October 18, 2014
An Update on the ‘Reforms’ in Cuba
By Silvio Canto, Jr.
We keep hearing about all of those reforms in Cuba. Even the NY Times
is now promoting an end to the embargo because of the reforms.
Here is the truth: reforms in Cuba are a farce!
Just ask Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart-Barroso. He is a pastor in Cuba
under siege from the Castro regime, as reported by Christian Solidarity
Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, a prominent religious freedom
activist and church leader, was officially summoned to the State
Security Unit in Camajuani, Villa Clara on 8 October. He was threatened
with arrest if he did not appear. At the unit a Lieutenant Colonel read
out an Official Warning or “Acta de Advertencia”, a document that can be
used as justification for future arrests and criminal charges. Two
witnesses, whom the pastor did not recognize, were present and offered
testimony of his “counter-revolutionary” links. This is the third time
that government agents have unsuccessfully attempted to pressure
Reverend Lleonart Barroso into signing an Acta de Advertencia.
According to Reverend Lleonart Barroso, who leads the Ebenezer Baptist
Church in the town of Taguayabon in Villa Clara Province, and who is a
member of the Western Baptist Convention, one of the largest registered
religious organisations on the island, the Lieutenant Colonel told him
verbally that the government was unhappy about the pastor’s recent visit
to the eastern part of the country. The official added that if the
pastor did not change his behaviour soon, a criminal case would
“probably be filed.”
The purpose of Reverend Lleonart Barroso’s visit was to meet with church
leaders who had reported violations of religious freedom. Reverend
Lleonart Barroso met with Pastor Yiorvis Denis, the leader of a church
in Camaguey which has come under repeated threat of forced closure and
confiscation of property. He also met with Pastor Esmir Torreblanca, the
leader of a large church in Santiago that was razed by the government in
Reverend Lleonart Barroso told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), “I
intend to continue on with my activities in the defence of religious
freedom in Cuba.”
Let’s say that Reverend Lleonart-Barroso did not get the memo about
greater tolerance or freedom in Cuba.
The New York Times’ editorial board got the memo, but not Rev
For years, the church in Cuba has been targeted for two reasons:
1) the regime fears that pastors are talking about freedom and
commitment to a supreme being not named Castro.
2) More and more young people are going to churches.
As we’ve said before, there should be no talks or negotiations with the
Castro regime until:
1) Mr. Gross, a U.S. citizen, is released;
2) independent journalists and pastors are allowed to operate freely; and,
3) the opposition, and specially “Las damas en blanco,” are not harassed
by government thugs. (“Las damas en blanco” are a group of ladies who
march every Sunday calling for the government to release their husbands,
sons, or brothers from prison.)
In the meantime, tell your pastor, priest, or rabbi about Rev.
Lleonart-Barroso. We should be praying for him and his wife, who is
being harassed constantly.
Source: Blog: An Update on the ‘Reforms’ in Cuba –