Cuban Authorities Threaten Pastor Who Advocates for Religious Freedom with Charges, Arrest his Wife

Pastor Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso (Credit: Christianity Today)
Pastor Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso (Credit: Christianity Today)

Religious freedom activists Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso and his wife Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez have a history of being harassed by the Cuban government, and the month of October has been no exception. On October 15, Reverend Barroso was threatened with criminal charges and the following day his wife, Yoaxis Suarez was arrested. Authorities attempted to force her to sign paperwork accusing her of criminal activities. She refused.

Prior to the threat of criminal charges on Barroso and Suarez’s arrest, Barroso had visited with numerous church leaders who reported violations of religious freedom. The couple’s involvement with defending religious freedom or belief has made them a target for the Cuban government, which apparently equates that as “counter-revolutionary” activity. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says, “The Cuban government must be held to account for its ongoing violations of the religious freedom of its citizens and its harassment of those who are involved in documenting these violations.”

The Reverend and his wife were both previously detained by the Cuban government on June 22, 2014. They were“released two hours later without charge, but their laptop computers and a memory flash drive were confiscated,”reported Assist News. The couple was told that the police were keeping the flash drives and computer for further investigation into criminal activities.

The restriction of the right to religious freedom and belief of Christians in Cuba is not going away. CSW reported that from January to June 2014 they registered more than 130 serious documented violations of religious freedom in Cuba.

Corey Bailey, Regional Manager for ICC says, “We demand the Cuban government cease its harassment of Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso and his wife Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez. The people of Cuba must be free to practice their right of freedom of religion and belief. The government must no longer be allowed to get away with these scare tactics, threats and wrongful arrests.”

SOURCE: International Christian Concern