The Cuban regime is one of the worst offenders of religious liberty in the Western Hemisphere. Two months ago, the Global Liberty Alliance (GLA) received disturbing reports about a series of anti-Semitic attacks against a Sephardic Jewish family in Camagüey, Cuba. After Havana, Camagüey is Cuba’s third-largest city and is located in the central part of the island.
Working with independent lawyers in lawyers, in December 2019 the GLA started supporting and advising the Tejada family. Based on preliminary reports from the independent lawyers and the family, it appears that what started as an apparent schoolyard bullying incident over the kippah, may have been part of a coordinated intimidation anti-semitic campaign. The matter took on a more serious tone a few weeks ago when a Rapid Response Brigade appears to have been mobilized against the parents.
At this juncture, Mr. Olainis Tejeda Beltrán’s eldest son, Liusdán Martínez Lescaille, has been instructed by Cuba’s Ministry of Education that he must stop wearing a kippah to school. If the Tejada family fails to comply with the government’s latest orders, Liusdán’s parents have been told by Communist Party apparatchiks that they could face fines and prison times. This case is similar to the pattern of attack used against the Rigal family in Guantanamo. Christians, the parents are currently in prison for homeschooling their children. You can learn more about the Rigal matter here and here.
“Religious liberty is incompatible with socialist thinking. The regime’s puppet lawyers and officials use legal technicalities and regulations to repress religious liberty. Mr. Tejeda and his family are being put through the system to teach them a lesson; however, independent lawyers and civil society leaders have, and will, come to their defense. We will have their backs,” said Jason Poblete, GLA Chief Counsel.
The GLA has been in contact with U.S. government officials and policymakers about the Tejada matter along with other religious persecution cases. In the near future, the GLA will release more details about how Cuba’s religious police – the Office of Religious Affairs – is supporting Communist Party efforts to repressing religious freedom on the island. We will also provide an update on the Tejada matter. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Tejada’s case by reading this story in the Jerusalem Post.