Cuba in 2012: Zero reforms and growing religious repression
A year after the Pope’s visit to the country, the situation is still bleak in terms of the right to freedom of expression
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a human rights defence organisation that focuses on religious rights, recorded a significant rise in religious freedom violations in Cuba in 2012. CSW stated it had asked Cuba’s leader, Raul Castro, to make serious improvements to guarantee religious freedom in 2013. In 2012, violations took place throughout Cuba, as central government targeted both individuals and organisations.
According to reports which CSW received from religious representatives on different parts of the island, cases of rights violations multiplied in the last few days and weeks of 2012. A Protestant church affiliated to the Apostolic Movement in Camaguey was threatened with demolition on 29 December. On 30 December nine women from the “Ladies in White” movement in Holguin were arrested in the early hours of the morning and put in prison until the end of Sunday mass.
These minor episodes may not have caused much of a stir but are proof of a negative attitude towards faithful. CSW found that in 2012 there were as many as 120 cases of religious freedom violations, some of which involved hundreds of individuals and entire religious denominations. CSW estimates do not include men and women who were arrested and kept under surveillance for the entire duration of Benedict XVI’s visit to the island last March. The number of local human rights organisations has risen to 200.
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