In a Martinoticias exclusive, Karen Caballero spoke with jailed Cuban writer and independent blogger Angel Santiesteban-Prats, who has been incarcerated in Cuba for 15 months. The interview was conducted on a mobile phone that had been smuggled into the prison where Santiesteban-Prats has been incarcerated since February 2013.
“I can freely say what I think, because I’m already in jail. Nothing worse can happen to me in this country,” he told Caballero. He went on to say that experiencing prison first-hand has only bolstered his resolve. “I think this prison is a gift from God… I’m here on a mission as a citizen to finally see everything that goes on here in prison. I had to see and feel all the abuses… to truly understand. My only regret is not doing is not doing more.”
Santiesteban-Prats created and authored a blog called Los hijos que nadie quiso (The Children No One Wanted) that has been openly critical of the government. He was awarded the 2013 Franz Kafka Drawer Novel prize for his novel “El verano en que Dios dormía” (The Summer God Slept). In December 2013, he was sentenced to five years for “home violation and injuries.” In May 2014 Reporters Without Borders included him in their list of “100 Information Heroes.”
Arranging the interview was particularly difficult. At one point, while attempting to connect, he hurriedly told Marti staff, “Call me in a half-hour, I’m surrounded right now.”
Later Caballero commented on the courage and bravery it took to take such risks to use a smuggled cell phone in prison to speak out about human rights abuses.