Cuban foreign minister criticizes Cuba’s inclusion on list of countries that violate religious freedom

Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez expressed his displeasure with the United States for including Cuba on its list of countries that do not respect religious freedom.

“The designation of our country on an arbitrary list shows that, once again, the U.S. government needs to resort to dishonest accusations to maintain an unsustainable policy of abuses against the Cuban people,” the Cuban foreign minister alleged in a recent tweet.

Rodríguez Parrilla assured that in Cuba “there is religious freedom”.

On December 2, the United States included Cuba in its list of countries of special concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, for alleged violation of religious freedom.

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Other countries blacklisted include Iran, Russia, Pakistan, the People’s Republic of China, Nicaragua, Eritrea, Burma, Saudi Arabia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

On the special watch list are Comoros, Central African Republic, Vietnam and Algeria.

In addition, the United States identified the Houthis, Al Shabab, ISIS-West Africa, the Taliban, Boko Haram, the Wagner Group, ISIS-Great Sahara, Hayat Tahrir al Sham and Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal-Muslimin as Entities of Special Concern.

The formation of these lists is expressly intended to protect U.S. national security and promote human rights worldwide.

In June 2022, the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH) reported that 67% of Cubans know someone who professes a religion and who has been harassed, repressed, threatened or hindered in their daily lives for reasons related to their faith.

Forty-one percent of Cubans believe that pastors and religious leaders have been victims of repression for reasons related to their faith, while only two in ten know where to turn to denounce violations of their religious freedoms and rights.

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