The Solitude of the Desert
The Solitude of the Desert / Angel Santiesteban
Angel Santiesteban, Translator: Unstated
Translator's note: This blog post does NOT relate to Angel's most recent
arrest this week. It relates to a series of criminal charges the regime
fabricated against him in order to be able to imprison him as a
"criminal" rather than as a "political prisoner/prisoner of conscience"
for his writings.
Last Monday they finally decided to open my case to public view after
three years of continuous torture and false investigations, after the
prosecution withdrew more than five charges that came with the
exorbitant sum of 54 years in prison — which with still other charges
added another thirty years, so the total would be close to ninety years
of imprisonment for me — but some powerful hand decided dismiss them,
because they understood that they had not managed to make me afraid and
make me quit my blog: The Children Nobody Wanted, and also because
international opinion made them look ridiculous.
The trial was held in the special chamber of the Tribunal in the
neighborhood of Vibora (not coincidentally the name of the reptile
"viper"), for "known counterrevolutionaries"; there they also tried
Sebastian, the Spaniard who served several years unjustly; the 75
prisoners of the Black Spring, also innocent; and, recently, the U.S.
contractor Alan Gross who is serving an unjust prison in Cuba.
When we arrived at the court the members of "State Security" were
already assembled on the perimeter, in my honor, a peculiar deployment
in the style of totalitarian regimes. There were official police cars
parked there and some covert interceptions in surrounding the entire
area. They also had at the ready the famous paramilitary mobs, the
supposed "enraged people" who throw themselves on the Ladies in White
and the rest of the opposition, which, according to the official
version, "come spontaneously to undertake acts of repudiation," who
looked at us coldly, full of hatred, like the hounds of the ranchers,
eager to jump on the escaped slave at an order from the master.
As expected, the prosecution presented no plausible or forceful
evidence, merely expounding with hollow words, lacking the slightest
credibility. The laughable part was when the expert, Lieutenant Colonel,
said that, based on calligraphic tests, I was guilty, because of the
idiotic detail of the size and angle of my writing. My lawyer asked if
the expert if this was a hypothesis, an evaluation; what the officer
said was he was 100% sure that I was guilty and that there was no margin
That was the "evidence" presented by the prosecution, and, for that
reason, the request remained for six years in prison. That is: I will be
found guilty only of something as vague and imprecise as the size and
tilt my handwriting? I think I'll be the first writer accused in the
history of mankind for writing with "some" tilt, and drawing my letters
in a very suspicious size.
However, by the Defense presented a variety of witnesses who claimed my
innocence regarding the false charges brought against me. The defense
showed, in addition to the lack of knowledge of the literature in the
expert, errors in structure, form and fact in the accusations and
exposed false prosecution strategies, and its failed attempt to try to
trap an innocent person who had convincingly more than demonstrated his
innocence regarding the charges against him. The defense also mentioned
a number of authors that scientifically demonstrate that calligraphic
proofs are not an exact science, and that their results can not be used
as "unequivocal" evidence, due to the wide margin of error that exists
in every evaluation.
According to friends who were present at the hearing, some of them
lawyers, former judges and former prosecutors, they said it was a shame
that the prosecution presented such an obvious farce, and that, surely,
there was no doubt that it had been shown that the charges brought
against me had no seriousness. But some assured me that, before starting
the trial the decision was already determined, that the verdict is not
decided by the judges when there exists, as in my case, a political
criterion to decide my innocence or not.
Also attending was a representative the "Union of Writers and Artists of
Cuba" (UNEAC), and the legal entity representing that institution, who
remained at the trial, and said that, from his point of view, they
should, without any doubt, dictate my acquittal.
Finally it finished with the conclusions for sentencing, which the Judge
would dictate in the coming days, but not before warning me that if I
did not concur with the opinion, I would have ten days to appeal.
I insisted, as an innocent person, that I would not accept even a five
peso fine, and that I would serve any time in prison to which I was
sentenced, from the first day on hunger strike.
Upon leaving the court, one of the agents of "State Security" reported
by phone that they did not need to send anyone, that what they expected
did not happen, that everything was in order and in tranquility, and no
"indisciplines" had been committed.
I did not give them the pleasure of abusing those who wished to seek
justice for me, and showing their disagreement with government abuses to
the opponents of the regime. They were expecting some "indiscipline" as
an excuse to beat us. Anyway they saw us marching and their eyes stabbed
us in the back.
Now come the hours of waiting for the sentence, that will be rendered
against the decision of an honest Cuban to inform the world, through his
blog, of the abuses committed by the Cuban regime.
November 2 2012