Who facilitated the discussions?


Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

At that time, the chief of police and I handled the meeting. We identified the people to speak, in an orderly fashion--if we could maintain an orderly fashion.



Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I helped the Comite maintain some reasonable structure and to run their meetings in a manner that they could get something accomplished, that I did. The dialogue we had helped to-- either before the meeting or after the meting, I didn't run off from the meeting right away, because that's rude ,number one, but there's things people would tell you informally as you just talk, now you get a better insight. That's the way I did it.



Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
I think the beginning to turn that around is when we chaired that first hostile meeting. They saw us working impartially or working with the chief to try to, number one, control the meeting. Also, I tried to identify the people I had met by name. I had met only three or four, but if I knew someone, I'd say "Bill why don't you speak now," or something like that. That began to build that slight trust. Remember, the people didn't know us then at all, except for the small group I'd met with. Then, of course, when they set up a meeting I was present. I was at practically all the meetings that followed thereafter. So I met with them constantly




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Other than trying to lead them in their discussions to make them a little bit more fruitful, because they would get off on a tangent sometimes, or somebody would get upset or mad, so we'd have to bring it back to whatever we were talking about. That I did because when the El Comite first started, they wanted me to sit almost as chairman. But I told them "I don't want to be the chairman, you pick the chairman or the president, and that person is the one who should lead it, I will assist your president, but I won't chair the meeting."



Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The other thing you said that you did consistently was facilitate meetings?

Answer:
Since I was co-chairing the meeting initially, until they appointed a chairman, I tried to get them to focus their discussion, help them go in the same direction.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Do you set the ground rules before you get to the table, or is that something that you do once you get to the table?

Answer:
I do a little bit of both. Some I will set rules beforehand, but then I will ask at the table if they have any more that they'd like to add. But the parties are relying on me to control the process. They really want that. Usually, these groups have encountered each other before and gotten absolutely nowhere, and both think it's because the other side was out of control. So an important piece of what I'm providing here, aside from any mediation skills, and my help identifying interests and the kind of things that you and I might talk about, is that I make sure that the process is not going to get out of control. "Trust me. They're not going to be able to roll you over. I'm in control." And I try to demonstrate that from very early on. That's probably just my style. I know there are other mediators who are much more easy-going, kind of laissez-fare from the beginning. I start fairly controlling; I hold the reins fairly tightly. As I see that progress is being made, I loosen up. It can get to the point where they almost don't need me anymore, and that's fine. It's almost like being a classroom teacher which I've never been, by the way but if you don't take control at the beginning, then it's going to be very difficult to get it later. So I start off controlling.






Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What did the people inside the camp see your role as being?

Answer:
Helpful, that we were a resource that they could use and that our presence there was helpful to them.

Question:
By keeping each side safe from the other, was that how you were helpful?

Answer:
Well, we helped to maintain a working relationship. Whenever it was threatened we would help to clarify things, make sure things didn't turn into a worse situation. It was understood that the refugees had to be inside these camps. They understood that, they chose to flee Cuba. At the beginning they said they chose to go to America, but knowing that they would be picked up and sent to Guantanamo. That's not where they wanted to go, but they knew. Nobody went and grabbed them and brought them over. They came of their own volition. They would be there and some would have to go back, they understood that, some would be allowed into the U.S. It was not that they were prisoners or enemies, it was just they were there, and the military was supposed to take care of them physically and in different ways.







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