Cuban church leaders publish joint declaration on religious freedom
Cuban religious leaders finished a visit to Washington, DC last week by publishing a joint declaration (see below) called “Thirty Questions for the Cuban Government”. Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, Missionary Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez and Apostle Omar Gude Perez drafted the statement and questions which they say show that freedom of religion or belief is not respected in Cuba.
The members of the group, who represent both a legally recognized, historic religious organisation and a newer religious movement considered by the Cuban government to be illegal, spent a week in Washington, DC in a visit facilitated by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). They met with policy makers and NGOs to brief them on continued violations of freedom of religion or belief in Cuba.
The declaration and questions outline the most pressing concerns raised by the group, including the government’s continued refusal to extend official recognition to newer religious groups, the approval or denial of legal rights to registered groups based on perceived political support and cooperation, and the sweeping authority over religious organisations and activities held by the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA) of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. The group pointed to mass arrests during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI and new restrictions, including a decree that as of January 2014, churches and religious groups will no longer be able to hold individual bank accounts and existing accounts must be consolidated into one per denomination or organisation as proof that the government is not interested in true reforms that would protect freedom of religion or belief.
Missionary Marcheco, a blogger and professor at the Luis Manuel Gonzalez Peña Baptist Theological Seminary, also pointed to excessive government intrusiveness into the internal affairs of religious organisations, pointing out that the minutes and decisions of every internal meeting must be turned over for the approval of ORA. Apostle Gude Perez, a national leader of the fast growing charismatic church group the Apostolic Movement, expressed frustration at the continued harassment of churches affiliated with his group, supposedly because of their unregistered status, at the hands of the same officials who have denied their repeated attempts to register.
While the group was composed of Protestant leaders, they were keen to point out that other groups, including Catholics and Afro-Cuban religious groups suffer the same abuses, and held up the case of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as an example of a group that suffers particularly severe persecution.
at 8:45 AM Thursday, September 26, 2013
- ► 2016 (550)
- ► 2015 (1080)
- ► 2014 (1177)
09/22 - 09/29
- The Low Standard of Cuba Reporting: On Athletes
- Olbermann on Castro's Baseball Scheme
- Lawmakers: Cuba Should be Sanctioned for Weapons P...
- WaPo: Spain Turns Blind-Eye on Paya Case
- Tweet of the Day
- Cuba: Where Rap is War
- Cubans Show Hunger for Freedom
- Highlights From Cuban Weapons Proliferation Hearin...
- Quote of the Day
- Chairman Salmon's Statement on Cuban Weapons Proli...
- Tweet of the Day
- Maduro Tried to Smuggle Cuban Agents into U.S.
- Must-Read: Thirty Questions for the Cuban Regime o...
- Hearing: On Cuba's Weapons Proliferation
- Panama: Cuban Weapons Shipment Violates U.N. Sanct...
- Sovereignty Cannot be a Shield for Tyrants
- Tweet of the Week
- U.S. Calls for End of Arbitrary Detentions by Cuba...
- Rubio Presses State on Paya Death Inquiry
- Senator Rubio's Letter to The New York Times
- The Effects of Castro's Travel Blackmail
- Young Teacher Murdered in "Low Crime" (Low Informa...
- Quote of the Day
- On Castro's (Perverse) Luxury Resorts
- Foreign Investors Learn Hard (Albeit Late) Lessons...
- Castro Studies "Putinismo" to Survive
- Quote of the Week: Brazil's Collusion With Castro
- R.I.P. Oscar Espinosa Chepe
- ▼ 09/22 - 09/29 (28)
- ► 2012 (1158)
- ► 2011 (1031)
- ► 2010 (1042)
- ► 2009 (933)