An Update on the 'Reforms' in Cuba
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 Worldwide:
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 July.
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 Lleonart-Barroso.
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.