News and Facts about Cuba

When Freedom Becomes Agony

When Becomes Agony / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on March 15, 2014

“Thank you Fidel, for all you give us…”

Prisoners curse their freedom

Convicts say that when they get a pass for almost 72 hours every 10
days, their worries increase. They experience a major agony in the sense
of feeling useless before the economic situation of their families. The
little money they earn as slaves of the Regime that keeps them captive
barely lets them satisfy the shortages that exist at home. They find
their families without , the children without shoes to go to ,
and the electrical appliances broken, among other calamities.

In the first hours at home, already they have exhausted their savings,
seeing themselves obligated to loan or offend, with the goal that at the
end of their days on pass, their families remain with the minimum of
needs guaranteed.

Once back in their beds in , they recognize that it’s preferable
to be a , since they suffer less when they don’t have to
confront the everyday reality and the constant pain of not knowing how
to find a solution, how to stay on top of the poverty, without the
familiar temptation of breaking the law.

“At least while we’re in prison we’re not suffering. We don’t see how
poor our kids are,” they assert. “And we avoid crime, because we also
know that it’s the only possible way to solve things,” says a convict,
with whom the rest agree, and he affirms that “it’s preferable to be a
prisoner, eat the acid, dirty with picadillo, to be beaten and put
in a cell each time you feel like venting, than to see your loved ones
looking at you like sparrows with open beaks, waiting for us to do a
magic act and get some food to fall into them,” he says, and he keeps
silent for a bit.

“Outside things have gotten worse. We feel fear when we leave because
surely we’ll commit some misdeed,” someone affirms from the door, “and
the hard part is to start another more severe sentence,” adds another.
“We will never have the chance to be those ’citizens’ they want us to
be, because society and the laws forget that we don’t have the least
possible chance of surviving without stealing, and if we don’t, we would
die of hunger.”

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton Prison Settlement, March 2014.

Please follow the link and sign the petition to have the Cuban
Angel Santiesteban declared a by Amnesty

Translated by Regina Anavy

12 March 2014

Source: When Freedom Becomes Agony / Angel Santiesteban | Translating
Cuba –

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