by Julia Pierce, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - On July 11th, a Cuban pastor by the name of Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, and his 17-year-old son, were arrested by State Security officers during a peaceful protest against President Miguel Diaz-Canel’s televised “military order” for revolutionaries to retake the streets by force. Although Pastor Fajardo has not yet been tried or sentenced, he has now been transferred to the Boniato Maximum Security Prison outside of Santiago de Cuba.
Pastor Fajardo’s son, who was arrested with him, was separated from his father and reported “disappeared”, but was then released on July 17th. However, until August 7th, nearly a month after his arrest, Pastor Fajardo was completely unable to speak with any of his family members, including his wife, Maridilegnis Carballo.
Maridilegnis, and the rest of Pastor Fajardo’s family, have been extremely concerned for his welfare. During his arrest Pastor Fajardo was kicked repeatedly and forcefully in the abdomen and face, even losing a tooth in the process. The pastor’s lawyer, who was admitted to see him only one time, also reported that Fajardo looked extremely thin.
Although Maridilegnis made many attempts to make contact or to deliver food and personal hygiene supplies, she was denied each time.
Beyond all of this, the Boniato prison is well known for its harsh and extreme conditions, particularly during the summer months. Normally, this prison is reserved for convicted criminals who are already serving sentences, however, Pastor Fajardo has yet to be presented in court at all. Another cause for concern is that authorities may encourage other inmates to mistreat the pastor, as they have done so in the past.
On August 7th, the family finally saw a glimmer of hope as Pastor Fajardo and his wife were able to speak for 3 minutes. Maridilegnis says, “In the midst of so much fog, God gifted me a ray of Light. Today I spoke to my husband, only for three minutes, but they were three minutes of weeping; of happiness; of encouragement; it was very special, and to be able to hear his voice, I give thanks to God for this gift.”
Kori Porter, CEO of CSW USA, urges communities around the globe to pressure the Cuban government for the Pastor’s release. In her statement, Kori Porter says, “CSW continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Pastor Rosales Fajardo, who should not be detained at all, let alone incarcerated in a maximum-security prison. Whilst we are glad that Maridilegnis Carballo has been permitted to speak to her husband, the treatment of this family by the Cuban authorities has been cruel and illegal. We continue to call on the international community to hold the Cuban government to account for its violent response to protests and subsequent unjust treatment of protestors.”