No More Religious Freedom: The Crisis Threatening Cuba's Christians
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Cuba's communist regime is cracking down on Christians by destroying churches, stealing property, and imprisoning pastors.
According to a Christian Solidarity Worldwide report, the Cuban government has launched a major crackdown against churches and has seized and demolished at least 1,400 church buildings. The government claims the churches are unregistered, and therefore, illegal.
The government regime's war on religious freedom has intensified over the last year.
The report cites more than 1,000 cases of religious freedom violations, including the "destruction of church property, arbitrary detention and other forms of harassment, in particular seizure of religious leaders' personal belongings."
More than 1,000 churches were officially confiscated between January and July of this year, with 100 of those churches under the threat of demolition.
Christians are often "violently dragged away by security agents as they leave their homes or upon arriving at church services."
So far, CSW has documented at least nine incidents this year where pastors were harassed and detained as government officials demolished their church buildings.
In one of the most serious cases, Rev. Marion Felix Lleonart Barroso was arrested on March 20, just hours before U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Cuba on an official visit.
When government demolition teams leave Christian churches in ruin, often Christians will continue to worship in the piles of rubble.
"CSW is alarmed by the escalation of freedom of religion or belief violations throughout Cuba, but humbled by the courage and perseverance of the many religious communities who continue to peacefully resist government pressure," CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said.
Thomas urges the United States and other Western countries to pressure Cuba to stop violating human rights.
Meanwhile CSW says Christians around the world should pray for the protection of Cuba's pastors, the health of the ones who are already locked up in Cuba's prisons, and that Christians would be treated fairly at the hands of their government.
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