U.S. State Dept. report on religious freedom: Religious persecution increasing in Cuba

Religious persecution is on the rise in communist Cuba, with increases in arrests, imprisonment, forced exile, and other forms of harassment and oppression of the religious on the island. The State Department’s international religious persecution report for 2022 details the persecution:

The constitution contains written provisions for religious freedom and prohibitions against discrimination based on religious grounds; however, provisions in the penal and administrative codes contravene these protections. The constitution declares the country a secular state and provides for the separation of religious institutions and the state, but the Cuban Communist Party (CCP), through its Office of Religious Affairs (ORA) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), regulates religious practice. The law requires all religious groups to apply to the MOJ for official registration. According to the penal code, membership in or association with an unregistered group is a crime.


In its annual Watch List, the Christian nongovernmental organization (NGO) Open Doors reported the government intensified its repressive tactics against Christian leaders and activists opposing CCP ideology through arrests, exile, arbitrary fines, surveillance, denials of licenses and religious visas, and physical and mental abuse. According to CSW, formerly known as Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the government continued to detain religious leaders from multiple faith communities and handed down harsh prison sentences for participating in July 2021 protests.

Religious persecution has been persistent in Cuba since the Castro family dictatorship’s socialist revolution. As a self-described atheistic government, the Castro regime has consistently and ruthlessly persecuted religious leaders and activists who challenge the State’s monopoly on power and its claim of being society’s supreme deity.

Many religious groups said that despite constitutional provisions providing for freedom of conscience and religion and prohibiting discrimination based on religion, the government continued to use threats, detentions, violence, and other coercive tactics to restrict the activities of some religious groups, leaders, and followers, including the right of prisoners to practice religion freely. While some groups faced greater government restrictions than others, civil society reported that the government continued to monitor all religious groups, including registered groups and those directly affiliated with the CCC.

The Cuban dictatorship’s record of religious persecution is extensive and well documented. The only thing this latest State Department report confirms is that unlike most of the international community, the U.S. is willing to openly admit it. For now, at least.

You can read the full report HERE.

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