“The Communist Party of Cuba is currently the rector of religious freedom in Cuba because there is no legislation that establishes the legal framework for the defense of religious rights,” reveals the new report by the organization Prisoners Defenders, in which evidence that at least 93% of those surveyed suffer some type of repressive act for religious reasons.
The document indicates that the “Communist Party defines itself as a supra-constitutional entity and the superior political force of society and the State”, with that self-definition, the Castro regime’s awning “has assumed full capacity to restrict freedom and cults arbitrarily without the legal capacity to oppose it through the Office for Attention to Religious Affairs (OAARR), whose authority and operation emanate from and depend on the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.
Both entities are “dark and work under the absence of legislation that regulates religious activities in Cuba.” The proof? The OAARR controls all activities and has “full powers and absolute power to use any institution and body of the State at the service of the repressive control of religious.” This instance decides on works, reforms, processions, Yoruba rites, burials, donations, imports, trips, visits or visits.
Its supreme function is “to create a state organization that pretends to be religious in order to occupy the space of the real religious organizations, and thus present religious assumptions that are in harmony with them.” The testimonies of 56 religious and lay leaders of the island confirm this and also denounce that those affected are Catholics, Protestants, Yorubas and Muslims.
“The repression against the Protestant Churches is the most obvious,” indicates the Prisoners Defenders report after detailing that it consists of two phases: one occurs while the Pastor belongs to a congregation with legal personality and importance in Cuba. Under this modality, they seek to control the Pastor and his activism by blackmailing and threatening him. The second phase occurs when they get the Pastor, due to pressure on his hierarchs, to be expelled from the Work.
“The Pastor at that time will bear unlimited repression, where he will no longer have the protection of the congregation to which he previously belonged. This type of repression usually ends with the Pastor in exile or imprisoned”.
There is already evidence of that action. Pastor Ramón Rigal and his wife Adya Expósito were sentenced to one year in prison each. Rigal will serve her in a forced labor center and his wife at home for refusing that her children receive lessons from the Cuban educational system.
Another repressed religion is Yoruba or Afro-Cuban. Although it is “consented” it has not been officially allowed and/or legitimized, forcing the Ifá priest, or Babalawo to practice his religion in secrecy, in perfect conditions to be a victim of manipulation in the face of any manifestation that displeases the regime.
For the Muslim religion, Castroism created a “registered institution with false Muslims, State Security agents and related officials, in a maneuver in which they appropriated the work of Imam Hassan Abdul Gafur (Ernesto Silveira Cabrera) in the years 90, when he was highly respected for his fight for Islam.”
According to the report “after requesting for several years the registration of the Islamic League receiving repression, the Government decided to register the Islamic League associating it with the registration of the Council of Churches under its legal personality, in addition to a whole series of conditions, and with a board directive that would not be controlled by Imam Hassan, but by the regime.
In this way, for five years the Cuban regime communicated to the Arab world that Hassan created the Islamic League and that he was its Vice-President, while Imam Hassan issued complaints to the authorities to remove his name from the organization.
Faced with pressure, “a group of State Security agents took control of the official status of Islam in Cuba, seeking legitimacy in the manner described. Thus, the Islamic League operates as a State Security agency that monopolizes all the events and attention on Islam in Cuba, hiding the real repression to which Muslims and their independent organizations are subjected,”
Some of the repressive patterns on Islam are the rejection of the construction of temples, the lack of meeting permits, harassment of Muslim parishioners who pray in independent organizations, closure of the labor market for independent Muslims, disrespect for the use of the veil or any identifying symbol or attire of Islam in schools and universities, as well as the refusal to bury their dead according to their rite, or in their own cemetery.