To the Righteous (?!) Women from UNEAC*, When is Your Statement Expected’

To the Righteous (?!) Women from UNEAC*, When is Your Statement Expected’
Posted on July 5, 2015

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, 3 June 2015 — There is not a single day of my
existence in prison in which I don’t feel embarrassed for those women
who, at the beginning of 2013, once I was jailed, made a supposed appeal
against gender violence, when in fact it was later shown — by the
silence they maintained before other forms of violence exercises against
women in opposition to the regime on the island — that they were just
intending to comply with government oder, dictated by Abel Prieto
personally, spokesman and sinister mastermind, from the darkness of his
office as advisor of Raul Castro, the main purpose of which was to
smother international solidarity in my favor.

At that time, those women, especially the intellectual ones — whom I had
travel with, shared book presentations, events in which they devoted
odes to my affability; who I shared emails with daily, dinners, who
organized surprise parties for me, and appeared with me in national and
international anthologies — once they received the official order, the
joined efforts to execute me publicly, just to receive the attention of
politicians and cultural officials and looking not to be forgotten when
trips abroad are awarded, with which the dictatorship usually rewards
their most loyal subjects in the culture field.

It is true that, just when I opened my blog, some of them lavished me
with “advice” for “my wellbeing”; opportunistic advice, that of course,
I did not listen to. Thus, once they had to go on the attack, they
should have tried to calm their dark consciences telling themselves “it
was not for lack of counsel.”

I knew some of them well, very well, and I know for a fact what they
really think about the government. I also know — backed up by witnesses
— that those pretending to be more pro-government, forced to do so by
paternal inheritance, have a discourse in the shadow, I mean when they
don’t feel spied upon, even more aggressive than the discourse of many
who are today in the opposition. Since survival in Cuba depends on
faking it instead of being who you really are, people keep faking their
delight like tender sheep that bleat praising the power of the
totalitarian regime.

At that time, when they were ordered “to execute me” publicly, I did not
defend myself. On the contrary, I supported their gender struggle and,
as many may recall, I asked them to include in their demand to halt the
public beatings of the Ladies in White who, in those days and still
today, keep being abused by troops of women and men from the military
wearing plainclothes.

If their demand was that honest, if their intentions were that noble and
their feelings against violence were that profound, it should hurt them
the same for any woman, regardless of her geographical region, the color
of her skin and her political views.

Silence instead was the clearest of their answers: confirmation of their
double standards and their foul play. Their gender struggle is just
fashion, a political attitude of convenience, or a more opportunistic
way to earn their cultural spaces.

Nonetheless, I refused to believe such a lack of solidarity. I was
shocked, nor did I conceive that someone could advocate for women,
putting all their criticism upon a disident like me (who, by the way, it
was shown shortly after that the accusation was a hoax, and so far they
have not apologized), leaving aside any abuse, whether it is domestic
violence (which unfortunately occurs in Cuban homes often), or people
who follow government orders (like those beatings that occur all over
the island, in front of society as a witness and in front of independent
and foreign media, that capture the facts and support international
complaints that these “worthy women” keep disowning even today).

When they savagely beat actress Ana Luisa Rubio, who was an icon of
Cuban television, I appealed to the decency of those “righteous” women
from UNEAC (Cuban Writers and Artists Union), who signers of every
official call presented to them, and begged, I pleaded, for them to
raise their voices in the Cuban cultural spectrum, to stand up for the
civil rights of this colleague, to whom we owed solidarity and
commitment as artists. Silence was once again their answer.

Through national media, the so-called Intranet, painful pictures were
exhibited in which Ana Luisa Rubio, the beautiful actress, appeared
unrecognizable after a gang from the Committees for the Defense of the
Revolution (CDRs) provoked her, got her to leave her home and attacked
her and dragged her down the street until she was unconscious. However,
not even when those images went all around the free world through the
internet, which some of them have access to, none of these “righteous”
women stood up to condemn such vandalism against a comrade.

Recently, two Ladies in White were stabbed on the street in public,
while trying to keep opposition leader Guillermo Fariñas from being
murdered. Their lives were in danger, especially Percibal Maria
Arango’s, who was in intensive care at Santa Clara hospital. Her
attacker, Jose Alberto Botell, who besides these two women, stabbed
three men who accompanied them, rather than a conviction, Botell
received four years in prison — as a prize — because their victims are
(political) opponents.

Lady Writers and Intellectuals from UNEAC: Regardless of the personal
interest that you have in hiding this inconvenient truth, you cannot
deny that the government you “support” is one of nepotism, a sponsor and
partner in gender abuse. That is why I know you only say you defend a
government like that — nowadays, honestly, and knowing most of you like
I do, I doubt it. It is clear to me that it is all about opportunistic

If they wanted to clear their consciences, they would denounce what
happened a few days ago, on Sunday, May 31st, when a woman, mother,
black, middle-aged and a patriot, Yaquelin Bonne, was brutally abused,
as shouldn’t be allowed to happen even against the fiercest animal.
International media have been busy spreading the word with the terrible
pictures of the brutality committed against this woman, whose only
“crime” is to be an activist for the human rights of all Cubans from the
platform of the Ladies in White, worthy Cuban women whose unique
weaponry, which they have shown well, is to march every Sunday in front
of the church of Santa Rita, after Mass.

Hopefully some of you have the courage, even, to show up on Sunday in
front of that Church, and see with your own eyes the most horrible
manifestation of the gender violence that you claim to fight against. If
you realize, the only thing that will prevent you from being beside
those worthy Ladies in White will be your continuing to live in fear or
the convenience to an official order. I doubt as intelligent as you are
— because I am a witness of such intelligence — that you believe that
these women, because of difference in political views, have no right to
be defended.

In the silence of all of your lies the biggest and meanest is the
defense of machismo, complicity with the horror of gender abuse. With
each humiliated or abused woman you keep a timely silence and you lose a
new opportunity before history to show real commitment to your positions
as intellectuals; before your time, the docile silence, but above all,
before your own gender, as women, for being accomplices and taking part
in a state that does not stop the outrage against those women who defy
their directives.

God forbid, at least this time, do not allow yourselves to be
manipulated by the fear to a totalitarian power.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

3 June 2015

Border Patrol Prison

Havana, Cuba

Source: To the Righteous (?!) Women from UNEAC*, When is Your Statement
Expected’ | Translating Cuba –

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