Christian Solidarity Worldwide, 1 March 2020
“They want to stop me being a pastor,” says Alain Toledano Valiente, discussing the intimidation and harassment he’s experienced over the years at the hands of the Cuban authorities – including his home and church being demolished twice. The pressure has increased in recent months, but he’s courageously refusing to give in.
Across Chile, Cuba, Columbia and Mexico, members of religious minorities like Toledano Valiente, experience discrimination, abuse and worse because of their faith.
In August, Pastor Aarón Méndez Ruis, the director of a Christian migrant shelter in Mexico, and his colleague Alfredo Castillo de Luna were kidnapped and forcibly disappeared.
Local partners on the ground document religious freedom violations, often at great personal risk. Due to the government’s control of communication lines, getting information into and out of Cuba can be difficult, and can compromise the security of local partners.
Opportunities are needed to train local authorities, in Mexico and Columbia – teaching them what freedom of religion or belief means and how to properly document human rights violations.