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.