Pastor Ramón Rigal was released in Cuba based on reportage from The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). On April 16, 2019, Rigal and his wife, Ayda Expósito, were detained. The reason: homeschooling their children over the Cuban schools’ atheism and socialism promotion, apparently.
The proposed crimes were doing things in opposition to the normal development of a minor. Now, Expósito was released in April of 2020. James Carr, USCIRF Commissioner, stated, “While we welcome the release of Pastor Rigal and are thrilled that he is reunited with his family, this was not the first time that Pastor Rigal and his wife were arrested in relation to their religious beliefs… The Cuban government must immediately cease harassing this couple and allow all Cuban parents, including the Rigals, to raise their children pursuant to their own faith.”
While the pastor and wife, Expósito and Rigal, case can be considered safer than not, journalist Roberto Jesus Quinones Haces is still in jail. He wanted to cover the trial of the couple and, subsequently, went to prison. The reason was the coverage and Expósito and Rigal. The crime: “disobedience” – can’t make this stuff up.
There has been harassment of other independent journalists in Cuba by the authorities based on attempts to report on religious freedom, e.g., Yoe Suárez, and this came with threats of criminal charges and fines under Decree Law 370. It limits internet online freedom of expression and privacy.
USCIRF Vice Chair Anurima Bhargava said, “USCIRF once again calls for the immediate release of Jesus Quinones Haces and the end to harassment of independent journalists who report on religious freedom.”
With files from The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.