Freemason Lodge in Cuba Extols Jose Rizal
Thursday, 15 April 2010 11:41 Public Information Service Unit [DFA]
15 April 2010 - The Philippine Embassy in Cuba reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that Philippine national hero Jose Rizal's virtues and heroism were extolled at a program on April 12 in Havana marking the 54th anniversary of the founding of the Jose Rizal Masonic Lodge of Cuba [Logia Masonica Jose Rizal].
In a stirring oratory, Marciano Perez Quintero, a prominent Cuban Freemason, touched the hearts of his listeners when he recounted the life of Rizal as a dedicated patriot who bore no hatred for those who snuffed out his life by firing squad "in a cold December morning".
Orator of the Lodge, Alfonso Hernandez Ramirez gave another moving account in poetry form, of how Rizal dedicated his life and talents to the goal of enlightening and liberating his people since his youth, and even in exile in Dapitan.
Guest speaker and Philippine Ambassador to Cuba Dr. MacArthur F. Corsino, a Master Mason himself [and a Senior DeMolay, mod.], stressed that the national heroes of both Cuba and the Philippines, Jose Marti and Jose Rizal, were Masons. He said that from their pens and their blood arose two free and independent nations.
Ambassador Corsino added that his affinity with Cuban Masons helped him in his work of strengthening Cuban-Philippine relations on a people-to-people level.
Conducted entirely in Spanish, the program began with remarks by the Master of Jose Rizal Lodge Rene Alberto Duarte Mustelier.
An overflow crowd of over 200 Freemasons and family members attended, at the 10th floor of the Grand Lodge Temple in midtown Havana.
The Jose Rizal Masonic Lodge of Cuba was founded in Havana on April 12, 1956 by a handful of Cuban Freemasons well-versed in the parallel developments of Cuban and Philippine history and appreciative of the greatness of Rizal.
Similar to the Philippines, the Cuban revolution against Spain was spearheaded by Freemasons. Aside from their national heroes Marti and Rizal being Freemasons, the leaders who first declared independence for their respective countries, were Freemasons: Carlos Manuel de Cespedes of Cuba in 1868 and Emilio Aguinaldo of the Philippines in 1898 - who also both became the first Presidents of their countries.
Although Cuba is a Communist state and belief in God as their first principle, [the] Masonry remains a strong civic, non-political fraternity in the country. Founded in 1859, there are today over 40,000 Masons and 400 lodges across the island-nation.