Published: 00:01 GMT Standard Time - Thursday 01 March 2012
Lent Prayer - Cuba
“We are taking measures and will continue to take measures, the hands of our authorities will not waver.” Caridad Diego Bello, the top Cuban official in charge of religious affairs, was heard explaining the government’s strategy to crack down on a Christian group in a film released on the internet in 2011.
|A class is underway at a theological school in Cuba. Barnabas Aid has supported some of these pastors in their daily living costs|
Communist societies do not accept Christianity or other religions. This is why Cuba’s Marxist authorities try to limit the churches’ growth and activities as much as possible. Cuban Christians often face discrimination in schools and in the workplace because they are not considered “trustworthy”. Some new Christian groups have grown very large and are meeting in overcrowded houses. They may be blocked from building new churches. Often they are obstructed from registering and risk harassment from the authorities.
Large, growing churches often face oppression, intimidation and government restrictions. In April 2011 a 1,000-strong church, active in local ministry, was visited by provincial officials and told that their buildings would be confiscated on a permanent basis by the state authorities.
In recent years the government, possibly in an attempt to deflect international attention, has changed its tactics, from overt persecution such as long prison terms and the destruction of churches, towards short term detentions and the more targeted harassment of pastors. In 2011 two prominent pastors, Yordi Toranzo and Homero Carbonell, were removed or stepped down from their post because of government pressure. Carbonell reported that he and his church had come under severe duress after he refused to expel families of political prisoners from the church.
Prison conditions for incarcerated pastors are very bad. They can suffer periods of solitary confinement and are sometimes prohibited from reading the Bible and other literature. At least one has been housed with violent criminals who were permitted by prison officials to attack him physically.
This article is taken from
“Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent 2012” -.