NEWS ALERT: Free Yorubas demand immediate release of president, vice president, other members detained by cuba's political police
On August 11, 2021, spokesperson for the Association of Free Yorubas of Cuba, Ms. Yaimara Reyes Soler, recorded the following message of support for fellow members Donaida Perez Paseiro, Loreto Hernandez Garcia, and twin sisters Lisdiany and Lisdany Rodriguez Isak (aka Lisdiani & Lisdani Rodriguez Isaac), all of which are currently imprisoned in Santa Clara, Cuba following nation-wide protests on July 11.
Last month, several members of the Association of Free Yorubas of Cuba were detained and now face charges related to participation in peaceful protests that broke out in provinces across the island on July 11.
The Free Yorubas charged, including members Loreto Hernandez Garcia, Donaida Perez Paseiro, and Elizabeth Cintra Garcia, are currently being held in provisional prisons or under house arrest as a precautionary measure until a trial is held.
On July 17, a group of 60 Catholic priests from Brazil along with former students at the Pontifical International College Maria Mater Eclesiae in Rome wrote a letter of solidarity to Father Castor Álvarez, priest of the Archdiocese of Camaguey, Cuba, after he was beaten and detained July 11, while defending young protestors from violence.
Thousands of Cubans took to the streets on Sunday in several cities throughout their island nation to peacefully assemble and protest, calling for liberty, free exercise of their fundamental freedoms, and change. Cuban state security forces were deployed, and many demonstrators were beaten, arrested and disappeared by the evening. The whereabouts of many are still unknown.
NEWS ALERT: Association of Free Yorubas of Cuba Successfully File Complaint in Cuba Against Cuban Officials for Discrimination, Religious Freedom
On Monday, June 28, members of the Association of Free Yorubas of Cuba appeared at the People’s Court and Prosecutor’s Office of Placetas, Villa Clara, to file a complaint about dozens of religious freedom violations. The Free Yorubas are requesting an investigation into these violations, which are prohibited under the Cuban Constitution.
On May 10, 2021, a group of 34 organizations and individuals penned a letter to Cuban Ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera calling for the repeal of Legal Decrees 349 and 370.
On Friday, March 5, the youth organizer of the Association of Free Yorubas of Cuba, Dairon Hernández Pérez, was detained, beaten, and robbed by Cuban State Security and Rapid Response Brigades outside his home. He was returning from a religious event. GLA is investigating the matter. More details, including photos and video, are included at the end of this post.
In a video statement, Mr. Hernández and his mother Free Yorubas Executive Secretary Donaida Pérez Paseiro assert that he was beaten on the head, stomach, back, and legs, his religious articles were broken, and money he carried on his person was taken. State Security also threatened to run him over with a car, and to jail him for "precriminal dangerousness." In other words, repression.
The brutal attack occurred less than 2 weeks after the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) published an important Fact Sheet outlining how the Free Yorubas were victims of religious persecution. The Global Liberty Alliance has been providing information to USCIRF about this matter, and others and has urged the U.S. government to impose economic sanctions on Cuba's Religion Police, a Stasi-like entity that is part of the Communist Party and called the Office of Religious Affairs.
Today, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released a new report on the state of the santería (also known as Yoruba) tradition in Cuba. According to USCIRF, the report “provides a brief overview of the traditions of the Santeria community in Cuba and highlights the religious freedom violations that community experiences.” The report gives evidence of religious freedom violations against the Association of Free Yorubas that the Global Liberty Alliance uncovered, thanks to the support of Cuban civil society leaders.
Today, the Global Liberty Alliance (GLA) was informed that a human rights complaint filed by Pastor Alayn Toledano, of the Assemblies of God Church, received reply from the Cuban government. Pastor Toledano has been restricted from traveling outside Cuba because of an alleged offense of “Disobedience,” and appealed this unjust travel restriction on January 19. The District Attorney’s Office responded that they were working on the case on January 29, the first time that Pastor Toledano has received a response to his inquiries. Legal representation secured by GLA seems to have made a difference this time.
In a show of courage, 15 Cuban priests spoke out against the regime's abuses, urging democracy and freedom for their country. GLA published their letter in English here.
Read more at Breitbart News (English), Babalú Blog, and ADN Cuba (Spanish):