Dear Leopoldo, my brother in struggle,
I write to you from another prison, in Havana, in the claws of the brother dictators Fidel and Raúl Castro.
First of all, I want to send you my moral support. Right now, you need it more than I do, since your country is hanging on by a thread to becoming a totalitarian state like ours, from which we have been suffering for more than half a century.
I admire your upright position in defense of your ideals and dreams for a free country where democracy governs and justice and the rule of law reign supreme.
I have your wife and children in my prayers so that God protects them and maintains the courage with which they support you unconditionally, and so that He returns you soon to your home, next to them, from whom they never should have separated you.
I am filled with emotion at the solidarity of the deputy, Maria Corina Machado, meanly stripped of the office that the people assigned to her, and of the governor Henrique Capriles, who together with millions of his compatriots has not forgotten you, nor left you alone. This support — that you certainly deserve, for your ideals and the way in which you defend them — perhaps tomorrow can be intended for them, because the government of the puppet Nicolas Maduro, like that of Cuba, doesn’t pardon or forget those who raise their voices against his regime and its abuses.
Many Cubans, by the corresponding share of responsibility that touches us, feel ashamed of the Cuban government that, without hiding in the wings, orders and manipulates Venezuela’s plans, because their interest — it’s no secret — is born from their thirst for oil, their need to count on Venezuelan oil to stay in power.
As on our island, they already have devastated everything, from the economy up to human values. Now – by the death of your people – they have thrown their sharp fangs over your country. They are vampires of fuel, opportunistic parasites who act like those terrible mutant viruses that risk everything up to the end, hanging on to the body of the chosen victim.
In the same way that they harm your country –and it is part of your demands and claims — they continue oppressing us. Clearly, if you can’t contain and avoid the permanence of the Chavistas in power, your nation will be submiited to the biggest misery that you could ever imagine, and will suffocate itself more each day, submitting to an empire of injustices and constant repression.
I pray to God that you stay healthy so that your social light doesn’t go out, and you continue setting an example for those millions of compatriots who today are already struggling for their future, an example also for those of us who observe, expectantly, from the rest of the world, the struggle of the worthy Venezuelan people for their freedom.
Hopefully we can soon raise a glass for the freedom of our people. The dreams that we share today are the seeds of what we will later call reality.
Receive my hug and admiration for surrendering your freedom in the urgent demand we all have.
Lawton Prison Settlement. May 2014.
Have Amnesty International declare the dissident Cuban Angel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience.
Translated by Anonymous and Regina Anavy.