Shrouded in Silence, Cuban Religious Leader Spends Six Months in Prison

Thursday, September 3, 2015
The Castro regime recently punished Reverend Jesús Noel Carballeda with six months in prison -- without trial or charges -- for holding "authorized" religious services.

We challenge anyone to find a story in the mainstream media over the last six months raising Reverend Carballeda's imprisonment.

Or by John Kerry's entourage to Havana last month, including former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, U.S. Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

Or by farm bureaus, lobbyists and business groups.

Just imagine how good people of faith in Iowa, Arkansas, Georgia and throughout the American heartland, would react if they knew about these egregious attacks on religious freedom by the Castro regime.

From Christian Solidarity Worldwide:

Reverend Carbadella Released From Prison

Reverend Jesús Noel Carballeda, a 45 year-old Cuban pastor of an unregistered church in Havana who had been imprisoned for six months for holding unauthorized religious services, was released on 31 August.

Reverend Carballeda was detained in early February and imprisoned in the Valle Grande prison in San Antonio de los Baños outside of Havana. He does not appear to have been tried, but while in prison he was informed by government officials that he would be held for six months as punishment for his continued unauthorized religious activity.

Reverend Carballeda was previously imprisoned in 2000 for four months after militant communist neighbors filed legal complaints about church services he held in his family home in Marianao, Havana. Following his imprisonment, he was put on probation and made to check in with the authorities on a regular basis. While he was barred from holding any religious activity in the family home he continued to lead his church, holding services in parks, rented halls and other private homes.

Reverend Carballeda's church is linked to the Apostolic Movement, a fast growing network of protestant churches which the Cuban government has refused to register. Because the religious group is unregistered, all of the affiliated church's activities are technically illegal and they are unable to apply for permits for a designated place of worship. In March, Reverend Carballeda’s wife told CSW: "We do not want to bother anyone. We just need a place to worship. We are forced to meet in the open air, in parks or rented rooms as [the authorities] will not give us legal recognition."

The detention of Reverend Carballeda is part of a larger crackdown on religious freedom in Cuba over the past few years. In 2014, CSW documented 220 separate cases of religious freedom violations, up from 185 in 2013 and 120 in 2012. Unregistered religious groups have been a particular target of government repression, with religious leaders reporting harassment, fines and threats of confiscation or destruction of property. The case of Reverend Yiorvis Bravo Denis, a leader in the Apostolic Movement whose home was arbitrarily expropriated by the government in 2013, has been filed with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, petitioning for precautionary measures.