Cuba: Travel Gets Easier as Practicing Faith Gets Harder

(Updated) Cuban pastor once appeared on CT cover, now blogs on religious freedom.

Update (April 4): According to a new report from Christian Solidarity Worldwide, religious freedom violations are on the rise in Cuba, tripling from 40 in 2011 to 120 incidents in 2012.

The report states, "After a period in which it appeared that the government was moving towards more subtle and refined pressure on church leaders, 2012 saw a return of the use of more brutal and public tactics."

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As of January 14, Cuban citizens can now apply for passports that will let them travel around the world and stay abroad for up to two years before applying for any extensions.

The island nation's decision to lift travel restrictions (for economic reasons) comes as Cuban Christians are reportedly experiencing increased religious persecution.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports "a dramatic increase in violations of freedom of religion or belief in Cuba in 2012." The organization documented 120 reported cases in 2012, up from 30 in 2011. CSW says "some of [these incidents] involved entire churches ...

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