14ymedio, Madrid, 4 July 2015 — In the halls of the Casa de America in Madrid on Thursday and Friday of this week a training event for Cuban activists was held. Organized by the Association of Ibero-American Freedom (AIL), the meeting was attended by ten Cubans from the island as well as the former Minister General Secretariat of the Presidency of Chile, the economist Cristian Larroulet and Carlos Alberto Montaner, among other analysts and intellectuals.
Discussions revolved around the issue of transition, with reference to what happened in Chile with the ouster of Augusto Pinochet and the restoration of democracy. Larroulet delved into the conditions that gave way to the referendum in his country in October 1988, during the military regime. His words also focused on the need to seek consensus, the question of post-transitional justice and the delicate issue of negotiating with the powers that be.
Dagoberto Valdes, director of the magazine Convivencia , Eliecer Avila, leader of the Movement Somos +, and Laritza Diversent, from the legal group Cubalex , were among the Cuban activists who participated in these closed-door discussions.
During closing of the meeting the Chilean writer Roberto Ampuero discussed his experiences; Ampuero lived in Havana from 1974-1979, where he renounced the Communist Youth after being disappointed by that ideology. He subsequently published the book Nuestros años de verde olivo (Our olive-green years), an autobiographical novel about those years, whose references were also a topic of conversation among those present at the event.
The Chilean Mauricio Rojas was a guest at the close of the event, in his youth Rojas was a member of the Revolutionary Leftist Movement, and subsequently went into exile in Sweden where he was a Liberal Party member of parliament. His testimony touched on the process of moving from extreme political positions to coexistence, negotiation, and governance by coalitions.
This meeting was in addition to two earlier events, in July and March of 2015, which discussed, respectively, the transition in Spain and the creation of the Democratic Unity Roundtable in Venezuela (MUD).