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Rev. Alain Toledano
Photo: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

The reverend of the Emanuel Church, which was demolished on February 5th, has now been threatened with arrest. Reverend Alain Toledano was told by the chief of police in Santiago de Cuba that charges are being prepared against him concerning the alleged illegal possession of chairs and supports for the roof of the destroyed church.

The police threats came after Reverend Toledano and a number of other church leaders held meetings on February 23rd with regional Cuban Communist Party (CCP) and Ministry of Housing and Planning officials to discuss the events of February 5th. According to the reverend, the First Secretary of the CCP in Santiago told the group that the belongings of the church would be returned, and the question regarding the future of the property and his family home would be discussed with government officials. However, at a meeting later in the day, government officials and the police chief contradicted the CCP official and informed the reverend that a criminal case was being built against him.

Reverend Toledano, who belongs to the Apostolic Movement, a network of churches that the government has refused to register, was out of the country attending a religious event when the demolition of his church and home took place. Shortly after his return on February 12th, he was visited by six state security agents who warned him not to hold any religious meetings or to "go out into the streets." The pastoral leader also expressed concern for his wife, who was dragged out of bed at 5 a.m., then handcuffed and detained for the duration of the demolition, along with her two young daughters who witnessed the mistreatment their mother endured. All three are exhibiting signs of emotional trauma: "My daughters toss and turn all night, and during the day they are dazed and fearful," he adds.

More information on persecution in Cuba, including reports of other cases, may be reviewed at our country report.

Pray that the Lord will strengthen and encourage Reverend Toledano, his family and congregation so they will be able to withstand the opposition of the governing officials. Just as God shut the mouths of the lions in the Old Testament account of Daniel (chapter 6) so no harm could come to His faithful servant, may the threats of charges against this Cuban church leader not come to fruition. Like the mentioned Biblical character, may Reverend Toledano be granted wisdom and favour when dealing with the authorities. In addition to needed healing and restoration for this victimized family and church congregation, pray that the Lord will bring about changes in the hearts of the authorities through the work of His Holy Spirit and the witness of these steadfast believers.