Havana Cuba. — The writer and former Cuban political prisoner Ángel Santiesteban Prats is currently regulated, that is, with a ban on leaving the country, as he was informed this Tuesday at the Office of Emigration and Aliens on 17 and K, in Havana.
“I went to renew my passport because it was already expiring and they only told me that the reason for my regulation to leave the country was ‘for reasons of public interest’, the same thing that they have told the dozens of activists who in recent years have regulated , there is never a real explanation or any defense mechanism because behind all this is the Cuban political police,” he told CubaNet Santiesteban Prats.
The Václav Havel Award for Creative Dissidence 2020 also explained that it could be blackmail, because last June, when he arrived in Havana from Miami, a trip to which he was invited by the Masonic Grand Lodge of Florida, he He refused to speak to two State Security officials who were waiting for him at the “José Martí” International Airport in Havana to question him.
“They took me to a small room separated from the rest of the travelers and I refused to accept a conversation with them. We ended up arguing and they told me that then they would start the repression against me ‘from scratch’”, he narrated.
This is not the first time that the Cuban regime regulates the writer: between 2008 and 2018 he was prevented from traveling abroad as a form of punishment for his constant denunciations of human rights violations on the island and for his opposition activism.
In February 2013, he would be sentenced to five years in prison for the alleged crimes of “violation of residence” and “injuries”, “despite the fact that there was no tangible evidence”, as he pointed out Reporters Without Bordersan organization that urged the Cuban authorities to drop all charges against him.
Santiesteban Prats would be released after two and a half years in prison thanks to a letter sent to the Cuban government by the then German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, signed by several MEPs, in which they asked for his release.
After participating in the protests on July 11 of last year, he remained in hiding for more than four months, avoiding arrest by the Cuban political police, who finally gave up the persecution against him due to all the international support he received. the writer was receiving, as well as having the support of Cuban Freemasonry, an institution with more than 25,000 members and in which Santiesteban is an active militant.
“My trips have always been for Masonic invitations or for my literature”, clarifies the 2006 Casa de las Américas Award winner, and adds: “Since my release from prison I have turned my literature into my best weapon of denunciation against the regime, for this reason I got involved, along with Lilo Vilaplana, in the film scripts for the film plantedabout those Cuban political prisoners, in another about the crime of the tugboat March 13 —also together with Ninoska Pérez— and in the one about planteda film that will be released soon.
However, the former political prisoner considers this new regulation to leave the country as “an invitation to more frontal activism and an attempt to pressure him to leave the island; a way to exert their totalitarian force against an individual they want to manipulate. The official of the dictatorship, upon my refusal to dialogue, not even to accept his monologue, warned me that they would go for me. It is just that, one more sign that the dictatorship is reinforcing its instruments regardless of, as is known, violating individual rights.”
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