For months, members of the Missionary Church of Cuba (“Iglesia Misionera de Cuba”) in Victoria, Las Tunas, have been pelted with stones on their way to worship. Originally occurring once a week, now the attacks have escalated to twice a week. According to church head Pastor Yoel Demetrio, the move is designed to scare off his congregation, as well as to pressure the pastor to weaken his message. Churchgoers cannot see who is throwing stones at them, but they all suspect state officials have instigated the attacks. Complaints to Cuban police have brought no results.
"The stoning of religious persons in Cuba is yet another one of the many coordinated acts against people of faith by the Communist Party's Office of Religious Affairs. We urge the United States to send a clear message, starting with economic sanctions on the Office of Religious Affairs," said Jason Poblete, President of Global Liberty Alliance (GLA).
Since 2019, GLA and other groups have urged the U.S. government to impose economic sanctions on Cuba's Office of Religious Affairs, a wing of the Communist Party that operates like a "Religion Police". In an August 19, 2019 joint letter with Outreach Aid to the Americas and Christian Solidarity Worldwide, GLA urged U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo first informed Sec. Pompeo of some ORA members to be sanctioned. On September 2, 2020, GLA again wrote Sec. Pompeo, providing information on Cuban ORA officials as well as Customs officials responsible for blocking urgent humanitarian aid from the United States.
GLA has been investigating the ORA, its members, and its activities in Cuba. It will continue to do so, and will support efforts by Cuba's religious communities to stop the repression and hold perpetrators to account.
Yesterday, on September 30, 2020, two Cuban women who are members of the Association of Free Yorubas executive committee were arrested, held overnight, and beaten by State Security.
Alexandria, VA - The Global Liberty Alliance (GLA) has received word that several members of the Association of Free Yorubas of Cuba (Asociación de Yorubas Libres de Cuba), including an underage boy, were just released from police custody after being separately summoned to the police station in Placetas, Villa Clara this afternoon. They were in police custody for 3 hours.
Yesterday, on June 25, 2020, evangelical Pastor Ramón Rigal Rodríguez, of Guantánamo, Cuba, was released after over a year of unlawful imprisonment. Pastor Rigal and his wife, Adya Expósito, were sentenced in May 2019 to two and one-and-a-half years of prison for homeschooling their children.
In close collaboration with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) in Purcellville, Virginia, and with Cuban religious leaders, the Global Liberty Alliance (GLA) has been advocating for the release of the Rigal parents since their trial. In late April 2019, the GLA and the HSLDA petitioned the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for precautionary measures to protect the Rigal family and press Cuba to release them.
While the Rigal family is finally reunited, as Radio Televisión Martí has said, the reporter who covered their trial, GLA client Roberto Quiñones, is still unjustly imprisoned. You can find more information about GLA’s advocacy for the Rigal-Expósito family here. GLA is committed to defending fundamental rights, such as freedom of religion and of belief.
You can learn more about GLA’s work on our Facebook page or our Twitter account.
IN LETTER TO MEXICAN AMBASSADOR BÁRCENA, GLA ENCOURAGES TRANSPARENCY IN MEXICAN HIRING OF CUBAN MEDICAL WORKERS
On June 17, GLA addressed Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Martha Bárcena Coqui in a letter, requesting that Mexico answer Mexican Senator Alejandra Noemi Reynoso Sánchez’s request for more details about the role of Cuban medical professionals in Mexico. While the Mexican government repeatedly denied having contracted Cuba’s “medical missions” in 2019 and 2020, GLA and Sen. Reynoso received credible information about the presence of Cuban health workers.
The Global Liberty Alliance has received disturbing new information from the Association of Free Yorubas of Cuba (Asociación de Yorubas Libres de Cuba) documenting numerous violations of fundamental rights on the island. The GLA is closely reviewing the material and is collaborating with the Free Yorubas to hold Cuban regime officials to account.
On April 29, 2020, the GLA urged the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to grant Precautionary Measures on behalf of Dr. Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces (see cover letter below). An independent journalist and former practicing attorney, Dr. Quiñones has been unlawfully imprisoned in Cuba since September 11, 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded Dr. Quiñones’s health status.
Dr. Quiñones is serving a year’s prison sentence for covering the show trial of homeschooler parents Pastors Ramón Rigal and Adya Expósito. On April 26, his son, who resides in Virginia, U.S.A., expressed concern for his father in a statement: “My father’s health condition is rapidly deteriorating under the terrible conditions to which he is subject in the Cuban jail. I want to ask the Cuban government to release my father again, especially now with this terrible situation with the virus, on the island and around the world.”
