Open Letter from Angel Santiesteban to His Holiness Francisco / Angel
Posted on April 26, 2013
Havana, Cuba, April 3, 2013
"… justice is like a serpent, a viper, that never bites the boots,
it only bites the barefoot."
Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero
Archbishop of San Salvador, murdered in 1980.
Your Holiness Francisco, first of all I want to thank God, for your
devotion and faith, you who have been designated the first Pope, for
other merits, Latin American, for the pride of those born on this
continent; so it is somehow impossible not to consider you closer and
more earthly, for your own Latino people.
Holy Father, I confess that since the loss of my beloved Pope John Paul
II, my tie to Catholicism has dimmed, but You, despite the few days you
have sat in your humble papal chair, you have practiced that modesty
that elevates and exalts, which has already revolutionized the universal
Your Beatitude, I write from a prison in Cuba, where I am serving a
wrongful conviction for a crime that could not be proved, for opening a
critical blog from which I write on behalf of social justice, a penalty
that has the sole purpose of teaching me a lesson,although they have not
been able to silence my voice, but my heart will not let me cry in my
favor, I prefer, I need, I am urged to seek justice for Prisoners of
Conscience who suffer in Cuban jails.
Supreme Pontiff, the situation being experienced by our island is
already known and unacceptable in the twenty-first century, to
paraphrase our beloved Pope John Paul II, to not open itself to the
world, to not even open its blinds to plural national thinking, as
should correspond to any civilized nation in the world.
Messenger of Peace, we are prisoners because we overcome the fear; the
need to be heard made us take off the gag, so we have faced the
punishment of the dictatorship, which unfortunately holds to maintain
silence and its discipline, attacking with imprisonment, beatings and
the mysterious deaths of opposition leaders.
Your Grace, in this prison where I live with two brothers in the
struggle: Lamberto Hernández Planas and Pedro de la Caridad Alvarez
Pedroso, who have spent 22 years in prison, more than half of their
lives, without having committed acts of bloodshed, without having hurt a
human being; also suffering imprisonment are a married couple, Sonia
Garro Alfonso and her husband Ramon Alejandro Munoz, who have not harmed
anyone, only their ideas have been enough to keep them in jail without
cause or conviction; as well as Calixto Martinez, for his journalism.
But they are not unique; like them there are many throughout the
country's prison system.
Universal Pastor, my voice was one that opposed the last visit of Pope
Benedict XVI, because I felt that was a mockery of the Vatican, as the
Cuban government took advantage of his kindness and good intentions, and
every papal visit only adds a false recognition before humanity,
especially when Cuban representatives of the church that you represent
ignores the Cuban opposition as a political force.
Dear Pope, José Martí, the Cuban most universal, addressing a soldier
wrote on October 20, 1884: "A people is not founded, General, in the
same way that one commands a military camp," and the current governing
Nomenklatura Cuba accepts no position different from the militarized.
We ask you, as Vicar of Christ, that do not rub against the
manipulations of the Castro brothers, exercised for more than half a
century since the beginnings of their nefarious power in 1959. With
humility, we pray that you be elusive to their antichrist offerings. For
the Cuban people it is not enough that we have have the holy days
returned to us. We need freedom, "Which can not be anything other than
freedom to think differently," (Rosa Luxemburg), and that they accept
and respect once again the Universal Human Rights.
Bishop of Rome, I have the hope that your papal administration will
bring peace for Cubans. So that then, one Cuba united, without hatred or
pain, will give you the spontaneous welcome no Pope has received on this
Humbly I beg of you,
Ángel Santiesteban Prats
La Lima Prison
* This letter was written by Ángel on April 3 when he had not yet been
illegally and forcefully transferred to La Lima prison. It was just
delivered yesterday April 24 at the headquarters of the Nunciature in
Today, April 25, Angel continues in the strict regime prison in 1580.
The reason for his transfer was to prevent his being interviewed by the
Commission of National and International Journalists who visited the
center on April 9. This visit was one of many performances organized by
the Castro regime to deceive the world about what really happens in
their prisons, authentic concentration camps. Three weeks before the UN
Human Rights Commission meets in Geneva and submits a report on the
Castro government which will include aspects of prison policy, the
committee of journalists — without the least ethical principles —
counting on the complicit silence with all the human rights violations
committed by the dictatorship. The UN Human Rights Commission, based in
Geneva, now has in its hands the possibility to remedy such an affront
to the dignity committed by the journalists. In a few days we will know
if they will.
25 April 2013