Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

5/15/2024 Latin America (International Christian Concern) Throughout Latin America, Christians are increasingly enduring persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ, often at the hands of communist regimes, drug cartels, and brutal gangs.

Thousands of believers, especially those in countries like Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, and Nicaragua, are caught in a cycle of intimidation and violence.

Cuba’s communist regime retains strict control of religious institutions in the country and forces them to register with the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA) to assemble. Individuals found associating with unregistered religious organizations are viewed as criminals and subjected to harassment and possible detention.

The ORA distributes religious registrations without adherence to a fixed set of standards, allowing it to decide which institutions get a license and which ones must operate illegally without one. It often withholds an organization’s registration if it is deemed unloyal to Cuban authority.

Many Christian institutions are seen as threats to the Cuban government due to their opposition to the regime’s human rights violations. As a result, Christian churches are indiscriminately denied licenses to operate and left open to harassment or being shuttered under false pretenses. 

Moreover, a 2024 report from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) stated that a new piece of Cuban legislation allowed for the potential targeting of religious observers. The report states, “In May 2023, the Cuban government approved the Social Communication Law, which codifies broad prohibitions on peaceful expression, including religious expression that is critical of the government.” 

Similarly, Nicaragua’s communist regime, ruled by President Daniel Ortega, is threatened by any group or individual who deviates from total loyalty to their retention of power. Many in the Catholic clergy have been outspoken against the human injustices perpetrated by the authoritarian government, making them a target of the regime. 

According to the annual USCIRF report, “between December 26 and 31, [2023], the [Nicaraguan] government arbitrarily arrested many … clergymen — particularly those who have criticized the religious freedom and human rights conditions in Nicaragua.” 

Additionally, Mexico and Haiti have experienced upticks in Christian oppression largely due to a more prominent criminal cartel presence and escalating gang violence. 

Mexico is undergoing persistent threats from drug cartels who continue to challenge the authority of the Mexican government. Christians living in the country who oppose the cartel’s illegal activities are viewed as a threat and become targets of the organizations. As the cartels gain strength and legitimate Mexican authorities lose ground, Christians continue to be vulnerable. 

Furthermore, gangs in Haiti have all but seized control of the state, making it difficult for Christians to practice their faith without fear of being caught in the crossfire of gang attacks and crime. 

The Haitian government has become increasingly corrupt and more dependent upon street gangs to enforce the law, which has sent Haiti into chaos in recent months. According to the Associated Press, “The most important immediate cause [of the chaos] is … Haitian rulers’ increasing dependence on street gangs. Haiti hasn’t had a standing army or a well-funded and robust national police force for decades.” 

Christianity Today reported in April 2024 that some Haitian Christians “risk their lives crossing gang checkpoints on their way to … church.” Haitian authorities rarely punish gangs for their criminal activities, leaving many Christians to feel unsafe. 

As communism and lawlessness become commonplace throughout Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, and Nicaragua, it appears as if further attacks on Christians are inevitable. 

For interviews, please email [email protected].