September 20th, 2021 | USCIRF

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following factsheet on the July 11, 2021 (“11J”) protests in Cuba and their impact on freedom of religion or belief in the country:

Factsheet on Protests in Cuba and Religious Freedom – Thousands of Cubans took to the streets nationwide on July 11, 2021 to call for greater freedom and relief from the country’s economic and COVID-19 crises. Cuban authorities responded by detaining, often violently, an estimated 700 demonstrators and activists. This factsheet examines how the 11J protests and the resulting crackdown by Cuban authorities has impacted freedom of religion or belief. It also highlights some of the religious leaders and members of religious communities who were detained and now face criminal charges for peaceful protesting. Further, it outlines ways in which the U.S. government has supported Cuban protestors’ calls for greater freedom and opportunities to advance religious freedom on the island.

In its 2021 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. State Department again place Cuba on its Special Watch List (SWL) for its ongoing and systematic religious freedom violations. In July 2021, an episode of USCIRF Spotlight podcast focused on the protests in Cuba and its impact on religious freedom.


The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at [email protected].