Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

January 8, 1999, Cuba Free Press.


HAVANA - Ogbe-Yono, the written "letter" that governs in Cuba and the world this year 1999, forecasts an increase of blood-related sickness in newborns and school-age children, according to 450 Santeria priests or babalawos of Ifá, which is part of the religion of African origin that is followed to varying degrees by many Cubans. The priests were gathered here for the opening of the New Year ceremony. The term Ogbe-Yono was not further clarified.

The Ogbe-Yono letter also warned adults about anemia and leukemia, digestive and respirator problems, venereal diseases and other contagious illnesses, including ophthalmologic and neurologic epidemics. It warned men about prostatic and virility problems caused by malfunctions of the central neurologic system.

The priests said that this year the governing deity will be Asojuano (Babalú Ayé), together with Nanú (considered to be the mother of Asojuano). The prediction of Ifá is: "I will go to Achegúnn Ota, Leseolofin, which means 'overcome difficulties and enemies at the base of the one that possesses dignifying powers.'"

This information was given during a press conference offered by the commission in charge of publishing the sign of the year. Presiding at the conference was a priest of Ifá, Guillermo Diago. Among other measures, the babalawos recommended that people see doctors, avoid eating late and avoid the ingestion of alcoholic beverages, comply with the campaign for the cleanliness and hygiene in the city and respect the status of matrimony.

The babalawos also said there will be an increase in violence, maritime disasters, invasion of land by the sea, excessive rain and storms, and a corresponding danger of building collapses.

The consultation with Ifá is produced with a wood counter (round, representing the head and the world) and other attributes of the babalawos. Since 1986 this commission of priests, the most prestigious of Cuba, has united annually for the purpose of releasing its socio-religious forecasts to its believers and to non-believers. They are supported by other priests of Ifá in Spain, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Italy, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Brazil, México, United States, and Panamá.

This is a major association in the world for this type of ceremony. The document with the predictions of Ifá calls for the unity of the babalawos so that "we sit at the table of conversations without pettiness or opportunist feelings and produce only one letter to lead the people."

In reference to what is a call from the "Yoruba Cultural Association of Cuba," Lázaro Cuesta, babalawo author of the rebirth of "The Letter of the Year," said: "We want a respectful and serious unity and we have been working for this unity for 13 years. But here are found the most brilliant babalawos in the world, not only from a social or political point of view but from a religious point of view. Come to talk to us, we are the majority! We are not going to participate in any meeting previously arranged, specially in the house of the lion," the religious leader said, adding that the majority of the discrepancies with the cultural association were due to disputed criteria in assuming the ceremony of the "The Letter of the Year."

He said, "It (the Letter) always should be brought out by the youngest babalawo because the oldest could manipulate with his experience."

The "Yoruba Cultural Association" is an organization supported by the government and the Office for Religious Affairs of the Communist Party (Oficina de Asuntos Religiosos del Partido Comunista). "The Letter (La Letra)" published for 1999 was also called "Ochetura y Eyiogbe." The majority of the people following this religion are guided by "The Letter" traditionally produced by the commission directed by Mr. Cuesta.

On this occasion, the commission was directed by babalawo Guillermo Diago. The ceremony usually starts at noon on December 31 and ends at 6 a.m. the morning of January 1.

According to Lázaro Cuesta, to a mason rated 33, the letter or sign governing his group is not the individualistic approach of any of the families in the group. It is rather "the analysis of the values of all the babalawos who, gathering together, produce a unique document," and do not wish "to proselytize or lead to any disagreement with the social/political/religious criteria that other groups may have."

They want only to "deliver a message of Ifá through our orientations."

Efrén Martínez Pulgarón, Cuba Free Press.

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