Cuban police seizes toys Christians planned to distribute for feast of Epiphany

A Christian group in Cuba collected toys and planned to distribute them to children in celebration of the feast day of Epiphany, but police seized the items from the house they were being stored in.

(REUTERS / Eloy Alonso)A man dressed as one of the Three Kings greets people during the Epiphany parade in Gijon, Spain January 5, 2017.

According to dissident group Ladies in White leader Martha Beatriz Roque, police barged into the home of a member named Leticia Ramos Herreria and confiscated the toys supposed to be given to more than 200 children for the feast of Epiphany, otherwise known as Three Kings' Day. She also said the owner of the home was not present during the incident, Breitbart details.

"Police executed an operation at the home of Leticia Ramos Herrería without her being present and took all the toys away that she had bought to distribute to more than 200 children this Three Kings' Day," said Roque.

According to the Spanish paper Diario de Cuba, Herreria's son and brother were beaten when police stormed into their home.

The giving of toys to children on Jan. 6, the 12th day of Christmas, is a tradition being practiced by Latin American and Spanish Catholics to commemorate the Wise Men's visit to Bethlehem. It emulates the Wise Men's presentation of their gifts to the baby Jesus.

The Ladies in White is composed of Catholic female family members of prisoners detained in Cuba for their opposition to Communism. The members attend mass on Sundays while wearing white and conduct a silent march while holding up photos of their jailed loved ones.

The celebration of Three Kings' Day and other Catholic holidays were dropped by the Cuban Communist Party. Those who celebrate these events in private risk facing censure, like what the Ladies in White experienced.

Meanwhile, the pope has recently called on religious leaders to work harder for peace. He also told political leaders to ensure their people's right to religious freedom. The pontiff said religion helps build up a society that fosters social belonging, Crux reports.

Many of the dissidents in Cuba continue to stand with their Christian faith but have not received enough help from the Vatican in fighting for their cause. In fact, some priests have banned the Ladies in White from Catholic masses.

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