Open Letter to Cuba’s Two-Faced Writers

Alfredo Fernández

Angel Santiesteban

HAVANA TIMES — Around six months ago, when Cuban writer Angel Santiesteban was imprisoned for the “crime” of openly expressing himself against the island’s government – on domestic abuse charges – the State’s repressive apparatus, bold as brass, organized a smear campaign against the author.

This campaign culminated with an open letter signed by several writers who are members of the Association of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) : Marilyn Bobes, Luisa Campuzano, Laidi Fernandez, Sandra Alvarez, Zaida Capote Cruz, Danae Dieguez, Lirians Gordillo Piña and Helen Hernandez Hormilla. In the letter, they had no qualms about attacking the imprisoned author and, as such, in legitimating the alleged crimes he had committed against his former spouse.

These writers paid little attention to the fact that Santiesteban denied each and every one of the accusations leveled at him, as well as to the fact the supposed witnesses to the crime ultimately withdrew their statements and chose not to declare at the farcical trial of the author.

No, they wrote the letter all the same, not only in defense of Stantiesteban’s ex wife, but on behalf of all women, who ought to be spared all forms of abuse and subjugation.

What strikes me as curious now is that it’s been more than a week since Cuban television actress Ana Luisa Rubio was brutally assaulted, literally shoved out of her own house and beat up by the members of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution in her block and other members of Cuba’s repressive forces she’d never seen before, with total impunity, and we haven’t heard a word from these writers. A week later, the actress’ face is still covered in bruises.

As soon as I heard the news, I thought it was just a matter of time before Marilyn Bobes and her gang would strike back, armed with all imaginable evidence about the crime. I also thought that, this time around, they would be even more angered than they were in the case of Santiesteban. But, strangely enough, nothing happened, and I’m beginning to doubt anything will.

Ana Luisa Rubio

What strange women these are, who jumped on Santiesteban without the slightest shred of evidence and now keep quiet, with all of the evidence in the world at their disposal! I don’t for a moment want to think that you believe the assault on actress Ana Luisa Rubio this past Friday 6th was deserved and that the alleged beating of Santiesteban’s ex wife was not.

To even toy with this possibility, to think of the double standard they evince in their statements as intellectuals and as self-avowed opponents of violence against women, leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Perhaps they will prove me wrong, and write a letter condemning these attacks by CDR and State security thugs, and show a bit more indignation now than when they wrote their letter condemning Santiesteban. I sincerely hope so.

Come on, writers, speak up now! Many of us are still waiting for you to dispel the doubts that your ambiguous posture have brought upon us.

Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

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