The United States Embassy in Havana on Friday accused the Cuban government of violating religious freedom, three days before the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, to which Cuba is not invited.
During the historic July 11, 2021, anti-government protests on this island, “State forces committed acts of violence, arrested and harassed religious leaders from different religious communities who were participating in peaceful protests across the country,” the embassy said on Twitter.
The tweet refers to the State Department's annual report on religious freedom in the world, released Thursday, and recalls that last November Secretary of State Antony Blinken again placed Cuba on the "special watch list for committing or condoning serious violations of religious freedom”.
The embassy gives as examples the cases of the Catholic priest José Castor Alvarez, beaten by the security forces "while he was helping a person injured in a demonstration in Camagüey" (east), and of the pastor Lorenzo Rosales, " sentenced to ten years in prison for taking part in a demonstration”, also on July 11.
These criticisms come just a few days before the Summit of the Americas, organized from June 6 to 10 in Los Angeles and to which the United States, as host country, has not invited Cuba, Venezuela or Nicaragua.
US authorities explained that “commitment” to democracy would be the factor that would be taken into account in deciding who would be invited to the Summit.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has already said he will not attend "under any circumstances" and several Latin American leaders have warned that they will not go, in solidarity with the excluded countries.