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Confined to a country where the government has made it well known his presence is unwanted, a Cuban pastor and his family have been refused permission to leave despite the U.S. government's offer of asylum.

Pastor Omar Gude Perez served almost three years of a six-and-a-half year prison sentence on charges human rights watchers say were unjust. While he was in prison, his wife Kenia and their two children received an eviction notice from government officials in an attempt to remove the family from their home (for more information, click here). The family was granted asylum in the United States last July but have been informed by a government official that they will not be issued exit visas, which are required to leave the country.

Pastor Omar, who is a national leader in a fast-growing network of independent churches called the Apostolic Movement, was released from prison earlier this year but is prohibited from preaching or from travelling outside the city of Camaguey. He was charged with illicit economic activity and falsification of documents, and many say the unfounded charges are a direct result of his Christian activities. Other Apostolic Movement pastors have also been harassed and threatened with imprisonment and the closure of their churches.

Please pray that Pastor Omar and his family will continue to faithfully serve Christ wherever He leads them. Pray that, if it is the Lord's will, they will be able to leave Cuba for the United States. Please pray that governing authorities in Cuba will cease in their harassment of Christian leaders and that followers of Christ will remain steadfast in their faith.

To learn more about persecution in Cuba, visit the Cuba Country Report.