Dialogue Among Cubans
View of the Museum of Cuban History, Santiago de Cuba, from tonayo's photostream
Palabra Nueva, the online magazine of the Catholic Archdiocese of Havana, has posted a summary of the Catholic Social Week conference that took place June 16 to 19. This was the tenth annual Social Week, attracting a relatively high level of attention because of its scope; the 126 participants included luminaries from Cuba and the diaspora, and the secular as well as Catholic world, including the Vatican Secretary of State. The exchange covered a broad spectrum of themes running from economics to dialogue and reconciliation between Cubans, and the public space of the Catholic Church in Cuba.
The bulletin makes for very worthwhile reading, though the papers delivered by Carmelo Mesa Lago, Jorge Dominguez, Dagoberto Valdez and others are not posted (although Jorge Dominuez made his paper available here). The section on "Dialogue between Cubans" is particularly encouraging and moving, featuring an anecdote shared by Dominguez, professor of Government at Harvard University and its vice provost for international affairs.
Professor Dominguez left Cuba in 1960, and Palabra Nueva relates the story of his return in 1979:
On a tour of Havana he found that the house that had belonged to his grandmother had been occupied by the Cuban Federation of Women (FMC). "My grandmother never complained when, on my return to America ... I showed her a photograph that identified her home as the current office of the FMC. On the contrary, with a sigh she indicated that while she would have much preferred that the house had remained her home, after a long pause she said that if it couldn't be so, then it wasn't so bad that it came to house the Federation of Cuban Women.
Dominguez concluded that dialogue between Cubans and the diaspora is unavoidable and cannot be put off any longer, and that such dialogue will require the generosity of spirit exhibited by his grandmother. Her name, given her in the spirit of reconciliation and hope that Cuba felt in the year of her birth in 1899: Clara Estrella de Paz.