Response to my Blog Readers / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on July 7, 2014
Messages come to my blog mail, some elegant with congratulations for “my
upright position” before the dictatorship; others, interested in my
health, like this one that I answer in which they ask questions because
they don’t understand why I’m in prison, then recognize that sometimes
there are contradictions. And of course, this happens so much that I
thought I needed to answer. With the most possible brevity, I’ll try to
answer many questions in one single answer: this post.
Everything that is sanctioned in Cuba with a maximum sentence of five
years is recognized as a “minimum severity” conviction. There are three
types of sentences: “maximum”, “medium” and “minimal severity”. As my
punishment was for five years, according to the present laws for
prisoners condemned for “minimal severity”, they had to place me in a
The prisoners of “prioritized” character (meaning the most dangerous,
condemned for murder, trafficking of people or drugs, economic crimes,
rape, pederasty, etc.) are always sent to prisons.
But those like myself with a sentence of “minimum security” and
furthermore, with a first offense, are transferred to a camp or a
settlement, which is the same thing but with the difference that the
second group contains fewer inmates. For example, if in a camp you can
have little more than 100 prisoners, in the settlements (like the one I
am in, in Lawton) they can only crowd together around some 20 inmates.
When they transferred me on April 9, 2013, from the camp of La Lima to
Prison 15-80, the truth was that they were trying to hide me from that
group of international journalists, and for that reason, unjustly, they
changed my penitentiary regimen from minimum severity to medium
severity. They held me there until August 2, the date when they brought
me to this place: a settlement.
Once you are in the camp you are confined for the first three months. As
indicated in the penal code, the prisoner has a right to a pass of 72
hours every 70 days. In the camp of La Lima, they transferred me at two
months, one month before what could have been my first pass.
After arriving at the present Lawton settlement, they gave me a pass at
the beginning of October. But in that release, according to the dictate
of my principles, I met with the dissidents Antonio Rodiles and Jose
Daniel Ferrer, among others, and I suppose that this was the reason, a
fair decision, that they took away my pass authorizations, although it’s
another one of their flagrant violations.
But they are so many and they have continued for so long, that it’s not
worth the bother to complain, and up to this date, they have denied me a
pass on five occasions.
Since the last year, exactly on July 4, 2013, the Petition for Review of
my case was presented to the Minister of Justice. There they archived
said petition for six months. Later they communicated that they did it
for lack of a paper that the lawyer did not send.
She returned again to present the Review, and after some months, they
answered that the court did not find similarity between the number of
case 444/12 and my name. My lawyer returned to meet with the
corresponding officials and showed them the papers that corroborated
that there was no mistake, and then they recognized it.
All the times that I called this department, they assured me that they
were doing what they could, and in their tone of voice, I didn’t suspect
pressure on the part of State Security.
But once they told me, almost one year later, that they found the file
in their offices; finally now the tone was abrupt and not friendly, and
the experience that I had (forcibly), of recognizing when someone is
afraid or pressured, made me intuit that this tone signaled the
subsequent proceeding with my case.
Knowing their methods, I dare say that now the political police reported
to this department and exposed the rules of the game. This is nothing
new: It’s always been them, the omnipresent and omnipotent State Security.
First, they were the ones who decided to start the accusations against
me. Later, they imposed a bond on me. After that, they sanctioned me
through a manipulated trial, and, finally, they sent me to prison as a
punishment for thinking differently. Now they are busy trying to detain me.
I don’t expect justice from that review. They, the judges, prosecutors
and the rest of the officials who are busy imposing the law, do not
govern themselves, just as no other institution of the country is
It’s not for pleasure that we live in a totalitarian regime. I only have
accepted doing all these negotiations using the existing official
channels to demonstrate clearly that I live in an inhuman and
all-powerful system, which mocks the legal and judicial norms
established internationally in order to truly defend the integrity of
I hope that the people who are interested in me feel that I have
answered their questions. However, I take the time to insist, always,
that the intentions of concern be honest. Thank you very much.
Source: Response to my Blog Readers / Angel Santiesteban | Translating