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USCIRF Hearing: Deteriorating Religious Freedom Conditions in Cuba

Wednesday, June 28, 2023
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM ET

American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora
1200 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145

Please join the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for a hearing that will examine religious freedom conditions in Cuba from the perspective of diverse religious denominations. The Cuban government’s increasingly hostile tactics against religious communities in 2022 led USCIRF to recommend for the first time that the U.S. Department of State designate Cuba as a Country of Particular Concern.

The Cuban government tightly controls religious activity through surveillance, harassment of religious leaders and laypeople, forced exile, fines, and ill treatment of religious prisoners of conscience. Religious leaders and groups that are unregistered or who conduct unsanctioned religious activity—as well as journalistic reporting on religious freedom conditions—face relentless oppression from the Cuban government’s Office of Religious Affairs (ORA) and state security forces. Authorities often subject religious leaders to detention, interrogation, threats of prison sentences on false charges, confiscation of property, and travel bans. This environment of persecution has caused several religious leaders to leave Cuba and seek asylum in other countries.

Witnesses will give an overview of the Cuban government’s repression of religious freedom and other related rights and will also provide first-hand accounts of the repressive tactics used by the Cuban government to stifle independent religious communities.

Opening Remarks

  • Frank Wolf, Commissioner, USCIRF
  • Frederick Davie, Commissioner, USCIRF


  • Rosa María Payá Acevedo, Director, Cuba Decide
  • Teo Babun, President and CEO, Outreach Aid to the Americas
  • Alayn Toledano, Pastor and Faith-Based Dissident, Emmanuel Church of the Apostolic Ministry
  • Jorge Luis "Antúnez" Garcia Perez, Afro-Cuban Human Rights Activist and Yoruba Advocate
  • Rolando Montes de Oca, Catholic Priest, Camagüey, Cuba

This hearing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the public, and the media. Members of the media should register online and can email for any questions or to schedule an interview. The video recording of the hearing will be posted on the Commission website. For any additional questions, please email Veronica McCarthy at or (202) 355-8026.

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