Cuba Civil Society Leaders Visit U.S. Policymakers

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Rev. Yiorvis Bravo (left) meets with Foundation lawyer Jason Poblete (right) as Rev. Bravo and other members of his team visited with policymakers in Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of liberty in Cuba as well as discuss how Christians are under assault in Communist Cuba.

On Friday, April 21, a pastor of the Apostolic Movement of Cuba, Rev. Yiorvis Bravo from Camagüey, Cuba, visited with Foundation lawyers on Capitol Hill to discuss the latest on the Apostolic Movement’s struggle against Cuba’s religious police, the Office of Religious Affairs.

“While we were overjoyed that we could finally visit with Rev. Bravo in a free country, we realize these token travel gestures by Communist Party officials are not a permanent fix. Only liberty can fix that system. Rev. Bravo should be free to travel and worship as he wishes,” Foundation lawyer Jason Poblete said. “His case, and many others like it, are a reminder that the totalitarian system of Cuba uses immigration and religion as weapons. U.S. policymakers need to hear their message of the reality of Cuba but also of hope that there is a new generation willing to stand up and do the right thing,” Poblete added.

Rev. Bravo leads a Christian evangelical church in Camagüey, Cuba. For several years, Rev. Bravo and other Apostolic Movement church members have been targeted by officials with the Office of Religious Affairs, Cuba’s religious police, as well as other Communist Party officials. For many years the Apostolic Movement of Cuba has struggled to worship freely in Communist Cuba, in part, because it refuses to register with Cuba’s Office of Religious Affairs.

In partnership with a U.K.-based NGO, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the Global Rule of Law Foundation is helping future leaders of a free Cuba find their voice, defend private property rights, and foster a rule of law culture. To learn more about this program, please follow this link.

Radio Martí: Petition for Precautionary Measures Filed Before OAS

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

In a radio interview with Radio Martí news, Jason Poblete discuses a request for precautionary measures that was deposited on May 20, 2015 with the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights on behalf of the Apostolic Movement in Cuba and its leader, Reverend Yiorvis Bravo Denis.

The case centers around a long-term dispute with Cuban government officials to confiscate property owned by the Apostolic Movement in Camagüey, Cuba that is used as a home and church. It is part of a larger campaign by the Cuban government to restrict religious liberty and property rights on the island.

Reverend Bravo Denis and members of the Apostolic Movement in Cuba have been targeted, since at least 2007, by the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA) of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The former head of the Apostolic Movement was a former prisoner of conscience, but was granted political asylum in the United States a few years ago.

A European-based NGO, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has been working on this matter for many years, in addition to other cases of religious persecution throughout the island. You can learn more about their campaign here.

The Radio Martí story and interview is available here.

Cuban Government Maintains Campaign Against Property Rights, Religious Liberty

Monday, 29 June 2015

Radio Marti released a follow up report on June 26 discussing the current status of a request for precautionary measures that was submitted by Poblete Tamargo LLP on May 20th to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights on behalf of Reverend Yiorvis Bravo Denis and the Apostolic Movement in Cuba.

Despite the submission of the precautionary measures, Cuban authorities have continued harassing and intimidating the pastor and church members. Reverend Bravo Denis’ home, which is also used as a church, is under threat of confiscation by the government. The government-sponsored harassment is part of a larger campaign to restrict religious liberty and property rights in Cuba.

Since at least 2007, the members of the Apostolic Movement have been targeted by the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA) of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The previous leader of the Apostolic Movement had been a prisoner of conscience until he was granted political asylum in the United States just a few years ago. Now, Reverend Bravo Denis, the current leader of the religious movement, is also dealing with the very same issues as his predecessor.

Immediately following the broadcast on Television Marti, on June 30, Cuban Government officials intercepted Reverend Bravo Denis at the Airport in San Jose as he was preparing to go to a conference in Peru. Marti Noticias covers the most recent government interference and explains that the government officials prohibited the Reverend from traveling because of the claims that he is a debtor of the Cuban State for the property in Camaguey. The article on Marti Noticias, and the most recent developments are available here.

