Felix Yuniel Llerena Lopez was detained in April of 2017 after visiting the United States to engage in an advocacy effort and discussion for religious freedom in Cuba. Following his detainment, Llerena was threatened and harassed by Cuban authorities about his activities in the U.S. Subsequently, the University of Cuba expelled the young religious leader. These recent actions and events highlight the antagonism of the Cuban regime against groups and individuals seeking to promote religious liberty in the island.
05/17/2017 Washington, D.C. (USCIRF) – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns the latest harassment of Félix Yuniel Llerena López by the government of Cuba. He traveled to the United States last month – his first trip ever outside of Cuba — to discuss the restrictive and repressive religious climate in Cuba. Félix was immediately detained and questioned on his return and forced to sign a pre-arrest warrant for public disorder. Now the University of Cuba – an arm of the Castro regime — has expelled this promising young religious freedom leader.
Félix visited USCIRF as part of a delegation including Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, Raudel García Bringas, and Rev. Yiorvis Bravo Denis. They discussed Cuban religious freedom conditions with USCIRF’s Chair, Father Thomas J. Reese, S.J., Vice Chairman Daniel Mark and Commissioners Kristina Arriaga, Jackie Wolcott, Tenzin Dorjee, and Sandra Jolley.
“I call on the Cuban government to immediately cease its harassment of Félix Llerena and his fellow religious freedom advocates,” stated USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J. “We find it most disconcerting that the Cuban government took these actions immediately after Félix visited USCIRF. They must stop these repressive actions and instruct the university to admit him immediately.”