PRO-GOVERNMENT RALLIES FOLLOW UNPRECEDENTED PROTESTS IN CUBA
Just days after unprecedented protests in many cities and towns across the island nation of Cuba, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel acknowledged some shortcomings on the part of his government and initiated some reforms in response to the unrest. But he continued to blame the US embargo and sanctions for most of Cuba’s economic struggles. Just last month, the UN General Assembly called for the US to end the Cuba embargo for the 29th consecutive year, by an overwhelming 184 votes in favour, compared with only two against (the USA and Israel), and three abstentions (Colombia, Ukraine, and Brazil). Although the General Assembly’s vote carries political weight in terms of international diplomacy, only the US Congress can lift the economic, commercial, and financial embargo that has been in place for over five decades. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said that the blockade was a “massive, flagrant and unacceptable violation of the human rights of the Cuban people”. Meanwhile, Political Coordinator for the US Mission, Rodney Hunter, said that sanctions are “one set of tools in Washington’s broader effort toward Cuba to advance democracy, promote respect for human rights, and help the Cuban people exercise fundamental freedoms”. Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, Cuba’s permanent representative to the United Nations, told Newsweek last month that the sanctions and embargo have caused over $144.1 billion in accumulative losses to Cuba. Despite these economic hardships, Cuba’s bio-pharmacological industry has independently developed several coronavirus vaccines, including Soberana II and Abdala, which are being rolled out to the 11-million population. The so-called “anti-communist” protests that broke out in various locations on Sunday 11 July, later degenerated into riots in some instances in which property was vandalised and cars were overturned, while one protester was killed, and several police officers were injured. Protesters were calling for an end to the economic hardship, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. US President Joe Biden lent vocal support to the unrest last week, although his Cuban-born Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, warned that any asylum seekers from the Caribbean island would be intercepted at sea and transported to other countries.
FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE – CUBA
|UNREACHED GROUPS:||2 (0.3% of pop.)|
Cuba has been experiencing waves of revival for a few decades now, amid the hardship of a communist government, and the stifling effects of hefty sanctions and economic embargoes. Jeff King, President of International Christian Concern, explains in a video, The Untold Story of Revival in Cuba: “I spent a lot of time in Cuba, and I absolutely love the Church. They’re an extremely vibrant Church, powerful, anointed Church. And I was so curious, and I finally got someone to tell me the history, the spiritual history, of Cuba. And it starts back in the late 50s.” In summary, the article says: “The lesser-known story of revival in this communist nation is nothing short of miraculous. After threats from the authorities drove many lukewarm Christians out of the Church, those who remained were dedicated believers willing to risk everything for Christ. As a result, the Gospel has swept throughout Cuba, pointing countless new believers to Christ.” The Lord seems to be working in Cuba through successive generations and is building a resilient and vibrant Church, able to withstand a variety of assaults. The combined effects of economic difficulties and political strain could again be a catalyst for further growth in the Church.
Please pray with us for the following:
- For a breakthrough in international relations which will lead to a constructive change in Cuban society
- For the Church in Cuba to remain faithful to its calling and to not get distracted by the lures of the world
- For the love and commitment of Cuban believers to draw many more into the Lord’s Kingdom
Image: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini