Apparently, Pope Benedict XVI's trip was not as "transformational" as they'd hoped.
To the contrary, it has only emboldened the regime's misbehavior.
The Obama Administration should take note.
From The Vatican Insider in Italy's La Stampa newspaper:
Cuba in 2012: Zero reforms and growing religious repression
A year after the Pope’s visit to the country, the situation is still bleak in terms of the right to freedom of expression
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a human rights defense organisation that focuses on religious rights, recorded a significant rise in religious freedom violations in Cuba in 2012. CSW stated it had asked Cuba’s leader, Raul Castro, to make serious improvements to guarantee religious freedom in 2013. In 2012, violations took place throughout Cuba, as central government targeted both individuals and organisations.
According to reports which CSW received from religious representatives on different parts of the island, cases of rights violations multiplied in the last few days and weeks of 2012. A Protestant church affiliated to the Apostolic Movement in Camaguey was threatened with demolition on 29 December. On 30 December nine women from the “Ladies in White” movement in Holguin were arrested in the early hours of the morning and put in prison until the end of Sunday mass.
These minor episodes may not have caused much of a stir but are proof of a negative attitude towards faithful. CSW found that in 2012 there were as many as 120 cases of religious freedom violations, some of which involved hundreds of individuals and entire religious denominations. CSW estimates do not include men and women who were arrested and kept under surveillance for the entire duration of Benedict XVI’s visit to the island last March. The number of local human rights organisations has risen to 200.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide holds that the greatest burden of the repression was borne by the Catholic Church; the violations, such as the arbitrary arrest and detention of people preparing to participate in ecclesiastical activities were mainly against Catholics but some other Christian denominations were affected too. Baptists, Pentecostals and Methodists in various parts of Cuba have sent reports of abuse and pressure from state security forces.
What is more, the State is continuing to pave the way for more violations. State officials are still refusing to add Churches to the list of “registered” Churches, therefore preventing officials from joining certain groups; in particular one fast-growing Protestant network, called Movimiento Apostólico. A Mormon Church in Havana, which was previously denied official recognition, has now been shut down and threats are frequently made against other Churches. One of the most serious cases was witnessed at the beginning of 2012. A Pentecostal pastor, Reutilio Columbie, was brutally beaten in the city of Moa, leaving him with permanent brain injuries. Columbie holds that the incident had been planned by local Communist Party officials. No inquiry has been carried out into the case to date.
at 10:19 AM Thursday, January 10, 2013
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