9th Anniversary of Independent Cuban Review "Vitral"

Its Director, Member of a Vatican Council, Has Been Punished by the Government

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PINAR DEL RIO (CUBA), AUGUST 1, 2003 (Zenit.org).- "Vitral," meaning stained glass window, one of the few independent Cuban magazines celebrates its 9th anniversary, despite its director's punishment by the government.



The review, of a socio-cultural character, was created by the Center of Civic and Religious Formation of the Diocese of Pinar del Rio, on June 3, 1994, to form Cubans as free and responsible individuals able to participate in a more just and democratic society.

The publication, sponsored by Bishop Jose Siro Gonzalez Bacallao, has an editorial council headed by layman Dagoberto Valdez Hernandez of Pinar del Rio, member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. An agronomist, for the past 7 years Valdez Hernandez has been punished by the government and sent to work with a brigade collecting royal palm fibrous tissue.

The other members of the Editorial Council are: Maria del Carmen Gora, Roberto Perez, Ernesto Ortiz, P. Oscar Galceran, and Father Manuel H. De Cespedes, its ecclesiastical adviser.

"But those who really get it out are the collaborators who write for it and the subscribers throughout Cuba, more than half of whom are not committed Catholics. This encourages us and fills us with hope. Without them "Vitral" would have disappeared through inanition," Valdes explained to ZENIT.

"Both the Center and its magazine are of Catholic inspiration; they are based on the Social Doctrine of the Church, and are also inspired in the pedagogical and ethical work of Father Felix Varela, founder of our nationality; and in the philosophy of communitarian personalism of Emmanuel Mounier, and the integral humanism of Jacques Maritain," Valdes explained.

The Center, which he also directs, resulted "from an analysis of the reality of the Cuban people presented by the bishops in the year 1991, in which the Cuban's situation was summarized as being that of a depersonalized being, that is, uprooted, and discouraged."

"And on the other hand, the observation of the dismantling of the democratic fiber of the civil society which did not allow for the existence of instances, and autonomous organizations and institutions to guarantee a real atmosphere for democracy," he recalled.

In addition to the several thousand copies that circulate in the Island and its Web page, "Vitral" has started a news service through e-mail. To subscribe, see Web page: http://www.vitral.org.

To contact the Editorial Staff or to send a message of solidarity, use e-mail obipinar@cocc.co.cu, inserting in the "Subject" section: FOR VITRAL.