Cuban authorities in the city of Santiago de Cuba are pressuring religious leaders to sign an agreement regarding the demolition of their church. The Assemblies of God church, led by Pastor Faustino (Fausto) Palomo Cabrera, located in the Abel Santamaria neighbourhood of Santiago de Cuba, was demolished by authorities on 30 October.
The demolition began at approximately 7.30am when Cuban State Security, accompanied by heavy machinery including bulldozers, attempted to clear the area. According to Cuban independent journalist Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre, the church belongs to the legally recognized Assemblies of God denomination. Footage of the demolition has emerged on Facebook.
During the demolition, Pastor Alain Toledano, a prominent leader of an unregistered denomination, the Apostolic Movement, was physically apprehended by the police whilst filming the attack. He was taken to the Motorizada Police Station, where he was held alongside two other members of his church, Adrián Arza and Félix Daniel González, incommunicado for nine hours.
CSW sources report that Pastor Palomo Cabrera, and the Assemblies of God Regional Superintendent José Martínez were taken away by members of the Department of Physical Planning and other government officials at approximately 9am in the morning of 2 November. It is believed that the authorities are applying pressure on Pastor Palomo Cabrera and Superintendent Martínez to sign a document saying that the demolition of the church was legal. Local sources also report that the authorities are attempting to charge Pastor Palomo Cabrera for the use of the machinery used in the demolition.
Source: VOM Australia, Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Pray the church building being demolished will ignite unity amongst the members and not crush their commitment to Christ in any way.
Pray that many who saw the footage of this dreadful event will rise up and pray for the Cuban State Security.
Pray the Lord will continue to build his church whilst facing restrictions.