Only One Question
Only One Question / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on March 11, 2015
Angel Santiesteban, Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana. February, 2015 —
I do not have access to the news online nor the articles by specialists
and political scientists in the daily papers with respect to the recent
dialogues between President Obama and the president of Cuba. And, as the
days pass and we are ever farther from that 17 of December of last year
— when their secret contacts and accords became known — there is a
question that continues to grow in my mind, and it is: why did the
initial list of prisoners to be exchanged not include those who have
been jailed in Cuba for almost 30 years?
How is it possible that these prisoners were left out of that list of 53
Cuban political prisoners? I am not saying that they should have been
substituted for any of those on the list, simply that they should have
been included. And the more I ponder this, my puzzlement grows like a
It simply seems to me a sign of disrespect to play politics and forget
those men, those brothers, those human beings who have been suffering in
the worst of captivities for decades. Would that, in a second “round,”
as always happens in these political maneuverings, these men are taken
into account. This I pray.
Remember that those imprisoned Cubans are serving sentences that are
double those that were being completed by Castro’s spies.
Perhaps, as the song says, “they have it all figured out,” and in fact
they were left for another future spy exchange — such as for Ana Belén
Montes, their spy in the Pentagon — or to soften up the North American
Congress so that they will lift the embargo.
I suspect that the script is already written: Obama and the Castros have
a common enemy, which is the Republican Party. They are the ones who
need to be convinced, because, were it up to the Democrats, they would
already, in the blink of an eye, have set up a satellite of China or
Russia in the Caribbean — which is what they’re doing, of course, the
only difference being that it is official, made legal by the American
I already foresee that this hand will be bitten, and will catch rabies.
Border Patrol Prison Unit, Havana. February, 2015.
* Editor’s Note: There are 9 political prisoners who have been
incarcerated more than 20 years. Their names (and years imprisoned so
far) are: Pedro de la Caridad Álvarez (23), Daniel Candelario Santovenia
(23), Elías Pérez (23), Erik Salmerón (23), Raúl Manuel Cornel (22),
José David Herman (22), Miguel Díaz (21), Armando Sosa (21) and
Humberto Eladio Real Suárez (21). Fifteen other prisoners have been
detained for periods between 12 and 19 years. (Source: Cuban Commission
for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) and see also Human
Rights Watch Report based on CCDHRN reporting.)
Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison
6 March 2015
Source: Only One Question / Angel Santiesteban | Translating Cuba –