The United States included this Friday (2) Cuba and Nicaragua in its list of countries that systematically violate religious freedom, which could lead to sanctions against these nations.
On the list of Countries of Special Concern, drawn up annually by the US Department of State, reappear this year in China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
The inclusion of Cuba and Nicaragua is another step in the deterioration of relations between the Joe Biden government and the dictators Miguel Díaz-Canel, from Havana, and Daniel Ortega, from Managua.
Second level of concern, the United States placed Algeria, Central African Republic, Comoros and Vietnam.
The list of organizations that violate religious freedom includes, among others, the terrorist groups Al Shabab, Boko Haram and Islamic State (IS), as well as the Taliban, Yemen’s Houthis and the Russian Wagner Group paramilitaries.
The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 obliges the US government to compile an annual list of countries in the world that commit “serious violations of religious freedom”, such as torture, detention and forced disappearance of people because of their beliefs.
Countries included in the list are subject to possible sanctions, such as cancellation of scientific and cultural exchanges, suspension of development assistance, blocking of loans or restrictions for export.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, promised in a statement that his country “will not stand idly by” in the face of religious persecution.
In this sense , Blinken opined that repression against people for their beliefs “sows division and undermines political and economic stability and peace.”
“We will continue to carefully monitor religious freedom around the world, upholding those who suffer persecution and discrimination,” said Secretary of State American.