HAVANA, Cuba.- More than fifteen days have passed since the Cuban authorities prohibited José Ramón Viñas Alonso, Sovereign Grand Commander (SGC) of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree for the Republic of Cuba, leader of one of the the two high Cuban Masonic bodies. Viñas Alonso was about to take a flight to Florida to participate in a Masonic event. At least fifteen Grand Lodges from Mexico, the United States and Bulgaria, and institutions such as the Center for International Masonic Studies (CEMI), have expressed their rejection of the measure and their support for the SGC, however, the Grand Lodge of Cuba ( GLC) has remained silent.
The discomfort of the Cuban Freemasons and Daughters of Acacia (the female branch of Cuban Freemasonry), inside and outside the Island, is generalized in the face of an attitude that they consider cowardly and disrespectful.
“Inadmissible, it is a violation of rights and freedom, the same for which Freemasonry itself fought significantly. It cannot be tolerated, much less towards a man of such intellectual, moral and spiritual caliber, an example to follow in everything, such as the IPH José Ramón Viñas Alonso. All Freemasonry must demand justice and answers. When it comes to something as full and sacred as freedom, men cannot tremble”, said the Daughter of Acacia Patricia Mónica Revuelta Mujica.
For his part, on condition of anonymity -because his criticism could take him to the Masonic Court-, a Cuban Mason told CubaNet that we are facing “an unparalleled situation, a frontal attack on the Institution. And the officials of the Grand Lodge of Cuba have not had the nerve to confront him. It is disrespectful to the more than three thousand Scottish Freemasons (affiliated with the Supreme Council of Cuba) that there has not been an official projection in less than 24 hours, because for Freemasonry as a whole only he, the Grand Master, can speak, plus no one, and that conditions the rest”.
The Grand Master of the GLC, Francisco Javier Alfonso Vidal, who was allowed by the authorities to travel abroad the same day, far from an official pronouncement, has only issued a brief note on his Facebook profile in which he assures that “when we are back -that is, after more than a month of what happened- we will contact the relevant authorities and demand an explanation about this unfortunate fact.
“But by then it would be too late -considers the source consulted by CubaNet-, the time to choose between shame and risk, between ethics and opportunism, has already passed. To begin with, he should not have agreed to leave the country if the Sovereign was prevented, and with it he would have sent a message of unity. It is a mockery to say that on his return he will demand answers when not even the Sovereign has been given them.”
Indeed, the SGC Viñas Alonso has not been given an answer regarding its exit regulation from the country. In the office of the Directorate of Emigration and Immigration, located in the municipality of Playa, in Havana, it does not appear as regulated in the system, and when that happens it has to do with the “operating body”, that is, the Security of the Cuban State, according to the officials at the scene. Nor have the Office for Attention to Fraternal and Religious Affairs of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (CC-PCC), led by Caridad Diego, been able to issue a response.
a form of punishment
Everything seems to indicate that José Ramón Viñas Alonso is under an investigative process by State Security and that his exit from the country is also a form of punishment for his affronts to the ruling power in Cuba.
For example, five days after the massive protests of July 11 (11J) of last year, on behalf of the Supreme Council, the SGC addressed a letter to the Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel in which “it was projected as history demanded ” and the Masonic precepts, rejecting the repression unleashed during and after the social outbreak. That same day he was summoned to the Zapata y C police station in Havana, where three political police agents interrogated him and “incited” him to change his criteria, something that the SGC denounced and rejected.
Little more than a month later, he was excluded from the religious and fraternal organizations invited to meet with the Cuban ruler. The fact that the then Grand Master of the GLC, Ernesto Zamora Fernández, was invited was considered a lack of respect by the regime towards the Supreme Council. Both bodies, the GL and the Supreme Council, represent Cuban Freemasonry; the first directs the degrees from 1 to 3 (symbolic degrees), and the second, the degrees from 4 to 33 (philosophical degrees); between both institutions there is a treaty of mutual recognition and peace.
In response to this exclusion from the SGC and due to pressure from the Cuban Masonic community, Zamora Fernández, “in order to preserve Masonic unity,” even refused to meet with Díaz-Canel. However, this decision was also due to the fact that Zamora “knew that it would cost him dearly in the Institution,” says the source consulted by CubaNet.
On the other hand, the new Grand Master and officials of the GLC -elected in the elections held last March- seem little concerned about the political cost. That, or there are handlings that escape the understanding of the rest of the Masons and laymen.
“Not surprising at all”
“They have not spoken out of fear, of the clearest and hardest”, maintains the same source, belonging to the Masonic Order within the Island. “That an individual Mason is afraid is understandable. But he -the Great Master- represents more than 26 thousand men. He has a voice in international Freemasonry forums such as the IMC (Inter-American Masonic Confederation) and the World Conference of Regular Grand Lodges; that is, the impact is minimized and the echo is amplified. The Masons, individually, the most we have done has been to support, manage support, write on our social network walls. But our reach is limited,” he added.
Not even in the commemoration of the 120th anniversary of the Republic, held on May 20 at the GLC – the first time it was officially commemorated by the Institution in more than 60 years – was the matter mentioned. At the end of the evening, a closed-door meeting took place between the SGC, the Grand Secretary of the GLC, Carlos Pires, and other officials, but nothing came of it.
For their part, the United Grand Lodge of the Antilles of AL and AM and the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree of the Spanish Language for the South of the United States of America -made up of exiled Cuban Freemasons-, in an official message issued this May pointed out that the silence of the GLC “is not surprising at all” since they consider that, “for a long time, the great officials who govern the destinies of the Grand Lodge of Cuba (with a few exceptions), have acted more to satisfy the designs of the government apparatus that controls them, and not so to build solid moral temples that rescue the values of a society that is breaking down more and more, and requires forming a free and sovereign Homeland.
In the document, signed by the Grand Master Carlos Goicolea and the SGC Gabriel Vieira Barceló, they also sentenced: “That the Grand Master of Cuba does not want to approach us Cuban exiled Freemasons, does not worry us, because we know of opportunism, double standards and fear that most of the Great Teachers have lived. He worries us, yes, the damage to Freemasonry and society, since hypocrisy, double standards and cowardice are not Masonic values, on the contrary, they are enemies of it”.
Whether or not the GLC pronounces itself in the coming days is no longer the question. Definitively, the silence -or the delay in speaking- exposes those who will lead the Institution in the next three years, the internal divisions, the fear, and the shady management that, for decades, the Fraternal and Religious Affairs Office has implemented. of the CC-PCC. A pity, coming from an Institution that is so proud of its contribution to the freedom and independence of Cuba.
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