Churches demolished and pastors arrested in latest government crackdown
Cuba: Churches demolished and pastors arrested in latest government
Harry Farley JUNIOR STAFF WRITER 12 January 2016
Two churches have been demolished and several church leaders arrested in
the latest state crackdown in Cuba.
Both churches were part of the Apostolic Movement which is unregistered
by the Cuban government and were destroyed without warning on January 8,
according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
“Just after 4am police and state security agents broke down the door and
handcuffed Reverend Bernardo de Quesada Salomon and his wife Damaris,
taking them to two separate prisons while the demolition took place,”
said a statement from the religious freedom charity.
“Damaris was released at around 1pm while Rev de Quesada Salomon was
dropped off by state security after 3pm, after the church had been
destroyed. Their son was handcuffed and held in the house during the
demolition of the open-air structure.”
The demolitions follow aborted attempts to destroy an Assemblies of God
church in Santiago, Cuba, last November. Officials halted the planned
destruction after church members held a sit-in at the church building.
However this time a number of other church leaders in Cuba were
“arbitrarily detained or confined to their homes by state security
agents,” CSW said, “presumably to stop them from going to support the
churches being demolished”.
Church leaders in Cuba have pointed to the “worrying context” of these
latest demolitions. Last year alone, 2,000 churches were declared
illegal and over 100 were designated for demolition.
Chief executive of CSW, Mervyn Thomas, said he was deeply concerned by
the events and branded the treatment of the two pastors “unacceptable”.
“Contrary to the hopes of many that political dialogue with United
States and the European Union would lead to more freedom in Cuba, over
the past year we have seen a severe regression in terms of freedom of
religion or belief and shrinking space for religious groups to operate,”
“We call on the EU and the US to make freedom of religion or belief a
central component of its dialogues with Cuba and to insist on
improvement in this area.”
Source: Cuba: Churches demolished and pastors arrested in latest
government crackdown | Christian News on Christian Today –