News and Facts about Cuba

Castro Government Orders Demolition of Five Christian Churches in Cuba

Castro Government Orders Demolition of Five Christian Churches in Cuba
by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.2 Dec 2015

The Cuban government has issued a demolition order for every church in
the Abel Santamaria district in the southern city of Santiago de Cuba,
according to reports from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

The five churches in the neighborhood are slated for destruction and
pastors and their families are to be evicted, according to the ruling
that was issued by government Planning and Officials on November 27.

The demolition order follows on a “sleep in” staged two weeks ago by
members of the Emanuel Church in an attempt to prevent officials from
destroying their church. Reverend Alain Toledano is pastor of the Church
and has accused the communist government of open of
Christians following the Pope’s visit in September.

“There is a witch hunt against churches in Cuba at this time, mainly
against the churches of apostolic and prophetic ministry,” Toledano said.

“The communists have intensified in their hatred and persecution of the
church following the Pope’s visit to Cuba and the re-establishment of
relations with the United States. I request constant intercession on
behalf of the churches in Cuba.”

CSW said the demolition order is part of an ongoing “crackdown” against
churches in Cuba following new legislation last January that empowered
authorities to confiscate property at their discretion. Numerous
registered and unregistered denominations have reported that the law has
been used to target “scores of churches” across the island in efforts by
the Castro government to “tighten its control over the activities and
membership of religious groups and thus eliminate the potential for any
social unrest.”

In its 2015 report, the U.S. Commission on International Religious
(USCIRF) said that the Cuban government “actively limits,
controls, and monitors religious practice through a restrictive system
of laws and policies and government-authorized surveillance and harassment.”

“The government principally targets for arrest or harassment religious
communities and leaders deemed too independent from government control
or those who support democracy and efforts,” the report states.

In a statement, CSW’s chief executive Mervyn Thomas said: “We continue
to call on the Cuban government to cease its harassment and persecution
of religious groups across Cuba. The land grabs and attempts to
manipulate religious organizations, linked to efforts to confiscate
church properties, must end.”

“We urge the , the United States and other members of the
international community to raise concerns about this law and its impact
on freedom of religion or belief with the Cuban government as a matter
of urgency, as well as the cases of these churches, which are currently
under threat,” Thomas said.

Source: Castro Government Orders Demolition of Five Churches in Cuba –

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