An unusual Sunday, with barely twenty-three degrees centigrade in Santiago de Cuba, I listened to him speak from the altar. Over two hundred people attended his sermon in the wooden church in a poor neighborhood with the mountains as a backdrop. To me, bored by the liturgies, I was surprised to see him celebrate from reality and to take Jesus as reference to deal with today. José Conrado is a difficult man for those who are accustomed to speaking—only them—to a multitude. A Santiaguan, hearty and cheerful, able to give a piece of his mind to someone who dares to upset his congregation. Annoying evidence for those who keep quiet and a hard nut for those accustomed to placing gags.
So it didn’t surprise me to see him pick up on the feeling of many people and address an open letter to Raúl Castro.* I see he’s not waiting for an answer to his missive: he already has it. It is that silent prayer that goes out from each of his parishioners, the way they cry out for changes, without raising their voices. In his small Church of Santa Teresita everything has been said and—I who was there—say to them that it has the tone of the petition, which cannot, nor should, wait any longer.
*This letter was translated into English by the Generation Y team and posted as a page on this site. The original letter, in Spanish, can be read here.