The European-based NGO, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has been working with the movement on this matter for many years, in addition to other various cases of religious persecution throughout Cuba. To learn more about their campaign visit CSW’s website, here.  The broadcast highlighting this story, aired on June 26, is available on the Television Marti website.

Cuba Pastor Continues to Fight Property Expropriation

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a UK-based NGO with offices in the United States, published an update on an ongoing effort to help Cuban families stay in their homes and worship free from government intereference:

Two years after government orchestrated mobs to target his home, Reverend Yiorvis Bravo is renewing his call to the Cuban government to recognise his ownership of the property, which also serves as the headquarters of his denomination.

Reverend Bravo Denis has been fighting for two years for his right to be recognised as the legal owner of his home, which also acts as the national headquarters of the Apostolic Movement, a Protestant denomination which the government refuses to register. He and his family face the threat of eviction at any time. This week Reverend Bravo Denis told Christian Solidarity Worldwide that state security officers continue to harass his friends and members of the church because of their connection to him, while his family has expressed concern at recent unexplained damage to the front of the home.

The law firm Poblete Tamargo, which represents Reverend Bravo Denis, told CSW that they are concerned at the length of time the IAHRC is taking. “While our client’s rights continue to be trampled by the communist government of Cuba, the Commission is taking an unusually long time reviewing this case. Our client hopes that the Commission, and other interested parties in Washington DC, will be a little more proactive,” said lawyer Jason Poblete.

Read the entire CSW post here.

 

USCIRF On Religious Freedom in Cuba

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has released it’s annual reports on the state of Religious Freedom throughout the globe. Countries are broken into three categories, Tier 1, Tier 2 and Other countries of interest based on the level of concern for religious liberties. Cuba is considered a Tier 2 country, along with other nations such as Afghanistan, Russia and Turkey.

In the most recent findings on religious freedom conditions in Cuba, USCIRF found that increased government intervention and threats to permanently close and demolish church properties created a significant deterioration of religious liberties on the island.

As stated in the report; “While the Cuban constitution guarantees freedom of religion or belief, this protection is limited by other constitutional and legal provisions.” In the discussion of continued targeting and harassment of independent religious communities, USCIRF makes note of the Cuban governments relentless persecution of the Apostolic Movement. Targeted harassment includes; “short-term arrests of leaders; government-organized mob attacks; confiscations, destruction of, or threats to destroy church property; harassment and surveillance of church members and their relatives; fines on churches; and threats to leaders and members of loss of employment, housing or educational opportunities.”

Especially concerning is the continued harassment of Apostolic Reformation Revered Yiorvis Bravo Denis. The government of Cuba continues their attempts in seizing his family home and church. We are particularly pleased the USCIRF has taken notice of Reverend Bravo’s case and continue to urge the OAS to take action on our request.

Attorneys with PobleteTamargo LLP represent Reverend Bravo Denis and the Apostolic Movement of Cuba before the Organization of American States (OAS)’s Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR).

 

The full report on Cuba can be read here.

UK NGO: Cuba Pastor Continues to Fight Property Expropriation

Chrisitan Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a UK-based NGO with offices in the United States, published an update on an ongoing effort to help Cuban families stay in their homes and worship free from government intereference:

Continue reading UK NGO: Cuba Pastor Continues to Fight Property Expropriation

Cuban Government Maintains Campaign Against Property Rights, Religious Liberty

Radio Marti released a follow up report on June 26 discussing the current status of a request for precautionary measures that was submitted by Poblete Tamargo LLP on May 20th to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights on behalf of Reverend Yiorvis Bravo Denis and the Apostolic Movement in Cuba.

Despite the submission of the precautionary measures, Cuban authorities have continued harassing and intimidating the pastor and church members. Reverend Bravo Denis’ home, which is also used as a church, is under threat of confiscation by the government. The government-sponsored harassment is part of a larger campaign to restrict religious liberty and property rights in Cuba.

Continue reading Cuban Government Maintains Campaign Against Property Rights, Religious Liberty