Cuban authorities arrested a pastor for streaming the demolition of a church
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), officials in Santiago de Cuba have been harassing the Assemblies of God Church in the Abel Santamaria neighbourhood since 2015, even though the denomination is legally recognised by the Cuban government.
CSW reports that despite the denomination being one of the largest religious groups in the country, in 2015, the Cuban government made its first attempt to demolish the Assemblies of God Church.
“Officials at the Cuban Physical Planning and Housing Departments first attempted to demolish the church in 2015 but backed off after members of the church and other denominations, led by Rev. Fausto Polemo, held a peaceful sit-in in the building,” CSW noted in a report. “They also threatened to confiscate the homes of those living on the property in 2015.”
Cuban Government authorities claimed that the demolition that happened this October was part of a plan to construct train tracks at the site, but the church was the only building demolished. The pastor who streamed the demolition, Alain Toledano, lives in the neighbourhood where the church was demolished. He is the leader of the unregistered denomination called the Apostolic Movement.