|Ladies in White in Cuba on January 6, 2013|
Three Kings Day also known as the Epiphany was observed in 2013 by the regime in Cuba with detentions of children, the homes of activists stoned, and death threats.
At the same time opposition activists attended Mass and gave gifts to children to celebrate a holiday that has a long history in Cuba, although suppressed for decades by the Castro dictatorship. The Ladies in White together with the Cuban Patriotic Union organized an event with 250 children to celebrate the day of the Kings in Palmarito de Cauto.
Agents of the regime took part in acts of repression to sabotage efforts to celebrate The Epiphany on the Eve of Three Kings Day and on the holiday itself the Cuban government engaged in a campaign of intimidation and harassment. Rosa Maria Payá reported over twitter on January 5th at 4:27pm: "We just found out they have thrown a stone against the door of our house, I wonder what will be next."
At 10:23am on January 6, 2012 Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia reported over twitter that in "Santiago de Cuba: 3 kilometers from the city of Palma Soriano, the political police stopped a private passenger lorry with over 80 people. Detained in the truck were 60 children and adults traveling to Palmarito de Cauto to participate in an activity for Three Kings Day.
Three Kings Day disappeared as a holiday in the early 1960s only to resurface in 1998, along with Christmas, with Pope John Paul II's visit to Cuba. Nevertheless, religious repression in Cuba continues to be a serious problem. Christian Solidarity Worldwide has reported a dramatic increase in harassment and persecution of people of faith in Cuba in 2012 stating:
CSW documented 120 reported cases of religious freedom in 2012, up from a total of 30 in 2011, some of which involved entire churches and denominations and hundreds of people. The number does not include the men and women who were arrested and imprisoned for the duration of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit in March which local human rights groups estimate to be upwards of 200.The Castro regime is channeling the spirit of King Herod in trying to repress the free exercise of religion in Cuba and harassing children.