14ymedio, Havana, 15 November 2021 — Camagüey priest Alberto Reyes, who has demonstrated on many occasions against the Cuban Government, has released a video in which he claims to have been warned that priests like him who participate in the Civic March for Change called by the Archipelago opposition collective will be arrested.
“They have called from the Office of Religious Affairs to report that they are aware of the intention of Father Ronaldo Montes de Oca, Castor Álvarez Devesa and me to participate in the November 15 demonstration with our people and that they report that if we participate in this demonstration, we are going to be arrested,” he explains, looking at the camera.
For this reason, the priest refuses to back down and indicates that his function is precisely that of being with the citizens who demand freedom. “We are priests to preach the Gospel, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ speaks of freedom, it speaks of justice and it speaks of truth, this is what our people are asking for. If being detained is the price for being consistent with the preaching of the Gospel, so be it,” he accepts.
Reyes confirms that this Monday he will go out to support the 15N (15 Novmber). “God willing, tomorrow [Monday] we will be accompanying our people through our streets, which are still imprisoned,” he concludes.
Sources linked to the Catholic Church maintain that the head of the Office of Religious Affairs of the Communist Party of Cuba, Caridad Diego Bello, has said in this regard: “Neither amnesty, nor indulgence. There will be no soft hand with priests or religious who participate in the 15N.”
On November 9, a group of 15 Catholic priests signed a letter in which they demanded that the Police not beat their own people. “We do not want blood to be shed again,” or “to hear gunshots again,” they added, “that is not the path that will lead us to the Cuba we need and that we all desire.”
The letter, addressed to the National Revolutionary Police, State Security and “all those who in these days have been summoned to repress the citizen march of November 15,” urged that violence be abandoned. “Don’t hit the protesters because both you and they live amidst so much scarcity and misery.”
“When what happened on November 15 is written, there will only be two alternatives: talk about those who were summoned to beat and repress but decided to protect and take care of their compatriots; or tell how you hit your brother and how you repressed the person demanding what many others yearn for,”the text said.
Just two days later, the curia joined the petition more smoothly. “Every Cuban should be able to express and share freely and with respect, their personal opinions, their thoughts or their convictions, even when they disagree with the majority,” said the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, which spoke of the “increase in a climate of tension and confrontation that is not healthy and does not benefit anyone. “
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