14ymedio, Havana, 28 October 2016 — The director of the Center for Coexistence Studies (CEC), Dagoberto Valdes, summoned to a meeting with State Security on Thursday, received “an official warning” which anticipates “the possibility of committing crimes against State Security as defined in the Penal Code.”
Valdes, who remained at the police headquarters on the San Juan road for two hours and fifteen minutes, explained to 14ymedio that the officials threatened him that “as of today” his life “would be very difficult” if one day “he was to incur one of these crimes.” The police mentioned as possible violations of the law the receipt of money from the United States for his activities, or the lack of a contribution to the treasury. The director of Coexistence affirmed that he had “received not even one cent from the United States government.”
Despite these warnings, Valdes affirmed that everything happened “in a serious and respectful climate” and that “there was no physical abuse” at any time.
“I came to this place [the headquarters of the State Security] on time and within minutes of the hour I was received by Lieutenant Colonel Osvaldo Labrador, head of the unit, and Major Joaquin” said Valdes in a statement received by this newspaper.
According to the director of Coexistence, on entering the unit he was led to “an interrogation room where the entire conversation was filmed.” In it, he said Lt. Col. Labrador told him that for “all these years” he had remained “at the razor’s edge between being a layman of the Church and being a counterrevolutionary.”
Accordingly, Valdes added by telephone, they advanced that if he “engages in counterrevolution” he would be “treated” accordingly, but not if he continues with “his profile as a Catholic layman and cares for the social objective of Coexistence” and he mentioned “2003, when the 75.”
At the end of the declaration, Valdes was taken to the “technical” room where they took his “finger and palm prints, an odor print of his pelvis and photos from the front and side,” and later took him to the infirmary. Despite telling Major Joaquin that he felt “in very good health,” they insisted on taking his blood pressure, which was stable.
Dagoberto Valdes is thankful “with all his heart, for the immense solidarity received from friends and brothers of many countries and institutions, as well as for the prayers of pastors and brothers of different faiths.”
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 about our current situation.
Last September the members of Coexistence denounced that at least nine of them had been subjected to police interrogation. The activists were forced to suspend the My Neighborhood One Community program due to pressure from State Security, which included operations around several of their homes, arrests and the cutting of the cell phone service of event organizers.
Based in the province of Pinar del Rio, the independent entity is conceived as a think tank to “think about the national home we desire, to contribute to the reconstruction of the human person and the fabric of civil society.”