Despite Obama’s claims, Cuba’s the same
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports a government crackdown on freedom of religion or belief continues in Cuba as the organization detailed 1,600 separate violations in the first half of this year alone. The cases include the demolition and confiscation of church buildings and destruction of church property.
International Christian Concern’s Isaac Six says they are hearing the same thing from believers in Cuba.
“As of right now, we’re just seeing a lot of suppression, and we really think that’s in response to President Obama’s visit,” Six asserts. “Ever since that visit, the Castro government has been working really hard to erase his speech.”
CSW received a growing number of accounts of religious groups standing up to government pressure,” he continued. “Church leaders have continued to worship on the sites of their demolished churches and Ladies in White have persisted in their efforts to attend Mass on Sunday mornings, despite government repression and violence.”
Six explains the government is afraid of losing control.
“They’re concerned that if more people attend church and the pastors gain more influence in the country, then they’ll be able to initiate protests or large group gatherings – and that’s going to destabilize the government.”
ICC calls upon the Obama administration to take action steps to put an end to the Castro regime’s continued persecution.
“We urge the United States government to apply pressure on Cuban authorities to halt their repressive policies against churches,” ICC stated in a press release.
Religious persecution 90 miles away
Meanwhile, as commercial flights from the U.S. to Cuba are underway again for the first time in more than 50 years, a Christian human rights group is concerned about how both American and Cuban believers will be treated.
According to ICC, Americans are traveling to the communist island nation just 90 miles south of Miami, Florida, while there is religious suppression taking place there.
Six says he’s surprised by this wave of repression as the barriers between the U.S. and Cuba are being broken down. He wonders what will happen to American Christians traveling to Cuba.
“If they try to attend church services or [if] they try to meet with pastors when they go, are they going to be followed, are they going to be detained, [or] will they be deported?” Six asks. “So, yeah, I think there’s really a potential here for some scary things possibly to happen.”
Six told OneNewsNow of a conversation he had with a longtime Cuban pastor about traveling to the island country.
“He guaranteed that I would be followed – especially if I tried to engage in conversations about anything political or if I tried to engage in conversations about human rights or religious freedom,” he informed. “Even if I wasn’t immediately detained or asked to leave after I left, the people I talked to would be questioned.”
Six insists Americans must really understand how extensive the surveillance network is that Cuba still has in place. He expressed that ICC is hopeful that as America’s influence there continues to grow, there will be a change.
More money … not freedom
Despite Obama’s attempt to elicit change in Cuba through negotiations with the communist regime, it is argued that things remain the same.
A Cuban born anti-communist activist maintains that the decision of American-based airlines to open service to Cuba will do nothing but enrich the Castro regime, which continues to oppress the Cuban people.
On Wednesday, American Airlines began regular commercial jet service to Cuba. It joins Jet Blue, which began flying there on August 31.
In addition, the Dallas Morning News reports that nine other U.S.-based airlines – including Southwest – are planning flights to the communist-controlled island. The airlines are jumping at the chance to fly there because they see it as tourist goldmine.
Humberto Fontova — who fled Cuba in 1961 and has written several books on the regime – says the influx of American tourists will do nothing but further enrich those who are oppressing the Cuban people.
“When you read in the news media and when you hear from the U.S. State Department that we’re doing this for Cuba – no, [we aren’t stopping the oppressive regime],” Fontova stressed. “Substitute for the word “Cuba” the Castro family crime syndicate because that is what runs Cuba – a handful of criminal terrorists.”
Fontova also say that he doesn’t think Donald Trump would put a halt to all this stuff if he becomes president.
“If Cruz or Marco would have been president [the oppression might have decreased], but I don’t think there’s really much incentive for Donald Trump,” Fontova continued. “He’s smart enough to know most Americans don’t care because they’re not getting any of this in the media. And I think Trump knows that he has enough problems, so I don’t think he’s going to tackle this one.”