How many Christians are there in Cuba?
Although more than 60 per cent of Cuba’s 11.5 million population are Christians (7.1 million), they are facing increasing persecution from the Communist government.
How are Christians persecuted in Cuba?
Since 1959, Cuba has been governed by the Communist Party, which seeks to control the church according to its Communist ideology. The government reacts harshly against opposition voices and demonstrators. When church leaders or Christian activists criticise the regime, they face arrest, closure of their churches or businesses, prison sentences, and harassment by the government. New churches are often denied registration, as the authorities want to control and limit the church's influence. The government controls all media and restricts access from the outside world, so it is very hard for Christians to communicate widely in the country.
Meet ‘Pastor Jorge’
“Government officials have joined some of the WhatsApp groups the churches have set up, and they do so to monitor our activities.” Pastor Jorge, a minister in Cuba
What’s life like for Christians in Cuba?
National service is compulsory for men. If it’s discovered that they are active Christians or have Christian parents, they often face persecution if their commanding officer is prejudiced against believers.
Pastors – the majority of whom are men – come under particularly close scrutiny from Cuba's Communist regime. They face beatings, arrests, confiscation of Christian literature, destruction of property and death threats. Children of activists or pastors are also vulnerable and may face mistreatment from their teachers and peers. An Open Doors source says: “Christian men and boys in Cuba are beaten: adults physically; children in the soul.”
Christian women are among those who lose their jobs, receive threats and monitoring, and are mistreated by police because of their activism – such as the 'Ladies in White', a group of women founded by the relatives of political prisoners.
Is it getting harder to be a Christian in Cuba?
Persecution in Cuba continues to worsen. Last year, Cuba was just outside the top 50 countries on the World Watch List (at 51), but this year it has risen 17 places. The continued rise is the result of highly restrictive measures against churches deemed to be opponents of the regime – especially non-registered Protestant churches. The Covid-19 crisis has been used as a pretext to hinder church and community activities, monitor church leaders, make arbitrary arrests, confiscate private property and impose extortion fees. Christian leaders from different denominations were among those arrested during anti-government demonstrations in July.
How can I help Christians in Cuba?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Cuba. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors partners strengthen the persecuted church in Cuba through Bible distribution, livelihood projects, biblical training, leadership development projects and socio-economic development.
Heavenly Father, we know that Your church in Cuba faces intense opposition from the Communist Party – but we also know that Your children are ‘more than conquerors through Him who loved us’ (Romans 8:37). Please equip the church in Cuba to stay strong, joyfully worshipping You. Bring freedom and justice to Cuba. Amen.