"The year 2022 has seen the continuation of government repression that began in 2021 following the July 11 protests, accompanied by the passage of increasingly repressive legislation and a historic wave of emigration."
Organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has just published a investigation report on religious freedom in Cuba. She denounces a "staggering jump" in the number of violations compared to the previous year.
657 violations of this freedom were documented, compared to 272 the previous year. They include harassment, arbitrary detention, restrictions on movement and travel, bans from attending religious services, confiscation of property, and attacks on social media.
“The year 2022 has seen the continuation of government repression that began in 2021 following the July 11 protests, accompanied by the passage of increasingly repressive legislation and a historic wave of emigration,” explains the organization, before specifying, "the Cuban government continues to regard religious groups, which together constitute the largest sector of independent civil society, with suspicion and a certain fear, in particular because of their capacity to mobilize large groups of people".
According to CSW, "religious leaders and people who offered spiritual or material support to the families of political prisoners" were particularly targeted by the government. Those who responded to humanitarian needs "were directly reprimanded, and threatened with fines and imprisonment by State Security agents if they continued to do so". "A significant number of religious leaders and FoRB advocates went into exile after being told by State Security that if they did not leave Cuba, they would be imprisoned and the government would take custody of their children" , says the report.
CSW Advocacy Officer Anna Lee Stangl fears that "without meaningful and concerted international intervention", the deterioration of religious freedom will continue into 2023.