Father Kenny Fernández calls on Cubans not to be violent

Father Kenny Fernández calls on Cubans not to be violent

HAVANA, March 27. The archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, Monsignor Dionisio García Ibáñez, reiterated this Sunday the demands for food, current, and freedom that the people made during the protests that broke out in the province on March 17.

In his Palm Sunday prayer, shared on the Archbishopric’s Facebook page, the archbishop asked the Virgin for the same thing that Cubans ask of her before the altar, which is also “what they talk about in their conversations, in their homes, among his friends, among acquaintances”.

“It is also what they express in many ways because men are made to express our feelings, our way of seeing the world and to be respected by everyone,” he added.

“We want to live with greater relief, we want to try to live a normal life, in which everyone can make their own life project; that life is not a struggle and a perennial job,” asked the priest, who recalled that Cubans have They have to spend almost all their time searching for the basics of subsistence.

He also referred to the need for people to have electricity, alluding to the long blackouts that overwhelm Cubans.

“That is why our people have said and repeat, and we all know that: ‘stream and food’. Is that unattainable, is that asking too much?” questioned the priest and he himself answered their questions: “No.”

“Our people also ask for freedom. For what? Well, so that everyone can carry out their project,” he stated.

The archbishop stressed that people want to make their life plans in Cuba, but they do not see a way to carry them out in their own country and many emigrate or intend to do so.

The religious also recalled that the population has made their demands without violence, in the vast majority of cases.

In Havana, Father Kenny Fernández dedicated a homily to asking Cubans not to violate one another.

In his sermon, of which the NGO Prisoners Defenders shared a video on its social networks, the priest recalled the attacks suffered by Jesus at the hands of Roman soldiers and repeatedly asked his parishioners what the Virgin Mary would have done when witnessing those events. In the video, parishioners can be heard responding in chorus: “do not raise your hand against your brother.”

At one point in the homily, he compared the Roman soldier to an attacker who has “a pipe, a chain, a knife.” The image refers to the violence that has taken over the streets of Cuba, carried out by both criminals and police who attack dissidents or citizens who express their discontent with the regime.

When asked repeatedly what María would say to that aggressor, the parishioners chant once again “Don’t raise your hand against your brother.”

“Just raise your hand to show more love and help those who need it,” concluded Father Kenny Fernández.

This priest has stood at the side of the people since the anti-government protests of July 2021, in which Cubans asked for “freedom”, “Homeland and Life” and the end of communism.

In July 2022, he presided over a mass for the tenth anniversary of the deaths of Cuban opponents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero, for which relatives and many dissidents blame the regime. He was accompanied by the priests Brother Léster Rafael Zayas and Jorge Luis Pérez Soto.

Fray Léster Rafael Zayas, priest of the Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, recently reported in a statement that the authorities denied permission to hold processions for Holy Week in the streets of Vedado, where the church is located.

“The refusal was given about me,” explained the parish priest, who in September 2023, raised questions related to the Cuban immigration crisis and the desperation to escape the misery that has led residents on the Island to fight in the Russian side in the Ukrainian war.

Also in Granma, a priest who preferred to remain anonymous confirmed to the independent media 14 y medio the rumors that Holy Week processions would not be allowed in the diocese of Bayamo-Manzanillo.