A “precautionary measure” is ruling by an international tribunal such as the IACHR directing a state, in this case Cuba, to take (or refrain from taking) certain measures in order to prevent or stop human rights violations in serious and urgent situations where the life and safety of the person are at stake.
Trump administration officials have repeatedly advocated for Dr. Quiñones. You can learn more about Dr. Quiñones’s case, including the U.S. government response, on the GLA Case Work page.
América TV featured GLA's action; you can see the video here. ADNCuba covered the story, as well, here.
On April 16, the Global Liberty Alliance (GLA) called for the Cuban government to free Roberto Quiñones, imprisoned journalist, poet, and lawyer, to the custody of his family. GLA issued this statement in support of Mr. Quiñones's family, who are no longer be able to visit him in prison because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are concerned for his health.
¿Cómo me van a hacer romper la cuarentena para algo que no es tan urgente, y que no es nada de vida o muerte?
- Rev. Alain Toledano (en la foto)
La Alianza por la Libertad Global expresa su solidaridad con los líderes religiosos que han sido censurados y perseguidos por el régimen comunista de Cuba.
El régimen no sólo los ha “controlado”, no sólo los ha detenido incontables veces, no sólo les ha prohibido aparecer en la televisión junto a los líderes religiosos oficialistas. Tenemos entendido que al menos dos pastores evangélicos, en provincias distintas, han sido acusados de propagar el coronavirus, a pesar de no haber salido de sus casas en más de 20 días. A cada uno le ocurrió algo parecido: lo sacaron de su casa en plena cuarentena, lo detuvieron y lo situaron junto a otros donde podía contraer la enfermedad.
La táctica pertenece a una larga guerra de atrición que han librado el Partido Comunista de Cuba y su Oficina de Asuntos Religiosos, la “policía de religión” en Cuba. Esta táctica ya se ha visto en la pandemia con periodistas y otros disidentes. Muchos más, como el Pastor Ramón Rigal, siguen encarcelados por actuar de acuerdo a sus creencias. El desprecio de la Seguridad del Estado de Cuba por la salud y bienestar de sus ciudadanos en la pandemia COVID-19 es reprensible. GLA seguirá ayudándoles a resistir esta represión indebida, resaltando estos abusos y pidiendo cuentas a los violadores de derechos.
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How can they make me break quarantine for something that’s not that urgent, not a life-or-death situation?
- Rev. Alain Toledano (pictured)
The Global Liberty Alliance (GLA) expresses our solidarity with the religious leaders who have been censored and persecuted by the Cuban Communist regime.
The regime not only has them “controlled,” detained them countless times, blocked them from appearing on TV alongside state-sanctioned religious organizations. We have heard heard that at least two evangelical pastors, in different provinces, were accused of spreading the coronavirus, even though they’d not left their homes in over 20 days. Each one experienced something similar: he was taken from his home during full-blown quarantine, was detained, and was placed with others, where he could catch the illness.
These cruel tactics are part of a long-standing war of attrition waged by the Communist Party and its Office of Religious Affairs, Cuba’s religious police. These tactics have already been used during the pandemic against journalists and other dissidents. Many others, such as Pastor Ramón Rigal, are languishing in prison for acting in accordance with their beliefs. The indifference of Cuba’s State Security for the health and well-being of its people in the COVID-19 pandemic is reprehensible. GLA will continue to help them fight back against this undue repression by holding these people to account.
GLA, PRIMERO NICARAGUA USA Y MOVIMIENTO CAMPESINO DE NICARAGUA: ORTEGA, DEJE DE PERJUDICAR A SU PUEBLO (ESPAÑOL / ENGLISH)
La Alianza por la Libertad Global (GLA), Nicaragua Primero USA y Movimiento Campesino de Nicaragua emiten esta Declaración Conjunta al Gobierno Ortega-Murillo de Nicaragua: Su manejo de la crisis COVID-19 en el país está perjudicando a su pueblo. Lean el texto completo más abajo.
Global Liberty Alliance (GLA), Nicaragua Primero USA, and the Nicaraguan Farmers Movement issue this Joint Statement to Nicaragua’s Ortega-Murillo government: Your handling of the COVID-19 crisis in your country is endangering your people. Read the full text below.