Priest Alberto Reyes Rings the Bells of His Cuban Parish in Protest Against the Blackouts

The ringing broke out in the darkness of the small town of Esmeralda, with less than 30,000 inhabitants, in Camagüey

In a video sent to this newspaper, the priest’s hand can be seen activating the bell, which hangs from a thin piece of wood from the parish tower / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 18 May 2024 — The bells of the Esmeralda parish, in Camagüey, tolled this Friday during the blackout. The warning of the Catholic priest Alberto Reyes was fulfilled, who promised to protest with 30 bells against the “agonizing death of our freedom and our rights, the suffocation and sinking of our lives,” represented, according to him, in the constant electrical outages that overwhelm the population.

The ringing broke the darkness of the small town of less than 30,000 inhabitants where the priest, one of the most critical voices of the Catholic Church against the regime, exercises his ministry. In a video that Reyes sent to this newspaper, the priest’s hand can be seen activating the bell, which hangs from a thin piece of wood from the parish tower, while another shot, taken from outside, shows the town plunged into total darkness.

Solemn and spaced, the peals – similar to those played during a funeral procession – are, the priest said this Friday on Facebook, “a way of calling for the necessary dawn on our land sunk in night.” With this gesture of symbolic protest, which Reyes describes as “a voice lost in the loneliness and nothingness” of the Island, he intends to awaken a people that he considers “domesticated.”

“We are a people who have been convinced that, no matter what we do, nothing will ever change. “We are a people imprisoned in many ways, to which our captors, before the minimal reaction of protest or search for liberation, have responded with the brutality of those who are not willing to give in, even if they see us languish and die slowly,” he said this Friday.

He denounced the repression of protests that characterizes the regime and criticized the passivity of Cubans in the face of the hundreds of political prisoners who remain in prisons. He urged people to carry out gestures of “peaceful resistance,” such as abandoning official institutions, removing posters in favor of the system in private homes, educating their children to “reject duplicity” and using “the paths that one can find.”

Reyes, who remains in the country despite harassment from State Security, is part of a group of priests and nuns who have not hesitated to openly express their criticism of the Government. This position has brought him difficulties not only with state authorities, but also with ecclesiastical authorities.


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