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Despite the change in leadership in 2018, churches in Cuba face unrelenting pressure from the government, which remains committed to communism’s atheistic ideology and views churches as a threat to the revolution begun by Che Guevara and Fidel Castro in the 1950s. Cubans are poor, and the government seeks to control every aspect of their lives. In April 2021, Miguel Diaz-Canel was announced as Raul Castro’s successor as first secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party — the first time the country has been governed by someone other than a Castro since the revolution. Then in July 2021, Cubans protested their deteriorating living conditions and called for an end to dictatorship.
Most Cubans are atheists. A significant number of Cubans engage in superstitious and spiritist practices, including the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria. 11 percent are evangelical Christians.
The government persecutes Christians.
What It Means To Follow Christ In Cuba:
Unlike the overt violence Christians faced during the Communist Cuban Revolution, more subtle methods of persecution are now used by the Cuban government, largely out of concern for its global reputation. Christian leaders are often summoned by government officials for questioning or detained up to 48 hours to pressure them, and churches are demolished by hired gangs so the government can deny responsibility. Legal church buildings are seized, and no new church buildings have been legally built in the country since the revolution. Many believers meet in illegal house churches, often extensions of the pastor’s home or shaded structures in the backyard of a family’s home. Churches continue to grow through active evangelistic activity, but some believers have never owned a Bible because of government oppression. Though no Christians are known to be imprisoned in Cuba, many are closely watched and are effectively under house arrest. In addition, Christians are often denied jobs and educational opportunities.
Access To Bibles:
Though great strides have been made in Bible distribution, access remains restricted. In 2017, Cuba allowed the purchase and sale of Bibles only to members of the ecumenical Protestant church organization, but most Christian literature remains illegal. There are no Christian bookstores in Cuba. There is a shortage of Bibles, which even when available can cost a third of a worker’s monthly income. Give Bibles
VOM distributes Bibles and supports discipleship and evangelism. One of the most effective ways VOM supports persecuted Christians is through a vast prayer network. Public prayer, which embarrasses the Cuban government before the world, has led to the release of some detained pastors. Give to VOM’s Global Ministry
- Pray for the believers who will receive Bibles this year.
- Pray that those opposed to the gospel will be powerless to stop its advance.
- Pray that churches closed by civil authorities will be allowed to reopen.
- Pray for Christians who are held for interrogation, harassed or fined.
- Pray for successful Bible distributions, which are difficult and often illegal.
- Pray for church leaders, pastors and Christians facing government harassment.
- Pray for persecutors within the Communist Party who attack and hate the church.