CUBA: Christians call on the regime to respect freedom of religion

Evangelical Focus (22.11.2023) – In its third gathering, the Alliance of Christians of Cuba urged authorities to release political prisoners and respect basic human rights. The Alliance of Christians of Cuba (ACC), which brings together around 50 religious leaders from several Christian denominations in the country, recently held its third national gathering in the city of Santiago. 

Petitions and commitments

At the end of the event, they issued a joint statement, with three requests to the Cuban government. Firstly, “the liberation of all those imprisoned for exercising their inherent rights”.

Secondly, that “each religious movement on the island might exercise its right to associate, obtaining legal status and protection under the law”. Thirdky, that the government “respects the right of each Cuban citizen to exercise all their inherent rights and that they do not persecute them for this”.

On their part, the members of ACC committed to “work for the healing of wounds in our damaged nation, divided by a failed social project”, and thus “create an atmosphere of mutual understanding, respect and compassion between Cubans on the island and in the diaspora”.

“We work and will work to advocate for more political economic, religious and social freedoms so that all Cubans can live in dignity and self-determination”, they added.

All this, from “a basis of faith in the importance of family life, the inherent value of all human beings, the respect for rule of law, appreciation for education, the promotion of social justice, and the help for those in need, which form part of the foundation of Christian humanism”, stressed the ACC.

Morevoer, the faith leaders stated that “as Christians and Cuban citizens we bless and honour the nation of Israel and condemn, wholeheartedly, the acts of terrorism committed against that nation”.

International support

Anna Lee Stangl, head of advocacy of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said the group santds with the Alliance of Christians in Cuba and “their call for real reforms to protect and uphold freedom of religion or belief and associated rights and for the release of all political prisoners”.

She underlined the courage the church leaders had to organise such a gathering and publish the declaration despite harassment and threats of the regime.

CSW urgeas the Cuban government to “make the changes that have been called for”, and the international community to “closely monitor and engage with religious leaders, in their efforts to promote democratic values and respect for fundamental human rights”.

Photo: Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. / Photo: Denys Barabanov, Unsplash CC0.

Further reading about FORB in Cuba on HRWF website