A Caricature of Angel Santiesteban’s Trial

Maria Matienzo Puerto

Angel Santiesteban

HAVANA TIMES — The last time I spoke with Angel, I told him to have faith, because the truth always ends up coming out. At the same time I wondered why a feminist had to defend an alleged spouse abuser. Were the accusations true?

These questions didn’t make me doubt the innocence of Angel Santiesteban. Instead, they gave me reasons to write about this subject. With this narcissist melee (in some cases) the reasons were clarified in my mind.

I say this because violence against women and girls can’t be a political pretext for stifling an uncomfortable voice among Cuban intellectuals. To accept a trial like the one that ended up sentencing Angel turns the struggle against violence directed at women and girls into a cartoon, a farce, a stupid joke.

In the Alamar community where I live, in its 48 six-floor apartment buildings, in more than half of them there are or have been acts of violence against women or girls. So how can we allow someone to lie to us and then carry that lie — forged on the pain of others — to the ultimate consequences?

I don’t think I’m going to add much more to what has already been discussed online about Angel. This diary post and an interview with Wilfredo Vallin (the president of the Cuban Law Association, an independent NGO in Cuba), who was closely following the process, clarifies some points that initially appeared obscure to me.

There’s no question that Angel Santiesteban’s sentence means our continuing to accept our condemnation to breadcrumbs when we really deserve more: the right to express ourselves freely, to think freely, more access to social networks, to information. The list is very long.

It was a trial that affects us all.


After 55 years, the gates of the island and its immovable and obsolete system are opening. Given that UMAP and other repressive institutions don’t scare anyone any more; this may be a new strategy for filling us with the fear to speak about what actually happens between our four walls.

Angel Santiesteban might be the scapegoat with which they’re showing us how our own hides could end up.

Maria Matienzo

Maria Matienzo Puerto: I dreamed once that I was a butterfly who had come from Africa and discovered that I had been alive for thirty years. From that time on, I constructed my world while I was sleeping: I was born in a magic city like Havana; I dedicated myself to journalism; I wrote and edited books for children; I met to discuss art with wonderful people; I fell in love with a woman. Of course, there are certain points of coincidence with the reality of my waking life and it’s that I prefer the silence of reading and the pleasure of a good movie.

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