Persecution in Cuba: NGO recorded at least 936 attacks by the dictatorship against religious freedom in 2023

Persecution in Cuba: NGO recorded at least 936 attacks by the dictatorship against religious freedom in 2023
The Cuban regime's attacks against religious freedom on the island are increasing

he Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH) I reported this Wednesday that in 2023 it was recorded “At least 936 measures against the exercise of religious freedom” in Cuba She denounced its banReligious processions for this Holy Week.

“Data collected by OCDH shows violations against people who publicly identify as religious, as well as against others who regularly or sporadically attend religious services as an expression of faith or civic commitment,” the Madrid-based NGO said in a statement.

It also condemns the report “A ban on holding Holy Week processions in some locations in the country, such as El Vedado (Havana city).” Or Bayamo, where one of the worst protests took place on March 17.

The memorandum accuses the Cuban regime ofUse of “monitoring and control systems” Restricting or persecuting any public expression, especially political, of those who assume a civil commitment in accordance with the values ​​of their faith.

According to the organization, “the most common repressive acts in this area were Arbitrary arrests and sieges of homes To prevent attendance at Sunday Masses.”

He referred to the specific case of the opposition women in white, “who were victims of hundreds of anti-religious acts, usually against freedom of worship.”

The Díaz-Canel regime bans two processions on the occasion of Holy Week (Reuters/Alexandre Meneghini)

The report cites a religious freedom study conducted by this NGO in 2023, which states that “68% of Cubans consulted know someone of a faith who is harassed, repressed, threatened or obstructed in their daily life for reasons related to their faith.”

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For their part, organizations and opponents in Miami demanded this The United Nations expels the Cuban regime from its Human Rights CouncilArguing about the constant violation of these rights taking place on the Caribbean island, they called on the international community to “boycott” the country.

The Free Cuba Center today condemned the island's “record of human rights violators” and asked the United Nations to expel this country from the aforementioned Council, headquartered in Geneva, which is currently implementing the so-called Universal Periodic Review (EPU). To Cuba.

The organization, which echoed similar calls made by Amnesty International and PEN International, organized a meeting with the press in South Florida in which Rufina Velasquez, the daughter of the imprisoned Cuban dissident, testified. Ramon Velasquez Toranzo.

Velasquez Toranzo was arrested on March 10 in Santiago de Cuba, while demonstrating “his form of faith and making an appeal to the Cuban people” from the National Campus of Ermita de la Caridad del Cobre in that Cuban province, while he explained to the agency. Evie His daughter.

“They took him out of this religious institution by force, handcuffed and in his underwear. They kept him incommunicado in a place we didn’t know for a week,” Rufina explained.

The daughter explained that Cuban security forces are offering her father to return to the United States, where he has legal residency, but as an exile.

Berta Soler, spokeswoman for the opposition “Ladies in White” movement in Havana, is put into a patrol car by Cuban regime police forces

The oppositionist, who refuses to accept the option of exile, remained on hunger strike for 13 days At the National Security Headquarters, known as Villa Marista.

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Velázquez Toranzo, a known opponent of the Cuban regime for more than 30 years, was a political prisoner between 2007 and 2010.

He added: “We urge the international community to unite with us against this oppressive regime that continues to imprison its people simply for expressing discontent.” Rufina VelasquezHe also demanded the immediate release of his father “without deportation and without conditions, because they do not have any judicial basis to keep him in prison.”

For this part, Regis IglesiasHe was a political prisoner and the official spokesman for the Christian Liberation Movement, the organization founded by the late leader Oswaldo PayaHe called for a boycott of the “Communist regime in Cuba” by international organizations.

He expressed his regret that the United States, Canada and the European Union pursue an “ambiguous policy” towards “the regime,” even when acts of repression occur, and joined calls for the international community to show solidarity with the Cuban people.

Cuban dissidents called on the United Nations to expel the Díaz-Canel regime from the Human Rights Council (EFE/Andrej Cukic)

Meanwhile, yesterday. A group of organizations criticized Cuba's rejection of 28 recommendations made to it in the Universal Periodic Review, and that it must deal, among other things, with prisoners for political reasons and the suppression of dissent.

The group of nine groups that submitted reports for the Universal Periodic Review -Among them Copalex, Article 19, Justicia 11J and Penn International- They announced their position on the day the final report of the working group of this mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council was approved.

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This UN document indicates that Cuba accepted 292 out of 361 recommendations submitted to it – most of them from other countries – while it took note of 41 and rejected 28.

The NGOs noted in their memorandum that “the rejection of 28 recommendations related to the rights to freedom of expression and association indicates the lack of commitment by the Cuban authorities to their international obligations with regard to human rights.”

(With information from EFE)

Aygen Marsh

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