BACKGROUND: In the past year, the waning “spirit of the revolution” has been revived. Many have again become committed to the nationalist, communist ideology from the 1950s. Cubans remain poor, with the government involved in every aspect of life.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: Most Cubans are atheists. A significant number of Cubans engage in superstitious and spiritist practices. Including the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria.
PERSECUTOR: The government systematically persecutes Christians.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN CUBA: Concern for its global reputation has caused the Cuban government to change tactics in regard to persecution. Christian leaders are often called into meetings with government officials or imprisoned for up to 48 hours to pressure them. Churches are demolished by hired gangs so the government can deny responsibility. Church buildings are seized, and no new church buildings have been built in the country since the revolution. Many believers meet in unsanctioned “house churches,” often extensions of the pastor’s home or shaded structures in the backyard. The church continues to grow through active evangelism, but some of the country’s estimated 1 million believers have never owned a Bible. Though no Christians are known to be imprisoned in Cuba, many are so closely watched by the government that they are effectively under house arrest. In addition, Christians are often denied jobs and educational opportunities.