Report Finds 1,400 Assemblies of God Churches Have Been Demolished, Confiscated In Cuba

(PHOTO: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST0 U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuba's President Raul Castro as they hold a bilateral meeting during the Summit of the Americas in Panama City April 11, 2015.
(PHOTO: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST0
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuba’s President Raul Castro as they hold a bilateral meeting during the Summit of the Americas in Panama City April 11, 2015.

The U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide has recorded more than 1,600 religious freedom violations in Cuba in the first six months of this year, highlighting the communist government’s crackdown of churches, especially the beginning of a process which involves confiscation of 1,400 Assemblies of God churches.

The violations include demolition and confiscation of church buildings, destruction of church property, arbitrary detention and other forms of harassment, particularly the confiscation and seizure of personal belongings of religious leaders, according to the report, which adds, “Over 1,000 Protestant churches are still under threat of confiscation and have not had their ‘illegal’ status overturned.”

Since January 2016, the government has demolished four large churches linked to the Apostolic Movement, in three different parts of the country: in Camaguey and Santiago, and two in Las Tunas, the report says.

CSW found that each church demolition has followed a similar pattern: “police and state security agents block main roads surrounding the church, in many cases dragging pastors and their families out of bed in the very early hours of the morning, detaining them in separate police stations for the duration of the demolition.”

The report notes that Legal Decree 322 remains in effect. The legislation was announced on Sept. 5, 2014 and came into effect on Jan. 5, 2015, and was supposedly established to regulate private properties and enforce zoning laws. “However, it has been and is being used by government officials to seize church properties.”

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Anugrah Kumar