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#37 in Christian persecution, Cuba




Latin America


Dictatorial paranoia




Very High






Communist state


President Miguel Diaz-Canel


Violence 5.9/16.7

Church Life 14.0/16.7

National Life 13.2/16.7

Community Life 12.6/16.7

Family Life 8.1/16.7

Private Life 12.3/16.7

What does persecution look like 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, and so when church leaders or Christian activists criticize the regime, they face arrest, closure of their churches or businesses, prison sentences, and harassment by the government and its sympathizers.

New churches are often denied registration, as the authorities want to control and limit the church’s influence—forcing many churches to operate illegally. This leads to the imposition of penalties, such as the complete refusal to issue licenses, heavy fines, confiscation of property or even the demolition or closure of churches, including house churches. 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.”

What has changed this year?

Persecution in Cuba continues to worsen. Last year, Cuba was just outside the top 50 countries on the World Watch List (at 51), and the previous year it was 61. 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.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Church leaders and others who speak out against the Communist regime are most vulnerable to persecution in Cuba.

What does Open Doors do to help?

Open Doors partners strengthen the persecuted church in Cuba through Bible distribution, livelihood projects, biblical training, leadership development projects and socio-economic development to increase the self-reliance of the church.

Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2021).

Pray for Cuba

  • Pray that God will bring about change in the political landscape, so that religious freedom will be honored in Cuba.

  • Ask God for resilience and wisdom for church leaders, so that churches can keep worshiping God together despite all the restrictions placed on them.

  • Pray God would open doors for local Open Doors partners to serve the persecuted church in Cuba.

Stories from Cuba

January 18, 2021

13 Christians murdered for following Jesus—every day

March 6, 2020

A ‘living death’: How Christian women experience persecution

January 15, 2020

Every day, 8 Christians killed for their decision to follow Jesus

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