Date: October 30, 2014
Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
|Rev. Mario and his wife, Yoaxis
Photo: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
A Christian couple was recently threatened with criminal charges if they refused to stop their work in advocating for religious freedom. On October 8th, Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, a pastor and religious freedom activist, was summoned to the State Security Unit in Camajuani, Villa Clara. While there, an official pressured him to sign an "Acta de Advertencia" -- a document that can be used as justification for future arrests and criminal charges. Two witnesses, whom Mario did not even know or recognize, were present and offered testimony of his "counter-revolutionary" links.
According to the pastor, the official told him that the government was unhappy about his recent visit to the eastern part of the country where he met with church leaders who had reported religious freedom violations. The official added that if Mario did not change his behaviour soon, a criminal case would "probably be filed."
Days later, on October 15th, Mario's wife, Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez, was summoned for an interview with security services. The next day, she was arrested and authorities similarly pressured her to sign an "Acta de Advertencia," but she refused. Officials also warned her to stop having contact with "counter-revolutionary" elements or risk imprisonment.
Lift up Mario and Yoaxis in prayer, asking God to bless this couple richly as they work to advocate on behalf of those who are suffering because of their religious beliefs. May He grant them courage and wisdom as they now discern how to continue their efforts in light of these recent threats. Pray that God will protect them from potential harm, and that the country's governing authorities will cease their intimidation tactics. Furthermore, ask that God will use His children in Cuba to advance His Kingdom purposes and, as a result, increase the growth of the church in both number and faithfulness.
For more information on Cuba's persecuted church, visit our website.