SUNDAY STUDY: Cuba’s Christian Persecution

From Voice of the Martyrs

Matt. 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Cuba has been a one-party state under the Communist Party of Cuba since the late dictator Fidel Castro overthrew the U.S.-supported dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Cuba’s Communist Party is the only legal party, and officially sanctioned candidates run unopposed.

In 2008, Castro’s brother Raul Castro was elected president, followed by Miguel Díaz-Canel in 2018 [the president is both chief of state and head of government].

The Cuban government amended its Constitution in 1992, declaring Cuba a secular state instead of an atheist state, partially allowing religious activities. Since then, the percentage of the country’s population that identifies as Christian has grown. However, the communist regime of Cuba persecutes Christians.

Despite the change in leadership, churches in Cuba face unrelenting pressure from the government, which remains committed to communism’s atheistic ideology and sees churches as a threat to the revolution begun by Che Guevara and Fidel Castro in the 1950s.

Cubans remain poor, with the government seeking to control every aspect of life. When church leaders resist state teachings that are contrary to God’s Word and disobey government restrictions on Christian witness, they are called in for interrogation. Although gathering in unregistered churches and constructing new church buildings are banned, many churches boldly worship despite the risks.

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.

Unlike the overt violence Christians faced during the communist 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 held for 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 so that they are effectively under house arrest. In addition, Christians are often denied jobs and educational opportunities.

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 HERE.

Please consider to:

  • Pray for Christian leaders being threatened with imprisonment by their oppressive government.
  • Pray for pastors pressured to provide the government with information about church leaders.
  • Pray for the encouragement and wisdom of Christian pastors.
  • Pray that God’s Word will reach the most remote areas of the island.

One church leader explained how the experience of the regime had affected the Church in Cuba. He said:

“We learned to patiently put up with life’s afflictions.

We learned to forgive. We learned to love our enemies. We learned to live through our faith.

We learned to live without human defence. We learned to know the power of God in supplying what we need, health for our bodies, providing this sense of fulfilment, peace in the eye of the storm.

We learned the most important lesson of a believer about the earth, which is knowing that God is the only being that we need.”

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19