Thursday, June 02, 2005

Religious Freedom in Cuba: A reality check.

A story that I often hear from exile members is how after fidelito took over, school children were taught not to pray to God. An example was how common practice to pray before meals was manipulated in favor of Fidelito:

The students would be lined up before the cafeteria table, they were told to close there eyes and to pray to God for food. And when they opened their eyes, the table remained empty. Then they were told to close their eyes and ask Papito Fidel (a name by which he still goes by) for food, and when they opened their eyes the food was set on the table. God is not only ignored, but attemptively murdered by communism.

In an article from entitled ¿Hay libertad religiosa en Cuba? Jorge Ramón Castillo remarks on this and how que en Cuba no hay libertad religiosa.

Here are some highlights:

La Iglesia Católica fue la institución religiosa más embestida por la horda revolucionaria llegada al poder.

Signada por la máxima marxista de que la religión es el opio de los pueblos, el anticlericalismo cubano tomó una identidad propia. A diferencia de la Revolución Francesa, que nunca ocultó su deseo de extirpar la religión de la sociedad, la revolución cubana trató de hacer lo mismo, pero usando métodos menos evidentes.

Amilanados por la ideología imperante, millones de cubanos se apartaron de sus creencias y se confesaron ateos.

la Iglesia Católica tuvo que esperar la visita del Papa Juan Pablo II para ganar ciertos espacios que jamás podrán compararse a los disfrutados antes de la revolución.

La cierta libertad existente para profesar algunos cultos religiosos dista mucho de una auténtica libertad religiosa.

Many Cubans, including many of my family members who are still on the island, are atheists because of castro. Many people who are Catholic are opressed harder than many protestants, because the Catholic Church is still seen as the number one religious threat. Many a Mass is intentionally drowned out by the neighborhood playing their TV's and Radios at full volume. And many a Catholic seldom attend Mass for fear of being labeled as a threat. This is true TODAY.

And for those who wonder why isn't the Catholic Church behaving as it did in Poland, or in El Salvador. It is because neither Poland nor El Salvador has had a Government so vehemently anti-religous and so oppressive to those who worship. This is why the Catholic Church has been so slow, and careful, in it's dealings with Fidelito (especially post-JPII). They are trying to hold on to whatever little scrap of presence the Pope got them in his visit -and move foward from there.

Things maybe be slightly better than the decades old labor camps for seminarians (jews and jehova witnessess), and from the harassment of Priests and Religious. Yet, the Cuban people are still a LONG way off from exercising their full freedom to worship.

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