Mario Lleonart, 16 December 2017 — Another flagrant violation of religious liberties took place in Cuba on 14 December 2017, when Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara’s pilgrimage to the San Lázaro shrine was stopped, according to information provided by his wife, Yanelys Núñez Leyva.
Otero Alcántara was detained on the orders of the Cuban State Security, which is what repeatedly happens with violations of the right to religion and faith. The arrest occurred at Carlos III and Belascoaín, around 10:30 pm. He was taken to the Aguilera police station, in Lawton, after he started his religious activity which involved going in a penitent spirit to that place of worship for the traditional festival they celebrate there every December 17th. It’s obvious that his arbitrary detention was in order to keep him locked up during the course of the celebration.
Whether or not we agree with Luis Manuel’s religious belief, we should all agree that he has a complete right to believe in and practice his faith. The unjust and arbitrary violation of his fundamental right, which absolutely all of us have, from baptism, “to believe or not to believe,” and “to believe in accordance with our own understanding.” Everyone in Cuba who has religious faith (and who doesn’t have it?) should stand by Luis Manuel, because to stand next to him is to defend your own faith.
Translated by GH