HAVANA TIMES — On March 18, Havana Times published an open letter sent to writer Angel Santiesteban from blogger Jose Miguel “Yoss” Sanchez accusing the writer of being guilty of committing acts of violence against his former wife.
Today HT is publishing Santiesteban’s response, written from his prison compound outside the Havana municipality of Guanabacoa and published on his personal blog.
An Open letter to Writer Jose Miguel “Yoss” Sanchez
Colleague Jose Miguel “Yoss” Sanchez:
In your letter — apparently affectionate and confident — you create the impression that we used to have ice cream together, or we’d go to the movies together or any of those other things done by a couple of friends in everyday life. I’m sorry, but I only recall a few greetings when our paths crossed in some literary events and chance meetings in the city.
Really, what you wrote seems pathetic to me. If I remember correctly, you were only in my house three times…or something like that. One time it was to get a book I was lending you, and the other times when you were looking for a Mexican woman, who I later had to accompany out of your house as she cried uncontrollably. Remember?
However, I — who could say something with proof — kept my mouth shut because I had no interest in attacking you, nor did I want to think you’d do that to me. Therefore I find it surprising that you, without knowing me, have traced this intimate psychological profile of me.
If everyone who has written something against me were to submit even a single piece of likely information, something palpable against me, I swear I’d be silent for the rest of my life. But I know they can’t do that. I can say this because professional investigators were after me for three a half years — not only with their cunning, but with their dirty dealings — yet the prosecution failed to present a single solid piece of proof against me to the court.
They could only present conjecture, like my “slanted handwriting.” This makes me think you’re one of the many who have heard bells without knowing from where they toll, because I’m sure your eyes have never seen anything that could convict me in this case. You limit yourself to merely echoing other speakers. You repeat or imagine, but you don’t make anything clear in your ambiguous writing.
It seems that we were close friends, and a few of the words you wrote were spoken as if we were intimate friends, which tended to confuse people and sow doubt. I don’t know why you wanted to give that image, but I would urge you to demonstrate the truth in your words with evidence.
As for Heras and Sacha, since you mention them, I’ll tell you that the first one wasn’t in the country when my ex-wife says the incident occurred, which undermines him as a witness. By that time we had an estranged friendship, because despite our long friendship, he failed to understand my right to express opinions in my blog that were critical of what was happening in my country.
As for Sacha, I always talked a lot with him, but even he was surprised to also hear the version told by the mother of my child. He only had two versions: mine and hers. Nothing more.
Colleague Yoss, every day the media campaign against me grows, it’s to my honor. Have you ever wondered why there’s such dedication? For me it’s clear: I believe this work has been undertaken to attack me because they’re pressured by the injustice they’ve committed, because anyone who gets closer to the facts will find evidence of the crude hoax prepared against me.
Just ask for the proof for punishing me. I want to believe that you’ve fallen into the trap of others, given that in what you’ve written I’ve seen no elements to support your words and assumptions. It’s a shame you’ve behaved like this; but please, when talking about something as delicate as this, proof has to be shown.
I don’t know where you got the information about the alleged domestic problems between me and my ex. Could you give me the source or where you got this information? The person you describe has nothing to do with my personality. In fact, in our best times the mother of my son always used to tell me that I “wasn’t in love with her because I didn’t get jealous.” All you would have to do is ask any of my former partners to confirm that I’ve never been branded the jealous type. This was the first time anyone has ever accused me of that.
Hopefully you can get access to the proof that I did in fact present to demonstrate my innocence. These were corroborated by the police experts themselves. Nonetheless — despite them having no solid evidence against me— I’ve been sentenced. I hope you don’t think I’m guilty because of the “slanted handwriting” attributed to me by Lieutenant Colonel Graphologist. As my lawyer proved at the trial and in the appeal, as was supported by national and international law, such evidence isn’t conclusive enough to send me to jail for even one day.
In fact, regarding my not accepting even a fine, I refused to be deprived of the right to be innocent until they proved the contrary. There’s been a lot of writing and signed letters against me, but no evidence against me. That alone makes this legal process and trial unfair and rigged. It only allows the smokescreen of the campaign against me to hide a poor legal process and injustice.
I want to believe that you’re honest and innocent, and that you’re seeking the two sides of the story, the two versions. Do not be misled by personal determinations that trust your instincts. That’s what I want to appeal to in understanding how you’ve dared to consider me guilty.
I still trust you and I know you’ll seek that evidence and then tell me who’s right. I also hope that only after you read everything, you’ll give a true approximation about what really happened in my case.
But don’t be naive. How can you deny this was a rigged trial when they left me without witnesses (five witnesses could have spoken in my defense) because the court alleged a slight contradiction between the testimony of my son and their testimonies?
As has already been shown, there’s no such contradiction. To the contrary, it confirms the testimonies of my witnesses who, nonetheless, were dismissed. That’s called distorting the facts, lying. Then they illegally punished me with a clause that adds more time corresponding to the crime I supposedly committed.
I’m not pleading for mercy. I never will. When I’m wrong, those who know me know that I accept my errors. But being innocent, much less would I ever plead for mercy. I’m only asking for justice, a clean and transparent trial where all of you can be present and judge whether it was rigged or not.
Yoss, it’s simply that no mortal should be punished without proof. They can’t declare me guilty without a single item that affirms this, an element that’s more than the word of my ex wife (who discredited herself in the trial by committing perjury several times), and her character witness or hearsay.
Looking at this all objectively, it’s not about whether I’m guilty or not. Here it’s about evidence that affirms or refutes. The channels are so clear and convincing that they leave no doubt: I doubt you’ve seen the video of the alleged witness that my ex-wife bribed.
Did you read the testimony of people who assured that I wasn’t even around at the time when my ex says I hurt her? Yoss, in all honesty, I want to trust that you’ll seek out those who can provide you with the legal information presented in the trial and that you’ll get to the truth. You shouldn’t condemn anyone a priori, like you did, it’s necessary to investigate, to first try to get to the truth.
If you’d like to interview my lawyer, I’ll make sure you can. But please, don’t believe anything you don’t find out through your own efforts, and watch out for those who handle and provide you versions that suit the government.
State Security is of course behind everything, just as you somewhat accepted but then contradicted yourself.
I expect your perseverance and questioning, but I need evidence against me, Yoss. I’m sick of just words and innuendo. I don’t want people to take my word; rather in the evidence that was presented. I trust that once this proof is known, all of that will serve to absolve me.
La Lima Prison, Guanabacoa