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.
The young priest Yolexi Sánchez López was the first to be summoned; then later, the priestess and executive member Yenifel Castañeda Miranda, as well as the teenager Anthony Lázaro Hidalgo Gato Corrales, who went to the station with his mother, Jani Corrales del Río, another Yoruba and human rights defender. GLA will receive an oficial statement about their experience within the next day.
Reports by both the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and the U.S. State Department observe that the Communist Party arbitrarily controls all religious practice in Cuba. At the heart of Cuba’s religious persecution is the national Religion Police, the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA). This ORA seems to persecute the Free Yorubas systematically.
GLA has reported abuses by the Religion Police over the past few months. In February, Cuban police detained Ms. Eliaisys Almeida Pavón, Head of Public Relations of the Free Yorubas, for allegedly visiting the home of a known Cuban dissident. In March, Yoruba leaders Ms. Donaida Pérez Paseiro and Mr. Loreto Hernández García were arrested by Cuba’s religion police, who threatened them and stated obscenities about God before stating that their “only God was Fidel Castro.”
You can find more information about GLA’s casework for the Free Yorubas here.