Christians in Cuba Face “Enemy Without A Face”
The Truth about Persecution in Cuba
Persecution against Christians in Cuba has gone underground in recent years. On the surface it has decreased, but many say that it is merely more subtle. One Cuban pastor said, “Don’t be fooled by appearances. Many…won’t speak out about this because of fear. If they speak out in Cuba, there will be consequences.”
10/16/2012 Cuba (Continental News)- Much has been written and said about the new season of openness for Christians in Cuba. But those who are able to speak freely say that the persecution is still there, though it is now better concealed. Since the government redefined Cuba as a “secularist” nation from an “atheist” nation in 1992, evangelicals have experienced an era of tolerance, where they meet without permission, but are largely ignored by the government. As an example of this tolerance, one church of around 1,000 members has given birth to 18 independent house churches. These new congregations range in size from 300 to 700 people.
But while few Christians have gone to prison for their faith in recent years, the Cuban government still mistreats, marginalize and openly oppose Christians, especially those who live according to their Biblical convictions. “The persecution now is a closed persecution; it’s hidden,” said VOM’s field worker. Another Christian worker on the island characterized it as discreet. “The pastors tell us they have an enemy without a face. They aren’t confronted directly. Sometimes they don’t know who has infiltrated the church [to inform on them],” said the VOM field worker.
One Cuban pastor, “David,” shared his experience with VOM this week. “Don’t be fooled by appearances,” he said. “Many brothers won’t speak about this because of fear. If they speak out in Cuba, there will be consequences. They’ll be expelled from the country or falsely accused of being counterrevolutionaries.”
Another way the persecution appears is through the lack of Bibles on the island. There has not been a Christian bookstore on the island for 53 years, and Bibles are only imported through churches that are members of the Ecumenical Council (an association of churches that collaborates with the government and includes only 10 percent of all churches). David’s church is not part of the Ecumenical Council. David could never join this group that directs their members to praise the socialist revolution and the Cuban state. And so, his church members never have enough Bibles.
They are denied rights and opportunities. Christians are often let go from jobs, or not allowed to apply for a certain status of jobs. The best jobs are awarded to Communist Party members. Children are required to renounce Christ and embrace communism in school. Christian young people are often not allowed to graduate from high school or enter university.
Is there persecution in Cuba? Certainly, it is less than before. But David and many of God’s servants on the island experience daily the truth about persecution in Cuba. The enemy of the gospel may be better hidden, but he is still there. God’s grace sustains them hourly as they confront the faceless enemy.