Catholic intellectual says time has come for reconciliation in Cuba

The editor-in-chief of the Cuban magazine Vitral, Dagoberto Valdes Hernandez, said this week Cuba is in need more than ever of “a climate of reconciliation, a language of reconciliation, gestures of reconciliation, attitudes of reconciliation and a future of reconciliation.”

In a recent article Valdes explained that at the country’s present juncture—marked by “a climate of tension and uncertainty bordering on the unbearable”—reconciliation is “a word and a reality which is missing from our media, our discourses, from our actions and those of everyone else.”

“Cuba suffers, but the people struggle, and no one knows until when:  those who are the most honest and gifted figure out a way to survive, without doing anything illegal or falling into despair; the needy get tired, but they persevere; the wealthy flee the country, no matter where; those most in despair fall prey to alcohol and crime; and those who are unable to fight anymore, those who can’t even live their own lives anymore, commit suicide,” he said. 

According to Valdes, “this word (reconciliation) is not well-liked, it is not understood very well here because it is equated with weakness or embarrassing concessions.  It is also not understood by Cubans in exile, for the same reasons but from the opposite perspective:  Be reconciled with who?—some say.  Be reconciled for what?—say others.”

Vitral says “the atmosphere of confrontation is not helpful at all,” and foreign intrusion into the affairs of the country demand that Cubans “concentrate on solving our own problems from within, among ourselves.”

“Can’t Cuba set aside the battles of hatred to begin building peace?  Yes, that’s right, peace, peace.  Not only peace from the absence of wars, but also the peace of understanding, the peace of dialogue, the peace of unity, the peace of consciences that can live in the truth, the peace of liberty of the soul that can express itself and create without barriers or embargos.  In a word, can’t Cuba enter into an honest process of reconciliation?” asked Valdes.

Valdes sees reconciliation as the fruit a long journey that must be born out of unity and the search for truth and justice, “accompanied by forgiveness and magnanimity.”

“The path of reconciliation is crowned by the search for unity and consensus at the social, political, economic and cultural levels.  This unity should not hide our differences but focus instead on where we agree and come together.  This consensus should serve to create new projects and open new doors to development and peace,” he said.

According to Valdes, reconciliation is “a beautiful and exciting path for Cuba,” a country that needs “real hope, without guile, without running away to somewhere else.  The only authentically fruitful hope is that which is born out of truth, justice, magnanimity and reconciliation.”

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