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Prisoners Defenders Report Exposes Violations of Religious Freedom in Cuba

MIAMI, United States. — The non-governmental organization Prisoners Defenders presented the report on Tuesday Constitutional Reform and Religious Freedom in Cubaa study based on field research that included the testimony of 56 religious and lay leaders.

This is an extension made by Prisoners Defenders to the report of the same name published last July by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The research, which incorporates a survey of 56 Cuban religious and lay leaders of four different creeds in 9 of the 15 provinces of the Island, concludes that the Island has experienced a setback in terms of religious freedom and that the 2019 Constitution has not offered no progress or better in that regard.

The report points out that the Magna Carta that is applied on the Island “does not effectively grant new rights” and that it “introduces limitations, giving carte blanche to current laws to limit them.”

The survey found that at least 93% of Cuban religious suffered some type of repression. Of that percentage, 23% claimed to suffer limitations regularly.

Likewise, 84% of those surveyed revealed having suffered threats “for reasons of thought, conscience or religion”, while 93% have references to religious leaders who have suffered “repression, searches, surveillance or who have had to emigrate due to the repression”.

Prisoners Defenders and the USCIRF agree that the Catholic Church is the one that “suffers the least repression” due to the “international organization and defense” it has.

The report adds that the Yoruba or Afro-Cuban religion does not escape the repression of the communist regime. In this regard, it should be noted that although the practice of this religion is widespread throughout the island, “it has never been officially permitted or legitimized” in the country.

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