Violations of religious freedom becoming more rampant in Cuba

Christians in Cuba are reportedly faced increased persecution for their faith in 2015.

Recent data from a Christian rights organization revealed that the number of religious freedom violations have spiked in Cuba over the past year.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) released data which saw a significant increase in freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) violations, from 220 incidents in 2014 to 2,300 in 2015. 

Violations of religious freedom affected most denominations in Cuba, although the Assemblies of God (AoG) were hit the hardest. In the government's attempt to restrict Christian churches, 2,000 AoG churches were deemed by the government as illegal, wherein 200 have been demolished.

The crackdown led to the closure of churches, affecting thousands of people, while dozens more have been arrested throughout the year. Persecution watchdog group, the International Christian Concern, stated that while the CSW numbers are not exhaustive, they still give an indication on how the government is cracking down on churches across the country.

Several Methodist, Baptist and other denomination's properties have also reportedly been expropriated by the Cuban government. Both legally registered and unregistered Christian groups received varying levels of hostility from the Cuban government. 

According to the CSW report, Caridad del Rosario Diego Bello, Director of the Office of Religious Affairs, has maintained an "antagonistic relationship" with church leaders, with the office appearing to "[exist] solely to monitor, hinder and restrict the activities of religious groups."

Aside from closing churches deemed "illegal", the ORA has also denied requests to hold several religious activities in 2015. Churches were also barred from cooperating with other government agencies, and continue to receive fines and threats of church property and materials being confiscated. 

CSW is a multinational organization that fights for the rights of Christians all over the world, especially those who are experiencing injustices, persecution and prejudices. 

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