VIDEO: Religious Freedom in Cuba: The lived reality

Marilín Alayo Correa is a Cuban pastor and a leader within the Apostolic Movement. Marilín is also married to Apostle Alain Toledano Valiente, who is one of the key leaders in the Apostolic Movement. As a result of their work, both Marilín and her husband have been extensively targeted by the Cuban authorities for over two decades.

Most recently, Marilín shared a video testimony with CSW reflecting on her family’s story and the situation for religious groups in Cuba nearly 15 years after CSW began documenting the family’s case. In the past year, her husband Alain has also been placed on a travel restriction list and is regularly summoned to appear at their local police station.

Watch Marilín tell her story below:

The situation for religious groups in Cuba remains dire. CSW’s latest annual report on the country found that there were 260 documented violations of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) in 2019, compared to 151 in 2018. Recorded violations include harassment of religious leaders, arbitrary detention, confiscation of religious property, the forced closure of churches, and restrictions on travel, movement and the distribution of religious materials.

Religious leaders like Marilín and Alain are particularly vulnerable to FoRB violations as leaders of an unregistered religious group. However, the Cuban government continues to harass and intimidate religious leaders from both registered and unregistered groups in an effort to control and limit their participation and impact within their communities and wider civil society. It is essential that members of the international community increase efforts to hold the government of Cuba to account for violations of FoRB, raising cases like that of Marilín and her family in bilateral and multilateral dialogues at every opportunity.

Click here to read CSW’s latest annual report on Cuba (January 2020).