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The inhabitants of Cuba are mainly of Spanish and African origins. The first influx of the Spanish colons came from Castile and later from Galicia, Catalonia, Andalusia and the Canary islands where as the African came from the Congo, Bantu, Madingas, Lucumi, Carabalis and Arara.

 

Catholicism is the predominant religion of the island being the religion of Spanish empire. It has been flourishing since with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the year 1492 and under the American occupation too for it conveyed their culture and ideology. All over the island there are 11 dioceses across Cuba.More than 50 percent of the Cuban population is Catholic but the number of Evangelical protestant followers are increasing within the island and the most practiced Afro-Cuban religion, Santeria, a blending of Catholicism and African native traditional religion is practiced in Cuba and has among its adepts nowadays Spanish descendants.

The syncretism of the traditional religions to Catholicism has contributed to the assimilation of the African Cuban to the Spanish culture.

There is also a small Jewish and Muslim communities living on the island. With the revolution, many Jews fled the country. The Jewish community has a synagogue in Havana their followers are from the province of Santiago, Camaguey and other parts of the island.


However, though free practice of religion is allowed in the Cuban constitution, this freedom is restricted by the state; no public worship is allowed in Cuba. Two years after the collapse of the Batista government in the 1959, religion was banned. It was believed that it was the breeding ground for rebels to counter the Castro revolution. After the invasion of the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban government espoused the socialist ideology and nationalized the catholic schools. During 1962 to 1991, many Cuban were denied of many opportunities in their education and careers because of their faith. The sanction was lifted in 1991 when finally the believers adhered to the communist party and its ideology. In 1992, Cuba was declared a secular state.


The Ministry of Religious Affairs is responsible of the religions in all Cuba and the government is neutral in his relationship with the churches within the country. All recognized or official churches are affiliated to the Cuban Council of Churches (CCC). The Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists form part of the Cuban council of churches and are officially recognized by the government where as the Jewish community and the Jehovah Witness, Evangelical and Lutheran churches are not. Those religious bodies, not recognized officially by the authorities face harassment, repression and interference in their internal affairs. It should be stressed that through the party adherence and the student Cumulative School File (CSF) strict monitoring is carried out by the Ministry of Interior who keeps an eye and monitor religious activities. Religious bodies are even infiltrated by the secret Cuban police. Even the most important organized religion, the Catholic Church operates under several restrictions and pressure from the governmental forces.

 
The Cuban regime is still not agreeing tot let foreign priest to work in Cuban island, to train new priests for the needs of the country and reinstall the religious institutions like schools, hospital, universities, nursing homes, access to internet and media, and operate an independent press for its church.
Pope John Paul II’s visit to Cuba was indeed a light in the tunnel that soon vanished. The churches are now asking themselves with the overlooking and hindrance of the church activities if the Cuban society will not be changing to an immoral one after forty years of the revolution of 1959.

 



 

 

 

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