The Work of A Life / Cuban Law Association, Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

By Wilfredo Vallín Almeida

On our way to the pharmacy, three individuals in plain clothes arrested me and my wife as we left the building where we live. They showed us an ID card: DSE [Department of State Security].

I thought they were trying to prevent us from attending a tried being held at the 10 de Octobre Municipal Court, very near our house.

There was a patrol car with police officers every hundred yards. At a signal from the agents there was a screeching of tires.

It was around 11:30 in the morning. We were in the street with many people watching.

As the patrol car pulled up, one of the plain clothes agents took out some handcuffs.

“You are being arrested,” he told me, putting my hands behind me and adjusting the handcuffs to be as tight as possible.

My wife tried to get an explanation from a young agent in a yellow T-shirt. I urged calm and entered the police car before my astonished neighbors. They took me to the Aguilera police station at in Luyano.

They removed the handcuffs and ordered me to sit near the file cabinet. My wrists are sore and red.  I wonder what could be happening for such an action. Later I seem to understand. After half an hour the young man in the yellow shirt appears. He identifies himself as agent Brian and tells me to enter a nearby room. He sits down and directs me to a chair across from him, with a table between us.

He begins to talk about our work at the Cuban Legal Association (AJC), which he considers “within the law and correct.” He seems to know a lot about what we do. (Later I will learn that he is just repeating what my wife told him in front of our house, in reality he knew nothing about us.)

He goes on to “advise me” that I not associate myself with “counterrevolutionary activities.” He names some names. I respond that the AJC tries to help every Cuban who comes to it because neither the Law Collectives nor the national courts are trusted by many people in the country. Several minutes of conversation are enough for me to realize that this young man (he is 28), who could almost be my grandson, lacks the knowledge and debating skills for an exchange of opinions.

Forty minutes later, he returns my identity card and by way of saying goodbye asks if he can come to my house and see my work. I respond in the affirmative, although I am convinced that his superiors will never allow a closer relationship with us.

Once outside, I seek a reason for what happened … and I find it.

1. For a long time, when control of information was tight, the letters DSE produced in any citizen a paralyzing effect. That and the flamboyant operation point to a prophylactic action, not so much for me as for the curious and those who will learn about it third hand.

2. It was a subliminal way to get my attention for my participation in various programs of the Estado de SATS.

If my speculations are true, more problems will come, because I act from the deepest conviction.

I am aware of the dangers of demanding rights in a totalitarian government, so if the consequences of my actions have a fatal outcome, I want to express my thanks to those who put me in such an honorable position I never thought I deserved: The pantheon of unforgettable.

I endorse the words of José Martí, who experienced it first hand:

“Death is not real when one has fulfilled one’s life work well.”

16 April 2012