Thursday, July 21, 2011

Testimony: The Failed Attempts to Make Me an Agent – II / Angel Santiesteban

Testimony: The Failed Attempts to Make Me an Agent – II / Angel Santiesteban
Angel Santiesteban, Translator: Unstated

After two months of hiding in the neighborhood of Güinera, I reappeared
in my neighborhood. Everything seemed calm. The good thing was that I
had taken advantage of the time to read and create. And I thought I
could resume my life.

When I least expected it, they raided my house and arrested me once
again. As soon as I arrived at their headquarters, they assured me that
I would now spend there as punishment the same length of time that I
hadn't shown them my face. And that is exactly what happened. They kept
me in those cells of intense disciplinary rigor for the 60 days that I
had remained hidden. There, also, I undertook a process of creation
which was my salvation.

In that prison I wrote a story in my memory. I would say one phrase out
loud, and then add another word and began to repeat it from the
beginning, and so, continually, hundreds of words beginning to be a long
story that, in fact, I published. I just remember my cell mates looking
at me with fear, as if I was a crazy man who might hurt them. There was
one moment when one of them knelt to beg me to shut up, they were
tormented, I wasn't letting them think or sleep. I think they also
learned the story.

On the 56th day a certain Germán came to see me, he was one of the state
security agents I had always seen at literary events, especially at the
activities of the Casa de las Americas. He was accompanied by two
others, and when they took me to the office they were seated on the
sofa. I had barely entered and looked at them, when my pants fell down,
keeping in mind that I wasn't wearing underwear, and they looked
offended. The Germán guy told me that he wasn't going to get into it
with me and assured me that, despite everything, he was a young

I really had to hold myself back, in light of my physical weakness, from
my desire to come to blows with them, feeling an immense need to give
rein to my anger. Germán assured me that he would work it out soon, but
not to forget to "cooperate" with the officials.

At the end of 60 days I had become so thin that when I went to see my
mother-in-law, who had known me for ten years, she couldn't recognize
me. When I talked I started to cry, and the feeling came over me of
being in the state of calamity.

I had barely entered the apartment when, without even drinking a glass
of cold water, I sat in front of the computer and began to write the
text I had memorized. In those days of imprisonment my greatest fear was
that I would forget the story.

Then I saved it, and on seeing it printed I felt like the sun had come
out for the first time since my arrest; I believe I smiled because I
understood that I had played a trick on them. If they thought they could
keep me from writing, from creating, they had not managed to do so.

And of course, even more than before, I was reluctant to cooperate.

July 20 2011

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