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6/7/2024 Cuba (International Christian Concern) — The United States Department of State on Tuesday released a statement denouncing the continued imprisonment of the Rev. Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, a pastor in Cuba.  

“We are concerned that Rev. Rosales Fajardo, an Evangelical Protestant pastor, and leader of the unregistered nondenominational Monte de Sion Church, reportedly has been severely beaten and abused while in detention, based on his religious leadership role in Cuba and his Christian activities,” the statement reads. 

The Rev. Rosales Fajardo of Palma Soriano, Cuba, has been jailed since July 2021 and faces an additional four years in prison for partaking in protests criticizing the communist regime’s human rights violations. 

On July 11, 2021, peaceful protests broke out across Cuba wherein citizens opposed the island nation’s repressive stances on civil liberties, including restrictions on religious freedom and the nation’s shortages in food and medical supplies. 

As a result of his participation in the protests, the Rev. Rosales Fajardo was allegedly charged with incitement, disrespect, public disorder, and assault. The prosecution obtained an eight-year sentence against the pastor, which has since been reduced to seven years. 

After his arrest, the pastor was reportedly urinated on by guards and beaten to the point of losing a tooth. Additionally, according to the State Department’s report, “prison authorities have singled him out for humiliation, with prison guards vocally denigrating his religious beliefs.” Moreover, just before Easter 2022, Rev. Rosales Fajardo was placed in solitary confinement for proclaiming the gospel to other inmates. 

According to Prisoners of Faith, Cuban authorities have threatened the reverend’s wife if she continues to advocate on her husband’s behalf.  

Cuba is on the State Department’s Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list for committing egregious acts of religious freedom abuses. The nation harasses and imprisons individuals and groups that oppose its authoritarian rule. In May 2023, Cuba passed the Social Communication Law, which further restricts religious and other civil liberties. It also constricts the freedom of the press, dictating that the media is “the socialist property of the entire people or of political, social and mass organizations, and cannot be the subject of any other kind of property.” 

In an interview with The Christian Post, Anna Lee Stangl, head of advocacy for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, pointed out the irony of the Cuban government’s fear of Christianity. 

“These crude intimidation tactics demonstrate how much the Cuban government fears the influence of Christian leaders,” Stangl said, “and, ironically, considering the atheistic ideology held by most Cuban Communist Party officials, their recognition of the power of prayer.” 

To read more news stories, visit the ICC Newsroom. For interviews, please email [email protected].