I Prayed have prayed
Lord, please protect our brothers and sisters in Cuba in the face of persecution. Please give their voices power as they shine Your light.
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Later this month government officials will travel to Florida to highlight severe religious persecution in a nearby land in our North American neighborhood. Less than a hundred miles from U.S. waters, Christians face surveillance, interrogation, fines, incarceration, and forced exile from an increasingly bold communist government in Cuba.

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The regime in Havana has long been antagonistic towards religious groups, especially Christians. However, the situation there is getting worse. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is planning a “Deteriorating Religious Freedom Conditions in Cuba” hearing on June 28 In Miami. There commissioners will explore Cuba’s “increasingly hostile tactics”with policy experts and firsthand witnesses of the regime’s oppression.

This hearing comes on the heels of the U.S. State Department’s decision last year to include Cuba for the first time on its Country of Particular Concern list of worst global religious freedom violators. Similarly, Cuba jumped ten places from last year to number twenty-seven on Open Doors’ most recent World Watch List of Christian persecutors. Observers note that the communist regime dislikes dissenting voices and any other group gaining influence.

“The church falls into both of these camps,” said Open Doors.

The Cuban Communist Party controls all the levers of state power – executive, legislative, and judicial. With no other political parties legal, shepherds of religious communities can become de facto reform movement leaders and, in the minds of party bosses, dangerous.

“Authoritarian regimes such as Cuba suppress religious freedom because of the power, strength, and following that organizations of faith — no matter how big or small — represent, particularly at the community level,” wrote the International Republican Institute’s Antonio Garrastazu earlier this year.

Garrastazu, who particularly noted the growing strength of the evangelical church in Cuba despite surveillance and intimidation, added. “Religious persecution reflects the fundamental weakness of autocracies, which cannot abide the presence of movements and institutions that challenge their monopoly on truth.”

In its quest to keep people of faith subjugated, Cuba’s government requires all religious organizations to register with its Office of Religious Affairs (ORA). Not only must faith groups be approved to avoid being treated like criminals, but ORA also inserts itself arbitrarily on many matters even among registered groups.

“Religious leaders and groups that are unregistered or conduct unsanctioned religious activity faced relentless oppression from the ORA and state security forces throughout the year,” USCIRF declared in a special Cuba report issued late in 2022.

USCRIF provides a number of recent examples of Cuba’s persecution. Some like Christian Reformed Church Reverend Yordanys Díaz Arteaga and evangelical pastors Mario Jorge Travieso and Velmis Adriana Medina Mariño were threatened and arbitrarily detained. Meanwhile, Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo has languished in prison on flimsy charges for years and reportedly has suffered beatings and other denigrating treatment while in custody. Others may face confiscation of property, fines, and even forced exile from the country.

The commission also points out “highly problematic” provisions of a new Cuban Family Code. While the code’s adoption has been viewed favorably by some progressives, USCIRF suggests elements of this new law could be used to further oppress dissenters. In particular, the agency notes that one article of the code authorizes the state to separate children from their families if parents “disrespect” authorities of the regime.

One evangelical leader, Teo Babun, who will testify at the USCIRF hearing this month has published a number of recent articles urging the international community to stay engaged in pressing Cuba to treat religious communities justly. In one, he warned,“Cuban state security continues to intimidate, harass, threaten, and imprison openly critical religious leaders, even in the face of strong international condemnation.”

“Now is not the time to let up pressure,” he declared.

Let’s pray that this coming hearing will shine light on oppression in Cuba, will turn hearts and minds in that regime, and will encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ there.

How are you praying for religious freedom in Cuba? Share this article to keep people informed.

Aaron Mercer is a Contributing Writer with two decades of experience in Washington, D.C.s public policy arena. Photo Credit: Canva.

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Patriot Mom
June 19, 2023

My husband & I have gone on 12 mission trips to Cuba and are sponsoring a young couple here in the states. We have a group on “What’s App?” that we formed on our last trip (9/22 ) to pray with Cubans & some Americans here for the country of Cuba. Things continue to decline greatly & it is hard to see our friends who often feel very hopeless about their situation. So many have left the country because of the religious oppression & general lack of freedoms.

Sheila Price
June 10, 2023

BUT YEHOVAH GOD can make a way to save EVERY Christian on that land and make the land disappear so that China will not have a close proximity to Mainland America.

June 10, 2023

S­t­a­r­t w­o­r­k­i­n­g f­r­o­m h­o­m­e! G­r­e­a­t w­o­r­k f­o­r-E­v­er, ­S­t­a­y a­t H­o­m­e M­o­m­s O­R a­n­y­o­n­e n­e­e­d­s­ a­n e­x­t­r­a i­n­c­o­m­e. G­e­t s­t­a­r­t­e­d. Y­o­u o­n­l­y n­e­e­d­ a qsh computer a­n­d a reliable c­o­m­p­u­t­e­r c­o­n­n­e­c­t­i­o­n­ s­o d­o­n’t g­e­t l­a­t­e t­r­y……. https://ezstat.ru/cashweb2

Karen Secrest
June 10, 2023

The Lord is saying, BE Bold, Be Strong. For HE is there with them.
A new day is coming. Tho it Tarry wait for it for it Will overtake r r come this beast.

Pat M
June 10, 2023

Father God, hatred of Your Son Jesus is becoming more evident in our own nation. Send your Jubilee relief to the nations of the world and especially Cuba. Break the power of whoever is giving the power brokers of Cuba their power in Jesus Holy Name. Wash the Cuban people with the blood of Jesus so they are awakened to truth and freedom comes to their land. You are mighty to save from the stranglehold of our common enemy who is arising in our own nation also.


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