, Regina (Coyula)

Havana, 2 March 2013

From Rafael Alcides / To Luis Felipe Rojas

My Friend Luis Felipe:

Regarding your calling me “teacher” in replying to my opinions about the recently massacred Ángel Santiesteban, I will answer as Nicolás Guillén would with his usual mischievousness: “The teacher, in fact, will be you.” And as for the reply itself, it has left me confused. Either I didn’t know how to express myself or you read me with too much haste. Let’s see.

I said that from the beginning this is not a political case, adding slyly an “I’ve heard” that could not fail to be considered, and continuing on to demonstrate that it is, in fact, a political case, but to prove it without editorializing, in conformance with the method of poets from time immemorial: to leave this I said without saying it explicitly, so that it doesn’t take hold without being read at least once more, what Hemingway used to define with the seriousness of someone who was claiming the rights of discovery, “Iceberg theory.”

But truthfully, I talk about disagreements in the life a couple magnified to the extreme of sentencing our friend and the excellent writer Ángel Santiesteban to five years in prison, in its origin situations typical of that long list of things and cases of the home that nurtured the jokes of our grandparents, and then I stop to consider what the government could do now to back off.

To shoot blanks, by mistake, at the execution or for reasons of state usually happens with later governments, those that come after the fallen government, never from the government that commits the executions. Conscious of this important lesson in history, I mention possible solutions for the government, withdrawals where we both win. We get our Angel back, and the government, whatever it’s going to do, reserves for itself the romantic role of knight in shining armor who comes out to defend the honor of the lady.

You have to play the hand you were dealt, Luis Felipe. Unfortunately, Angel’s case is much more delicate than that of the 75 from the Black Spring early in the century. Then it was all very clear, then the accuser was the government; this time, unfortunately — I insist, unfortunately — the accuser is Angel’s ex-wife, the mother of his son — a son who is now fifteen years old — and this woman, this mother lied, yes, that woman, manipulated from the beginning or not, sought out false witnesses, simulated the marks of a beating on her face with leaves from a guao tree, she spoke of death threats, arson, finally, my friend Luis Felipe, this woman so in love that she would rather see her ex-husband burning at the stake than with another woman,set the table for these people and they, of course, eager, greedy, as is usual in these cases that fall out of the sky when least expected, quickly sat down to eat.

These are the facts. Not even God could change them move.  To move heaven and earth to get Angel our is what we can do now, going to talk to God if necessary (and I believe it is), continuing to insist, of course, each in his own language, that our friend is innocent, that the case was fabricated, but knowing that as long as the ex-wife doesn’t retract, they, the jailers, will be the good guys and Angel will be the bad guy. That’s the situation.

Finally, Luis Felipe, I do not usually discuss with the reader, I respect your turn, but you are not a reader, to come out in defense of Angel with the passion with which you replied to me, makes you a part of me, since I too am Angel, in this moment when we are all trying to get Angel out of prison we are Angel, so I’m explaining to you without admitting that yes, perhaps, I didn’t make myself clear to you.

For your exception and unique character this is first, a private letter, but also first, we are talking about a tribute to your person, so you are authorized to publish it in your blog or wherever you think it would be appropriate, that is, useful to Angel.

I am among those who think that honest men do not have one discourse for coming and another for going. They have one, in my case, it now remains the discourse you replied to yesterday when I only showed the tips of the icy crests in the immensity of the sea.

I embrace you, and thank you again for wanting to do for Angel what you are doing.

Rafael Alcides

16 March 2013