14ymedio, Havana, 26 July 2022 — Evangelical pastor Alain Toledano Valiente and his family arrived in the United States on Monday. The minister, according to the organization Outreach Aid to the Americas, was forced to leave the island under threats from the Cuban authorities: “Leave the country within 30 days or you and your family will face the consequences,” he was warned.
The family’s arrival in the United States was possible thanks to the intervention of the US Ambassador General for International Religious Freedom, Rashad Hussein, and the Department of State’s Office of Consular Affairs, which allowed the pastor “to obtain emergency parole,” which provided “a secure entry,” the organization said.
The Cuban government’s hate campaign against the cleric, according to Outreach Aid to the Americas, was carried out “simply for running an unregistered church and speaking tirelessly for the rights of other religious and church leaders.”
The leader of the Sendas de Justicia (Paths of Justice) network denounced in November that a man broke into his home, when his wife and daughter were alone, in an act of intimidation, given that the man tried to rip the door off.
During the recovery stage of the covid-19 pandemic, Toledano and his family suffered harassment from the regime on restoring religious services in their church. In August of last year, the leader of the Sendas de Justicia network was arrested at his home in Santiago de Cuba, charged with “propagation of an epidemic.” The accusation was unfounded, since since the first week of June 2021 the Government had authorized the churches to resume their activities normally and moderately.
In September of that same year he was summoned to the Police Third Unit, again accused of spreading the virus. As the pastor told Radio and Television Martí : “They booked me like a complete bandit, like a complete criminal.”
The US Government through the #JailedForWhat campaign demanded the release of Alain Toledano, “detained for religious practices,” and questioned Cuba because “instead of promoting and protecting religious freedom,” the government on the island denied religious leaders the right to exercise their beliefs.
In 2016, Toledano suffered the unjust expropriation of land and the demolition of his church in Santiago de Cuba. Despite the fact that he met with the first secretary of the Communist Party in the province, Lázaro Expósito, to claim the goods confiscated by the police during the raid and demolition of the place of worship, the only thing that was returned to him were some discs and computer mice.
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