Friday, March 29, 2013

Prison Diary VI. The Inside View of the Trial

Prison Diary VI. The Inside View of the Trial / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on March 28, 2013

Some friends have asked me not to continue responding to the letters and
posts of those who have sought a few minutes of fame at my expense,
which, for the most part, are blogs that join the fray publicly for the
first time despite the efforts put into them; others, are read only by
the official Nomenklatura and written by people who have never been
important except to their families, I suppose, and who for the first
time, and also possibly for the last, received some ephemeral public
attention in the virtual world, which encouraged — with luck! — their
irrelevant and dull lives.

I'm sure the suggestion of these friends is reasonable, in fact, every
time that I draft the answers I understand them, but I am an extrovert
and I need to be very timely especially with those who manipulate their
letters to confuse and, thanks to the high level of ambiguity
consciously used, to distort the reality of the facts confusing their

This occurred, for example, with the witness heard or referenced used by
the prosecution against me. That witness mentions another woman, my
friend, whose name he made public without consulting her or asking
permission, and if that is not enough he put words she never said into
her mouth. Both my friend and her husband, who was with her at the times
referred to by the prosecution's witness, have expressed feeling very
offended by his lack of ethics and a high level of deceit.

The conversation I had with this friend of mine went through my cell
phone and if I had said a single word that betrayed my guilt, that word
now would be evidence that the prosecution filed against me as the
investigator reviewed all my calls and my emails.

I can only repeat endlessly until my last breath — and this is what I
have been saying in every answer I provide — I demand hard evidence to
sustain the conviction that has been imposed on me; evidence other than
the word of a manipulated person, a friend of the accuser, who repeats
what she was told; proofs that are not those "contributed" by a
Lieutenant Colonel calligrapher who swore, violating all the legal and
scientific conventions on the legal value of a handwriting expert, that
my "slanted handwriting" is proof of my guilt.

These proofs were exposed by a video made of a testimony of a false
witness whom the prosecutor wanted to sneak in, and who was immediately
discarded when we recorded him explaining how he had been bribed and
forced to testify against me. This video was enough to prove my
innocence. He disproved, for its falsity, all the lies the Court
fabricated to hide my innocence. But — I repeat — it's impossible to
hide it. It's impossible to deceive people even if they have a minimum
of understanding.

The Government, Prosecutor, Courts, Police and every person who signed a
letter condemning me for the alleged violence I'm accused of and for
which they sentenced me, not one has presented a single proof against me.

Enough already with the talk and insinuations; it's not sufficient to
imprison anyone.

They say and accept that I got in their way; that in political life, to
my regret, I earned recognition and respect; that my blog began to have
ten thousand visits a day, and they saw me become too close to those on
the island defending the truth, like the project For Another Cuba and
the signatures for the U.N. covenants; projects that, I know, worry and
frighten them.

They recognize that my presence in front of the police station demanding
the release of Antonio Rodiles was found unacceptable for an
intellectual, that the of the beating they gave me traveled the world;
that thousands of people all over the world were terrified by the image
of my blood-soaked shirt; that I maintained a hunger and thirst strike
for those days; and above all, they confessed their helplessness because
of the obvious evidence of their abuse of me and the international

They admit that I bothered them by not compromising when the State
Security official Anibal told me to stop my political actions. That they
took as a taunt my returning to the same place where they beat me the
next day, accompanied by Rodiles's wife Ailer Gonzalez, and his father,
all three of us wearing T-shirts with the image of Rodiles demanding his
release. That every day, during those 19 days of injustice, we sat in
front of the police station until they released him, which they did only
after the swelling had gone down and his black eye had disappeared.

And officers Camilo and Hannibal had warned me. And to stop me there was
nothing they could so other than show me more sophisticated objects,
more sophisticated instruments: the "Revolutionary Courts" that they
both boast about.

The culpability of State Security is as obvious as that of those who
have supported the typical and predictable campaigns against me looking
to raise a smokescreen to hide their misdeeds. History will be
responsible for each of us and will put us in the exact place that we
have earned. That's for sure.

However, despite the media campaign, I fought with the tools that my
circumstances allowed me. I have exhibited my strong evidence, I've put
it in front of their eyes, including the much talked about video of the
false witness who retracted, yet the Police and Prosecutors prepared to
convict me for the rest of my days.

Whoever bites once, does it forever. So they brought military and State
specialists, that is people forced to respond without the slightest
intention of questioning orders, to flesh out versions that always
favored the Prosecution. So they blatantly lied in court without the
slightest pretense, dismissed my solid witnesses, some of them with no
affection for me, but who took the risk to do their duty consistent with
their consciences.

This was the case with my son's teacher, the school principal and — a
detail that has not been mentioned — a member of the Communist Party,
whom the Delegate to the People's Power went to see to pressure her,
because "how can you defend a counterrevolutionary?" In a gesture of
dignity I respect, she responded that she was defending a student, the
boy, that he was the most injured because he — my son — had confessed to
her that his mom had asked him to tell lies to denigrate my public image.

Another witness, thanks to the level of friendship he had with the
accuser, testified that my ex had told him on several occasions that she
"was preparing a number eight legal case against the father of her
child." By then my ex and I had been separated more than two years.

There was another witness with him I only exchanged a polite and cordial
greeting, because I was visiting a family that lived in the back of his
house, and I was obliged to park my car in front. At exactly the day and
time when my ex said she ran into me in her house, I was passing through
the home of this witness whom I heard strongly rebuking her son and,
unable to contain myself, I asked her not to be so violent in the
reprimand, he was just a boy.

She explained he had broken the windshield of a car and the owner was
demanding 900 pesos. Then I said, according to what she herself
remembered at the trail, that a windshield could be replaced a hundred
times, but a child, no. She, according to what she told the court,
didn't forget the day because thanks to me she wasn't unjust with her
son: later she learned he hadn't been the child responsible for breaking
the windshield.

There were two other witnesses: a Lodge brother, who need to re-pass his
exam for Master Mason which was coming up in a few days, and his mother,
who prepared us lunch that day.

So in summary, the Court decided to ignore them in favor of the
Prosecution's witnesses, and did it with blatant lies and contradictions
that can be seen in the judgment. Before the ease and agility with which
the Court accepted everything against me, I was left in a legally
hopeless state.

Instead they accepted a hearsay witness, who repeated what his friend
told him, a witness who wasn't present at the alleged events which I was
accused of and yet they validated his "testimony." (Editor's note:
According to the dictionary: Witness: 1. Person who testifies to
something or attests. 2. Person present or who acquires direct and
verifiable knowledge of something.)

As of today, no one has responded to my questions:

Why did the trial take place in the First Division of State Security, or
specifically on the special site for "relevant" cases in Carmen and Juan
Delgado, as they communicated to my attorney.

Why was my sentence announced by the Official Camilo, from State
Security, a month before the Court issued it?

No doubt many do not want to see how obviously my case was rigged, and I
understand their interests. And although I do not share them, I respect
their complete right to be unjust.

A State of Laws?

Some friends have also told me to use the law to accuse those who have
lied, but that would be another naivete. Friends, brothers,
international public opinion: we do not live in a State of Laws, this is
the Biran Ranch — the Castros' ancestral home — where the foreman obeys
the orders of the owner. We live in a feudal state with no rights where
the only thing that protects us is to do whatever the King says, without
question, because if you question, they will send you to where I am
today: behind bars.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

La Lima Prison, March 2013

27 March 2013

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