enero 14, 2011
CUBAN COMMUNIST PARTY OFFICIAL ADMITS PERSECUTION OF PROTESTANT GROUP.
For Immediate Release. 14 January 2010
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has released a video in which a Cuban Communist Party official openly confirms a government strategy to target churches affiliated with the fast growing Apostolic Movement, a protestant network.
The short film, recorded clandestinely early in 2010 and smuggled out of the country, shows Caridad Diego Bello, the head of the Religious Affairs Office of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, explaining the government’s strategy to crackdown on the Apostolic Movement.
For years, church leaders of all denominations have complained of difficulties with Diego, particularly in receiving permission to repair old church buildings or build new facilities. This is the first time; however, that video evidence has been published, showing Diego publicly admitting that the government is working to eradicate the Apostolic Movement.
In the video, Diego states “…we are taking measures and will continue to take measures, the hands of our authorities will not waver, and I don’t do this in a manner of warning but rather to inform, so that the illegalities that groups like these are committing can be countered in every province and in every territory... there are some would-be leaders of these type of organizations that have had been relocated from their homes, that have lost their temple. There are people that visit us that will no longer be able to enter the country again, there are people that have been fined for facilitating the violation of immigration status by foreigners in Cuba, we have confiscated literature because it has not entered the country via the appropriate channels, but rather under the table.”
Churches affiliated with the Apostolic Movement have documented consistent religious liberty violations over the past few years, including numerous cases of arbitrary detention of church leaders and the destruction of church buildings. CSW has also released a second video showing the site of the demolition of one of the largest churches linked to the Apostolic Movement in Santiago de Cuba.
CSW’s Director of Advocacy, Andrew Johnston said, “Religious leaders of all denominations told CSW earlier this year that the Apostolic Movement has been singled out for intense persecution. This video is confirmation, from the very mouth of the top official in charge of religious affairs in the country that the government is working to stamp out the group. Just a few months ago, leaders of the Apostolic Movement publicly asked that the government enact legislation on religious activity. We join with them in calling on the government to cease immediately its harassment of these churches and to establish a clear legal framework for all religious groups to operate in the country.”
For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.csw.org.uk.
CSW is the UK’s leading human rights advocacy organization specializing in religious freedom, working on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promoting religious liberty for all.
Notes to Editors
1. Transcripts of the videos are available from the CSW Press Office. Both videos can be viewed on the CSW youtube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ChristianSolidarity
2. Religious groups and associations in Cuba are not regulated by any government body, but instead come under the authority of the Office of Religious Affairs of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, headed by Caridad Diego Bello.
3. The Apostolic Coalition represents religious groups associated with the Apostolic Movement. The movement is a non-denominational, Charismatic, Protestant network of church groups which are outside of the traditionally recognized Christian denominations in Cuba. CSW has documented intense government persecution of church leaders linked to the network over the past three years. More information is available in our annual report on religious freedom in Cuba, available in Spanish and in English at http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=report&id=128
4. Pastor Omar Gude Perez, one of the main leaders of the movement, is currently serving a six-year and seven-month sentence on what CSW believes to be false charges. Pastor Bernardo de Quesada, another key leader in the group, was a victim of arbitrary detention on numerous occasions over the past year. Pastor Alain Toledano, the leader of the destroyed church in Santiago de Cuba, reported that in March, members of the Communist Party and agents of the National Police surrounded his family home threatening to evict them and to confiscate all their goods.
5. Bibles and Christian literature are legally only allowed to be imported via the Cuban Council of Churches, an umbrella group which represents a relatively small minority of Protestant churches. Leaders of all denominations have complained to CSW that these results in severe shortages of religious materials and that they often have no option but to bring them in through other, unofficial channels.
Nota del Editor: Se publica esta información como fue recibida: en Inglés. Salta a la vista que la Sicaria Mayor para el control de la Libertad Religiosa en Cuba, Caridad Diego, se reserva el derecho de hablar en una Iglesia, no sabemos cual, y allí ataca sin contemplación a una denominación religiosa, el Movimiento Apostólico que no entra en componendas con el gobierno dictatorial ni sus lacayos del Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba. Escuchen en las propias palabras de la jefa del sicariato que opinión tiene sobre estos cristianos cubanos y que medidas represivas han tomado o van a tomar contra ellos. Esto se habló dentro de una Iglesia cubana y ante un auditorio, suponemos que de cristianos cubanos de otras denominaciones y que parece que ahi le estan haciendo el coro a la Jefa.