Sunday, September 23   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Faith and political views
In my church...



Latin America

Christians denounce the upsurge of religious persecution in Cuba

“The sustained growth of the churches unnerves the government”, Cuban Pastor Mario Félix Lleonart, says. Several evangelical leaders have been interrogated and arrested in the last months.

SOURCES Protestante Digital AUTHOR Javier Bolaños, Evangelical Focus HAVANA 14 MARCH 2018 10:14 h GMT+1
A street of Havana. / Alexander Kunze (Unsplash, CC0)

Leonardo Rodríguez Alonso, a religious freedom activist in Cuba, was arbitrarily detained on February 28, and released days later.

He is one of the regional coordinators for the Patmos Institute, an independent civil society organisation that promotes inter-religious dialogue and freedom of religion and belief for all.

The detention was confirmed to Spanish news website Protestante Digital by Pastor Mario Félix Lleonart, general coordinator of the organisation, who is in exile.

Rodriguez was arrested on his way home to Villa Clara from the town of Caibarién, where he was leading meetings with Human Rights defenders, informs advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

He had already been detained by the National Revolutionary Police Unit of the city of Santa Clara last November, and on several other occasions.




Pastor Mario Félix Lleonart.

“The arrests of brother Leonardo and other forms of harassment have multiplied over the past year and so far, because the Patmos Institute submitted a report about religious freedom in the island in the last four years to the UN Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Cuba, which will take place next May in Geneva”, Mario Félix Lleonart told Protestante Digital.

The report “was received and accepted”, and the authorities arrested Leonardo “to express their annoyance with our Patmos Institute, and to warn him that they will not allow him to travel to Geneva”.



According to Lleonart, “the sustained growth of the churches in recent years unnerves a political system that needs a civil society as weak as possible to govern at will”.

As reported by Protestante Digital in mid-February, the main national leaders of the “Power to Transform” evangelistic campaign, which was held in Havana one year ago, were interrogated by the Revolutionary Police, also known as Cuba's political police.

Then, the authorities were interested in the fact that the Cuban evangelical churches had worked together in the organization of the event. For the Cuban government, each denomination must have its activities separately.

Cuba has been governed by the communist party since Fidel Castro took power in 1959. He died in November 2016.



Although the Communist regime have shown some signs of economic and political reforms, repression has continued under Raúl Castro.

According to the organisation Open Doors, Cuban Christians face constant surveillance and infiltration by the government. From January to December 2017, a CSW report recorded 325 separate violations of freedom of religion or belief in the country.

“CSW is deeply concerned by the growing number and severity of religious freedom violations reported by a wide variety of denominations and religious groups, which seem to show that the government is attempting to tighten its control over the activities and membership of religious groups”, says the report.

However, “it appears, that the government is now also diversifying its tactics by threatening activists and religious leaders with trumped up criminal charges, arbitrarily preventing them from traveling out of the country and targeting their children”, CSW adds.



“The Communist Party of Cuba and its Office of Religious Affairs, especially the Central Committee, are the main responsible for the violations of religious freedoms that take place in Cuba”, Lleonart told Protestante Digital.

The pastor believes that “the coming departure of president Raúl Castro is just a very well planned move to confuse the international community and seek some legitimacy that is badly damaged”.

“Persecuting religious liberties has been something innate to them during their six decades in power. But I have no doubt that God has other plans for Cuba. Despite the plans of men, times of refreshment are coming”, he concluded.




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - Christians denounce the upsurge of religious persecution in Cuba
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.


How does romantic love change over time? How does romantic love change over time?

Psychatrist Pablo Martínez uses a metaphor to explain how romantic love evolves.

‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility

Author Bruce Little: “We have moved from a sense of responsibility to ‘my personal rights’”.

Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’ Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’

How can we reach those who call themselves ‘Christians’ but have not experienced a conversion to Christ? Forty missiologists and mission practitioners came together for a Lausanne Movement global consultation in Rome.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.