The Bishop of Camagüey in Cuba Prohibits Ringing the Bells During Blackouts

This decision is attributed to the pressure on the Church from the Communist Party of Cuba to undermine the initiative of the priest of Esmeralda, Alberto Reyes.

The Bishop of Camagüey Wilfredo Pino Estévez /

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 19 May 2024 — The bishop of Camagüey Wilfredo Willy Pino Estévez prohibited Father Alberto Reyes from continuing to ring the bells of the Esmeralda parish as a symbolic protest against the blackouts in that municipality, sources close to the Catholic Church confirmed to 14ymedio, attributing this decision to pressure from the Cuban Communist Party to undermine the religious initiative.

“For the good of the Church and Father Alberto,” Willy issued the warning, sources say, and was “clear” in prohibiting this form of protest. The decision comes a few hours after the 30 bells that rang in Esmeralda on Friday night went viral on networks and were remarked on in independent media. As Reyes published on Facebook, the bells were for the “agonizing death of our freedom and our rights, the suffocation and collapse of our lives.”

The pressures from the PCC Religious Affairs Office, headed by Caridad Diego, are constant, but in the last three years, after the demonstrations of 11 July 2021, they have intensified, especially with the prohibition of processions and celebrations in numerous churches for fear of new protests.

A source from the archdiocese of Havana stated at the end of last April, after a proposal for dialogue from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba (COCC) expressed by its secretary, Ariel Suárez, became known, that at the diocesan level “the tension” with the Cuban Communist Party (PCC )“is worse than ever.” The same source asserted that relations between the regime and the Church continue to be “timid” and that, in any case, as he insisted, “the Government is very tense.”

Alberto Reyes, one of the most critical voices of the Catholic Church against the regime, had said that ringing the bell in the middle of the blackout was “a way of calling for the necessary dawn in our land sunk in night” and, furthermore, he intended to awaken a people he considered “domesticated.”

Reyes has been one of the ecclesiastical actors most harassed by State Security through warning calls, acts of repudiation and threats of judicial prosecution. In an interview given in July 2022 to 14ymedio, the cleric stated that the Cuban Government “has more than demonstrated its inability to build a society that is not only prosperous, but also capable of responding to the most basic aspirations of human beings.”


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