Angel Santiesteban: Open Letter to the UN Commission on Human Rights*
Posted on April 24, 2013
I write to you from the depths of despair produced by being a prisoner
of conscience in one of the horrendous prisons of the Castro brothers.
In their hands is the opportunity to impose agony upon an extensive
penal population that survives the cruelest famine and physical and
To hide the truth, I was taken on April 9 just before international
journalists arrived at La Lima prison. They took me out by the back door
and I was taken to another prison, 1580, where they have committed all
sorts of outrages and humiliations worthy of Nazi concentration camps.
The lack of food and proper sanitation are the other elements that add
up to make this a real prison camp. They violate the most basic rights
of human beings and their families. Prisoners live crammed together amid
In recent months there have been two large fires of unexplained causes.
Multiple suicides are also a daily part of life in prison.
Upon my arrival, after several days of hunger strike and being put in
solitary with no light, no water, no clothes or toiletries, I was
attacked by several guards, holding me by my limbs while another
squeezed my nostrils shut until I opened my mouth to breathe, and then
they put stinking soup in my mouth that choked me; and so, over and
over, until I was on the floor completely covered in the food helpless
to avoid it.
I want to report to Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Quintana, head of the
I also want to clarify that my situation is not the worst. I would like
them to listen to the abused themselves so that they can explain the
hell in which they live. I fear not being credible enough to expose the
horror and the wickedness that we suffer daily.
The dictatorship must understand once and for all that it is impossible
to maintain disastrous power based on the people’s pain.
We beg this to take the testimony firsthand, under full oath, and ask
God to put his pitying hands on this country forgotten by the
international community, and that they manage to collect the testimonies
of prisoners without their being threatened ahead of time, as usual.
We ask that Cuba sign the UN covenants and accept the statements of
Human Rights, if not, to take appropriate measures to expel the concert
of free nations which aims to live undiscovered barbarism imposed on us.
We are a devastated country which — despite these fifty-four years of
slavery — we still dream of becoming a prosperous nation.
Please accept my thanks in advance.
Ángel Santiesteban Prats
Prisión 1580. San Miguel del Padrón, Havana. Cuba.
* The HRC in Geneva, Switzerland, was created by 47 member states on
March 15, 2006 in the Assembly of the United Nations, to promote
universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental
freedoms of all persons, without distinction of any kind, and in a fair
and equitable manner. Along with the Security Council, these are two of
the principal organs of the highest level and prestige within the UN system.
23 April 2013″food, human rights, prision, prison, prisoner, violence