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Thursday, October 20, 2016

“God bless you!” The Unusual ‘Goodbye’ from a Cuban Official to Dagoberto Valdes

"God bless you!": The Unusual 'Goodbye' from a Cuban Official to
Dagoberto Valdes

14ymedio, Havana, 19 October 2016 – The director of the Center for
Coexistence Studies (CEC), Dagoberto Valdes, presented himself at ten
o'clock on Wednesday morning at the headquarters of the State Security
at Kilometer 4.5 of the highway to San Juan in Pinar del Rio, after
receiving a summons to "address legal issues." The interview, however,
only "lasted half a minute," the intellectual told 14ymedio.

"We presented ourselves at Kilometer 4.5, which is like the Villa
Marista [a harsh State Security prison in Hvana] of here, the whole
Coexistence team and myself. I gave the receptionist the summons, and
she asked me to wait a moment," he explained.

According to the director of Coexistence, three minutes later an
official who presented himself as the duty officer in charge of the unit
came out and invited him to enter an office and, without even offering
him a seat, told him that Lieutenant Colonel Osvaldo, with whom the
interview had originally been scheduled, had to leave the province
unexpectedly and so he was free to leave.

On leaving, Valdes explained, the captain in charge of the unit said,
"God bless you!" to which he replied with a similar greeting.

"I take this opportunity to thank wholeheartedly the immense solidarity
received from friends and brothers from many countries and institutions,
as well as the prayers of pastors and brothers of different faiths,"
Valdes said after the meeting.

"This summons to appear is a part of the measures for all kinds
of people who have been called to speak to the police. Independent
journalists, artists and bloggers, the self-employed, have experienced
this new wave of repression," he told14ymedio by phone.

This September, members of the Coexistence team reported that at least
nine of them had been subjected to police interrogations. The activists
were forced to suspend the program My Neighborhood A Community, due to
pressure from State Security, which included operations stationing
people around several homes, arrests and cutting cell phone service for
event organizers.

Valdes said he did not fear the encounter with the authorities, because
everything they do in the CEC "is transparent and for the good of Cuba."

Valdes acknowledged that members of his team had been summoned to appear
in recent weeks by police stations, "one to one", so the only one
missing was him.

"This is a step in the middle of the escalation we are experiencing. It
is the first time they have cited me since the resumption of relations
between the US and Cuba," he added.

The Coexistence Studies Center focuses on training for citizenship and
civil society in Cuba. Among its activities is the publication of the
magazine Convivencia (Coexistence), the discussion of proposals for the
future of the island, and the exchange ideas of about Cuba's current
situation.

Based in the province of Pinar del Rio, the independent entity is
conceived as a think tank to "think about the national home that we
desire, to contribute to the reconstruction of the human person and the
fabric of civil society."

Source: "God bless you!": The Unusual 'Goodbye' from a Cuban Official to
Dagoberto Valdes – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/god-bless-you-the-unusual-goodbye-from-a-cuban-official-to-dagoberto-valdes/
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