ADVERTISING
 
Thursday, August 22   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Society
Should Christians join social protests?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Michael Mutzner
 

Evangelicals in Cuba: the protected, the repressed and the persecuted

Cuba was reviewed earlier during this year in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review conducted by the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva.

FEATURES AUTHOR Michael Mutzner GENEVA 21 AUGUST 2018 12:42 h GMT+1
Havana, in Cuba. / Unsplash, CC0

Like every other UN Member State, Cuba was reviewed earlier during this year in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) conducted by the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva.



At this occasion, our Geneva Liaison Office worked on a report explaining the situation of the Evangelical churches in Cuba. Following years of steady growth, Evangelicals currently amount to about 10% of the Cuban population.



While a small minority of churches are protected, most still face some forms of restriction and yet hope for the government to guarantee more freedom. In this current context, it has not been possible for an Evangelical Alliance in Cuba to be created yet.



 



DIFFERENT GROUPS, DIFFERENT SITUATIONS



The situation for Evangelicals in Cuba greatly depends on which denomination the congregations belongs to. One can distinguish three groups of Evangelical Churches in Cuba:



1. The protected churches: Since 1959, Cuba has tried to secure the support of established churches, sometimes by force. Churches accepting the liberation theology are close to the State and have favorable conditions. They represent 8% of evangelical protestants in Cuba and are affiliated the Cuban Council of Churches.



During the UPR, reports from Evangelical churches belonging to this group were submitted to the UN and praised the governments' attitude towards religious freedom. Unfortunately, those reports are not at all representative of the situation of Evangelical churches in general.



2. Repressed churches: Indeed, 80% of Evangelicals belong to a second group which does not hold the same privileges as the first group, because it wants to focus on the Gospel and be politically non-aligned. Consequently, denominations present in Cuba before 1959 but unwilling to affiliate with the Cuban Church Council have suffered severe persecution in the past century (confiscation of seminary, prison sentences for pastors, etc.).



Even if their situation has greatly improved since the 90s, compared to the severe persecution suffered in the 60s and 70s, they are still tolerated at best. The government has so far refused for them to organize as the “Cuban Evangelical Alliance”. Being tolerated but not recognized, many meet illegally in house churches, because they do not receive construction permit or authorization to meet in larger places. They face confiscation, demolition and their leaders can still face arrests. Indeed, some pastors have been arrested still recently and later released.



3. Illegal and persecuted churches: Churches established after 1959 in Cuba face the most difficult conditions, because they are considered illegal. They represent 12% of Cuban Evangelicals. Some are in the country since over 30 years but are still unable to register with the ministry of justice of Cuba. Their meeting locations can be destroyed, and their leaders arrested. Thus, dozens of pastors are regularly harassed and arrested. Some have been unjustly sentenced in court, such as pastor Núñez Velázquez who was sentenced on October 2016 to one-year house arrest.



 



THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL MISSES OPPORTUNITY TO RAISE CUBA’S RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTRICTIONS



Regretfully, during the recent UPR review in the on May 16 by the United Nations Human Rights Council, only the situation of the first group of the protected Churches was mentioned. Cuba affirmed that “no restrictions and no barriers were standing in the way of religious associations to exercise their right freely”.



This is not true for over 90% of Evangelicals in Cuba. Four report brought attention to restrictions on Freedom of Religion in Cuba and the situation of religious minorities in Cuba - By the World Evangelical Alliance (in French), by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (in English), by Patmos Institute (in Spanish), and by ADF International (in English). It was disturbing that, despite these reports, no State raised critical comments on religious freedom in Cuba, while India, Mozambique and the United Arab Emirates praised Cuba for its promotion of freedom of religion.



 



CHRISTIANS IN CUBA ASK FOR PRAYERS



Christians in Cuba pray their government will grant them more freedom in the future. They hope that denominations requesting to be registered will be recognized and able to operate freely under a fair rule of law.



They also hope that their government will come to realize that Evangelicals are not a threat nor a force of political opposition but a blessing for their country, because of the Christians praying for their government and wanting to serve the common good.



Michael Mutzner, Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva of the World Evangelical Alliance.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Evangelicals in Cuba: the protected, the repressed and the persecuted
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process

The Brussels representative of the European Evangelical Alliance offers a Christian perspective on the crisis: “We can’t reduce people to just a number that needs to be controlled”.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’ IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’

Students, graduates and staff of the global evangelical student movement reflected together on how the books of Luke and Acts apply to today's universities.

 
Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission

Photos of the Lausanne Movement Global Workplace Forum, celebrated in Manila.

 
European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference

Images of the fifth EFN gathering. Experts, activists, counsellors and church leaders met in Pescara, Italy.

 
Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference

Evangelical leaders from across Europe meet in Wisla (Poland) to network for mission in a range of fields. The vision is to renew the biblical church and evangelise Europe.

 
‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

 
VIDEO Video
 
How has Christianity influenced the modern world? How has Christianity influenced the modern world?

Paul Copan, Chair of Philosophy and Ethics of Palm Beach Atlantic University, explains how many key features of Western civilization, are the legacy of the biblical faith being lived out by believers in society.

 
Chinese Homecoming Gathering: Thousands say 'we’re one' Chinese Homecoming Gathering: Thousands say 'we’re one'

Christians from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and North America, from different ethnic backgronds, came together to pray for unity as the body of Christ.

 
How have global missions changed over the last century? How have global missions changed over the last century?

The centre of gravity of Christianity has shifted from Europe to Africa, says Nana Yaw Offei Awuku, Director of the Lausanne Younger Leaders Generation initiative.

 
Christian organisations call to pray for new British Prime Minister Christian organisations call to pray for new British Prime Minister

Representatives of the National Day of Prayer, the Evangelical Alliance and CARE express the need for churches to pray for the new leadership of a country divided by Brexit and other issues.

 
GWF in Manila: “Kingdom building requires global collaboration” GWF in Manila: “Kingdom building requires global collaboration”

850 from 108 countries met for the Global Workplace Forum, June 25-29. The gathering was organised by the Lausanne Movement. “Every workplace is a place of ministry”.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.