Shocking details are emerging about a Cuban Christian activist who was sentenced for three-and-a-half years after police raided his house and confiscated Bibles and crucifixes. Misael Diaz Paseiro, who is part of a resistance against the government, was charged with “pre-criminal social dangerousness” by the Communist government, according to the watchdog NGO Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Authorities raided his home on Oct. 22 and took away two Bibles, several crucifixes and five rosaries. According to CSW, it was on Nov. 4 that Paseiro was brutally beaten by “political police.”
“Misael, in addition to being a counter-revolutionary, you are also a Christian,” CSW quoted a police official as telling Paseiro. “You should look at us, we are revolutionaries and we don’t believe in your God. Our god is Fidel Castro.”
The subsequent mistreatment of Paseiro as he was being held in prison led his wife, Ariana López Roque, to go on a 19-day hunger strike. Paseiro was reportedly denied a Bible and visits from a priest. Cuban pastor and rights activist Mario Barroso told The Christian Post that agents repeatedly told Paseiro that deceased dictator Fidel Castro was their God as they beat him.
“Invoking Fidel Castro in Cuba helps cover acts of corruption and even crimes. This proves that the followers of [Castro as a God] are not really so adept as Fidel himself but rather at the benefits that are covered by invoking him,” Barroso explained.
“Deep down they are imitating Fidel with this behavior since Fidel Castro was like that too: an opportunist, a blackmailer. So the believers in Fidel Castro act in the image and likeness of their god, Fidel. They are faithful followers of the evil example of their god.”
“There may be 5 percent of those who claim to have Fidel Castro as god who really adore him,” Barroso added. “The other 95 percent is just opportunists who imitate Fidel’s bad example.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that there were 325 religious freedom violations in Cuba during 2017.
“CSW is deeply concerned by the growing number and severity of [religious freedom] violations reported by a wide variety of denominations and religious groups, which seem to show that the government is attempting to tighten its control over the activities and membership of religious groups,” reads a new report.
“Many of the documented violations were in line with the types of violations seen in previous years — for example the use of temporary arbitrary detention, harassment of church leaders, and attacks on property rights.”
“It appears, however, that the government is now also diversifying its tactics by threatening activists and religious leaders with trumped up criminal charges, arbitrarily preventing them from traveling out of the country and targeting their children,” the report continued.
“It is essential that the European Union, the United States, and other governments in dialogue with Cuba use their positions to press for improvements to religious freedom and the general human rights situation in the country.”