Despite Obama’s claims, Cuba’s the same
Thursday, September 8, 2016 | Bill Bumpas, Chad Groening (OneNewsNow.com)
Christian human rights organizations are alarmed at the wave of
repression against Christians in Cuba – despite the normalization of
relations between the United States and the communist island.
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
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
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.”
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