A Cuban Christian Martyr

Apostle Alain Toledano Valiente was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1962. He is based in Santiago de Cuba and is a leader of the Apostolic Movement,a network of independent churches across the country which the Cuban government refuses to register and has publicly vowed to eradicate. His family home has twice been targeted and demolished by the government. He and his family were left homeless after the last demolition and he responded to the government attack by establishing scores of house churches across the city. Over the past decade, Pastor Toledano has been repeatedly detained at the airport and summoned by state security in Santiago and threatened with arrest. His wife Marilin is his partner in the ministry. They have two daughters and twin grandsons.

His crime has been preaching the message of Salvation through Jesus Christ and reaching out vulnerable communities with care and support. In Cuba, religious freedom is suppressed and any attempt of churches toward social progress is diminished and blocked by the Government of Cuba. The present system is one of repression against such activities.

In his testimony, Pastor Toledano affirms: “Our kids are constantly attacked at school, they had sent people to talk to them, among them, teachers that questioned their faith, the truth is that they have always made our life impossible. They come into our houses and search us; they send inspectors and check everything”. His case is like that experienced by his colleagues and others which are known as pacifistic opponents that are taken to jail and are incarcerated without procedural guaranties. There, they are threatened, harassed, underfed, and undergo many forms of torture (mostly phycological) leading in some cases to suicide.

In April 2017, Alain is also part of an organization in Cuba which defends freedom of religion or belief and promotes inter-religious dialogue. When permitted, he travels to raise concerns about ongoing violations of freedom of religion or belief in Cuba. Alain continues to serve the communities in eastern Cuba, preaching mostly in public parks, often attracting thousands of mostly marginalized persons in the greater Santiago de Cuba area and coordinating services in more than 100 house churches that are part of his ministry.

Recently the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA), which is Cuba’s religious police without any cause, accused Pastor Toledano of the crime of Receptacion “receiving” (This crime is defined by the Government of Cuba as “the receiving, buying, hiding, or concealment of a criminal activity”. The charge is based on the “original” crime against the “patrimonial or socioeconomic order” of the country). A hearing on this alleged “crime” is pending. Please pray for the pastor and his family.