14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, January 30, 2019 — First of all, I must confess: I don’t agree with any religion. I hardly have metaphysical doubts, which doesn’t even allow me to classify myself as an atheist. I have always believed that religions are a kind of discipline for the spirit and that mine is notoriously undisciplined.
Now that I have confessed I say: the Catholic Church, its bishops, its clergy, its laypersons, its believers, have been profoundly offended by the Cuban Government in the days in which the remains of the cardinal Jaime Ortega began their eternal repose amidst the ceremonies related with his funerals.
I say “the Government” because I suppose that the Ministry of the Interior is part of it, and I deduce that the “organs of State Security” are subordinate to said ministry. And so I wonder from what office came the order to prevent Dagoberto Valdés from being able to attend those funerals; the activist Iliana Hernández, the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, and the journalist Luz Escobar, among others, from being able to approach Havana cathedral or Colon Cemetery. Who directed the cordoning off of the cathedral plaza to reduce its access to a single point?
I wonder if, in agreement with the due respect owed between government institutions and the entities of civil society, law enforcement, commanded by the Ministry of the Interior, coordinated such measures with the ecclesiastical hierarchy. I imagine not.
But it so happens that law enforcement behaved as if every step they took was perfectly coordinated with all the parties involved. For that reason they argued with Alcántara that they would not let him go to the street because “it was necessary to respect the cardinal’s death” and suggested to Dagoberto Valdés that during the ceremony “things [could] happen” that law enforcement could not allow.
I don’t want to believe that the Church asked the Ministry of the Interior to take such precautionary measures. I resist accepting that the Ministry asked the Church’s permission to adopt these measures. But that is what State Security has led people to believe and as a consequence the Church, since it is not going to protest, has taken on the obligation to publicly clarify that it was not even consulted.
I recognize that I have no right, not even via my baptism, to demand that the Catholic hierarchy make some type of declaration on the matter, but it happens that that hierarchy boasts that the deceased cardinal influenced the thaw and the “reconciliation” between the Government and the Church, that he built bridges for those who held different philosophical positions to understand each other, instead of being offended from the extremes.
Since those things fall to me I have the right to have an opinion, even though I have never baptized my children, nor have I married at the altar. The Church has contracted obligations with this citizen and I am waiting for it to fulfill them.
Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera
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