Religious freedom in Cuba remains under attack
In Cuba, the Communist Party, through its Office of Religious Affairs, continued to monitor and control most aspects of religious life. Although many religious groups reported reduced interference from the government in conducting services, importing religious materials, receiving donations from overseas, and in traveling abroad, serious restrictions to the freedom of religion remained. The government regularly prevented peaceful human rights activists, including members of the Ladies in White, from attending religious services, and routinely used government-sponsored protest groups to assault or detain them. Before Pope Benedict XVI’s visit, authorities arrested many members of the peaceful political opposition or prevented them from leaving their homes to participate with the Pope in celebrating mass. A number of religious groups, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons, continued their years-long wait for a decision from the Ministry of Justice on pending applications for official recognition.