During his stay in the capital of Argentina, Dagoberto Valdes participated in two conferences at CADAL’s office, held two lectures at universities, gave media interviews and held meetings with academics and representatives of civil society.
On Monday 24, Valdes held a presentation at the Conference on the International Day of Remembrance for Victims of totalitarianism in CADAL's office, and in the afternoon he gave a presentation to students of Political Science and International Relations at the Universidad Católica Argentina.
On Tuesday 25, in the morning, the Director of the Centro de Estudios Convivencia gave a talk to communications students from the Universidad Austral in a campus in Pilar.
Interested in exchanging experiences with civil society organizations, Dagoberto Valdes met with members of the Centro para la Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC), the most influential think tank in Argentina.
Dagoberto Valdes Hernandez, Catholic intellectual and Cuban dissident, is the founder of the sociocultural digital magazine Convivencia. He is also founder and director of the Center for Civic and Religious Formation and the Vitral magazine published by the Archdiocese of Pinar del Río until 2007 when the center and the magazine were seized. The magazine continued with another profile and the CFCR was extinguished.
Valdes was born in the province of Pinar del Rio, in Cuba on August 4, 1955. When finishing the secondary Valdes wanted to study sociology but was rejected because of his Catholic faith. Instead he studied agricultural engineering at the University of Pinar del Rio and upon graduation in 1980 he was assistant professor at the same university. While still in college he was denied becoming a teacher and entering a doctoral program because of his Catholic faith. Disillusioned, Valdes left the university and serves in the production of snuff for 16 years, five of which he chaired the Technical Advisory Board. He also organized four exhibitions of agricultural sciences.
Valdes’ Catholic activism began in 1986 when he became member of the National Catholic Congress and was a member of the presidency of the Cuban National Ecclesial Meeting. He participated as a speaker in the chapter "Faith and Culture" of the conclusions of the meeting. He was also elected to bring a message on behalf of the Cuban Catholic Church commemorating Father Felix Varela in the Aula Magna of the University of Havana. He was founder and first diocesan of the movement of Lay Ministers of the Word in Pinar del Rio from 1977 to 1987, then was founder and President of the Catholic Commission for Culture of the Diocese of Pinar del Rio from 1987 to 2006. He participated in the XXV World Congress of the International Movement of Catholic Intellectuals (MIIC-Pax Romana) held in Rome in September 1987 where he had his first audience with Pope John Paul II with whom he met four times during his pontificate. (Www.icmica-miic.org). In 1991 he was the Cuban delegate to the MIIC Latin American Summit in Lima.
In 1993, he founded the Center for Civic and Religious Formation, the first civic center completely independent of the Cuban state for workshops and courses on different aspects of civil society. The following year Valdes began editing and publishing Vitral, a socio-cultural magazine that became the only publication of analysis and critical comments on Cuba, distributed from hand to hand through the network of Cuban churches, reaching 10,000 subscribers. As a result of this work the May 2, 1996, Valdes was dismissed from the tobacco plant, and forced to serve six years in labor camps.
In 1999, the King of Holland gave him the "Prince Klaus Award for Culture and Development" and in the same year Pope John Paul II appointed him full member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace of the Vatican where he remained until 2004. In that same year the American Center of Polish Culture gave him the Jan Karski Award for his courage and compassion in the effort for human rights in Cuba.
Valdes is also the author of several books, including: "Felix Varela: Biography of the Father of Cuban Culture" and "Cuba: Freedom and Responsibility. Challenges and projects. "In 1997, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation published "Rebuilding civil society, a project for Cuba". In 2007 Valdes published his latest book, a compilation of editorial of the magazine Vitral 1994-2007, "Freedom of the light."