Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Amidst Rumors and Disinformation, Angel Santiesteban Continues Missing

Amidst Rumors and Disinformation, Angel Santiesteban Continues Missing
Posted on August 18, 2014

{*Translator's Note: Angel disappeared from prison on July 21, 2014. As
of today he has not been heard from for 29 days.}

Five days* have passed now since the disappearance of the writer Angel
Santiesteban in Havana, barely hours after he wrote a post from Lawton
prison, in which he announced to the world that there were strong rumors
that the Regime's prison authorities would transfer him to a higher
security prison.

After his disappearance from said prison last July 21, without the Cuban
authorities informing family members of anything, another rumor started
circulating: supposedly, Angel Santiesteban had escaped. In a telephone
call that the writer's son, Eduardo Angel Santiesteban, made to the
prison, worried at not knowing anything about his father, a minor
official confirmed the rumor. "I don't know if they did it to scare me,
to make me more nervous than I am," said the 16-year-old, on the
Columbian television program, Night, Channel NTN24. In conversations
with family and friends he has said that he feels this lie by the
regime's prison officials is a bad sign.

Maria de los Angeles Santiesteban Prats said the same thing, from Miami:
"The telephone harassment I'm suffering since my brother disappeared in
Cuba, and other information we have obtained and that can't now be
revealed in order to protect some people on the island and in exile,
make me think that this is another maneuver of the dictatorship:
Spreading this rumor about my brother's escape serves only to deflect
attention from something big they are doing to him and that they don't
want known." In a conversation with the NeoClub Press agency, she
affirmed that "They are blackmailing me; last night, for example, I
received an anonymous call coming from Japan. They call me and tell me
that it's better that I shut up, that I'm going to end up losing."

A simple analysis of the facts preceding Santiesteban's disappearance is
enough to confirm the family's suspicions.

After many months without responding to the Request for Review of the
judgment against Angel, undertaken by the defense attorney last year,
the Cuban judicial authorities (as they have now demonstrated in this
case, manipulated by the Cuban political police) received a hard blow
which totally undid the judicial farce they prepared to condemn the
lauded Cuban writer to five years for a supposed crime of domestic
violence. One of the principal prosecution witnesses, the writer's own
son, Eduardo Angel Santiesteban, granted an interview to Television
Marti, in which he explained that being a minor he was forced and
manipulated by his mother – Kenia Diley Rodriguez – at the urging of
Castro's State Security, forcing him through psychologists and other
specialists, to declare against his father.

In this interview, and in a later one on the television program Colombia
Night, he confessed that he never saw anything like what his mother said
Angel did, and that the political police took advantage of "amorous"
problems between his parents, inciting Kenia Diley Rodriguez to
collaborate in a plot to punish Angel's dissident stance and the
international denunciations that he made in his blog, The Children
Nobody Wanted. This evidence, which exposed the dirty strategy of State
Security, makes it logical to think that the regime would want to punish
the writer and his family with this disappearance. It's not an isolated
fact, since every Cuban dissident who has been incarcerated can tell
similar stories.

Another detail that casts doubt about the rumor of flight is the same
post the writer sent from prison, hours before his disappearance, in
which he made known that one of the possible reasons of his transfer was
the fact that two high government officials, condemned for corruption,
would be sent to Lawton prison, where he was located. Logic imposes
itself: It was necessary to transfer Angel to avoid his making contact
with these officials and thereby getting first-hand information about
the corruption in high spheres of the island's government.

A third event to take into account would be the constant threats that
Angel received in the last months to stop writing denunciations in his
blog. In spite of these threats, in spite of the fact that he had to
hide in order to write and look for different ways of eluding the
vigilance to get his writing out of prison, they didn't manage to shut
him up; so that, in communication with his friends and family, he had
shown his suspicion that they would transfer him to a higher security
prison (thereby violating the established legal procedure for cases with
his sanction), if only to avoid his continued denunciation of the most
sinister face of a dictatorship that pretends to show itself to the
world as a truly human system.

Finally, as Angel Santiesteban's international prestige has grown, the
repressive forces of the regime have become more rabid and impotent. Its
murderous blindness doesn't permit them to digest the fact that
important intellectual and international human rights institutions have
their eyes on the writer, unjustly imprisoned on the island; that this
world recognition has allowed him to receive the Jovenaje 2014 award,
which is granted every year for the work and life of an important Cuban
intellectual, and that Reporters Without Borders has included him on the
list of the world's 100 Information Heroes.

"Something big has happened and they are hiding it," said Maria de los
Angeles, Angel's sister, in several interviews these last days. "I
demand that they show my brother alive and well, because he never has
had the intention of escaping."

We have mentioned it many times but it's good to remember it again: The
little time he has been in prison, Angel was visited by agents of State
Security to offer him his freedom in exchange for abandoning his
antagonistic position and testifying about this compromise in a video.
After roundly refusing, they told him he should look for a friendly
embassy to arrange his deportation, something Angel also roundly
refused. It's also good to remember again how many times they threatened
him with death, in prison or before.

Obviously they don't make such proposals to a simple "home invader"; if
anyone knows something about home invasions it's the regime; it's a
daily practice with which they try to intimidate the valiant and
peaceful opposition. And they know about maltreating women, which we can
add to everything the world knows and consents to with its complicit
silence. The Castro regime takes the prize for its duplicitous
discourse, now charging Mariela Castro to "sell" the image of an open
government that respects gender diversity. It's enough to see the brutal
images of aggression against the Ladies in White, to know their
testimonies, along with that of other dissident women and LGBT activists
who don't conform to the designs of the dictatorship, to know how much
falsity there is in that Castrista discourse.

Angel has spent five days* in an unknown location, and WE DEMAND HIS
justice be done, and that after the Revision of the judgment, with all
its procedural guarantees, he be freed because HE IS INNOCENT.

RAUL CASTRO is absolutely responsible for what can happen to Angel, and
do. The international community is witness to all this horror happening
to Angel, and NOW THERE IS NO PLACE FOR IMPUNITY. The same goes for his

The Editor

Maria de los Angeles Santiesteban, in the name of the whole family

Amir Valle

Lilo Vilaplana

Translated by Regina Anavy, August 18, 2014
26 July 2014

Source: Amidst Rumors and Disinformation, Angel Santiesteban Continues
Missing | Translating Cuba -

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