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TOP NEWS - Worldwide Kingdom/Revival NEWS Forum : TOP NEWS - Worldwide Kingdom/Revival NEWS
Subject Topic: Cuba: what’s next? Post Reply Post New Topic
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Posted: 11/30/2016 at 9:26am | IP Logged Quote Moderator

Cuba: what’s next?

PUBLISHED ON 30 November, 2016 BY

Cuba (MNN) — Cuba is a nation in mourning this week, following the death of Revolutionary leader turned Communist dictator, Fidel Castro.

Photo courtesy Vision Beyond Borders

(Photo courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders)

Although Castro seemingly embodied Cuba and vice versa, it could be argued that under his leadership, the rise of an age of persecution began.  A decade ago, Fidel Castro handed power to his brother, Raul.  What followed was a beginning age of austerity, mainly to try and get the country back on track economically.

There was some freedom of religion, with the Roman Catholic Church as the largest denomination.  However, the Voice of the Martyrs notes there has not been a Christian bookstore on the island for 53 years, and Bibles are only imported through churches that are members of the Ecumenical Council (an association of churches that collaborates with the government and includes only 10 percent of all churches).

Meanwhile, VOM contacts say the government has begun seizing church buildings in a crackdown that involves over 1,600 religious freedom violations.  Many church leaders have been subjected to arbitrary detainment, harassment, and the confiscation or destruction of their church and personal property.

Vision Beyond Borders’ Dyann Romeijn says, “There’s apparently a list of about one thousand churches slated to be destroyed.  Some have already been destroyed. It’s very, very difficult to get permission to build a new church or anything like that. It’s kind of not allowing the churches to grow. It’s difficult to get Bibles and religious supplies.”

Image courtesy Vision Beyond Borders

(Image courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders)

Romeijn advises people not to put too much stock in the speculation of immediate change.  “There was some speculation that Raul may have wanted to do more opening of relations and things like that, and was afraid to do much — that it would upset his brother — so, some of that might actually take place now.”

It has become very difficult to register evangelical churches and obtain building permits.  House churches are regulated and aren’t allowed to be within two kilometers of another house church, which is hard to comply with in congested cities.

VBB Director Patrick Klein shared this story recently:

“A man came to one of our friends in #Cuba recently and was in tears as he explained the government was going to destroy his church that week. He then explained that despite the increasing persecution, ‘We will continue to praise God no matter what! We can serve Him without a church building!’”

Then Klein asked this question:

“If #persecution increases in America after this upcoming election, will we rise and serve our Lord faithfully like our brothers and sisters in Cuba? Will the Church in America stand fiercely against all evil and stand up for His truth? “

While teams continue traveling with VBB, one fact remains the same: no matter the change that might arise, Christians are still restricted in their belief and worship of Jesus Christ.  And yet, despite the depravity they endure and the persecution faced, Christianity is thriving and the Gospel being proclaimed.

The believers are resilient, she adds.  “There are a lot of churches that are growing there, fairly rapidly.  It’s difficult for them to get Bibles, so [we’re] bringing in a lot of Bibles and then just supporting the pastors there with the Pastors’ Sponsorship Program.”

Photo courtesy Vision Beyond Borders

(Photo courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders)

What does the Pastors’ Sponsorship program do?  Romeijn explains, “A person in Cuba makes about $25 per month, and so it doesn’t go very far.  They have very limited rations and things.  If we can come along and sponsor with the Pastors’ Sponsorship Program, it allows them to concentrate on full-time ministry.”

She’s asking others to pray that the believers of this country will not fear government reprisal, but live in unconditional surrender to the Lordship of Christ.  “It’s encouraging to the Christians there to know people in America are praying for them and helping to support them.”

Ask God to provide wisdom to Cuba’s church leaders, specifically requesting that they will exemplify grace toward all governmental authorities while remaining bold in their presentation of the Gospel.  Pray, too, for the salvation of the current governmental leader, Raúl Castro, as well as those who work under his leadership.

Source: Mission Network News

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Posted: 11/30/2016 at 9:56am | IP Logged Quote Moderator

How These World Leaders are Reacting to Fidel Castro's Death

Talia Wise, Dale Hurd : Nov 28, 2016 : CBN News

"The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not. The future of Cuba ultimately remains in the hands of the Cuban people, and now more than ever Congress and the new administration must stand with them against their brutal rulers and support their struggle for freedom and basic human rights." -Sen. Marco Rubio

airlift[CBN News] There is a deep divide among world leaders reacting to the death of Fidel Castro. (Screengrab via CBN News)

Many on the Left remember him as a world-class leader despite his violent and oppressive rule. Most on the Right recall the communist ruler for his tyrannical, violent and often deadly reign.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement Saturday in which he expressed "deep sorrow" of learning of the death of the former Cuban president.

"Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century," he wrote. "A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation."

Britain's Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, hailed Castro as a "champion of social justice."

"From building a world class health and education system, to Cuba's record of international solidarity abroad, Castro's achievements were many," he wrote.

President Barack Obama refused to recognize Castro's Soviet-communism style or his defiance of the power of 10 U.S. presidents during his half-century rule.

"History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him," he wrote.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ordered flags to be flown Sunday at half-mast to mourn the death of the Cuban revolutionary leader.

Castro broke off Cuba's diplomatic ties with Israel in 1973 and was one of the first countries to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) after its founding in 1964, a Palestinian news agency reported.

But conservative leaders were not concerned with honoring Castro or his oppressive history.

"Fidel Castro's legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty, and the denial of fundamental human rights," President-elect Donald Trump said of the Cuban dictator's death.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, told Fox News that he hopes that the Obama administration sends "no one" to Castro's funeral.

"The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not," said Rubio, who is of Cuban decent.

"The future of Cuba ultimately remains in the hands of the Cuban people, and now more than ever Congress and the new administration must stand with them against their brutal rulers and support their struggle for freedom and basic human rights," Rubio said.

Garry Kasparov, chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, tweeted several times Saturday reprimanding world leaders who "honored" Castro's rule.

Fidel Castro was one of the 20th century's many monsters. We should lament only that he had so long to inflict misery on Cuba and beyond. -Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) November 26, 2016

Don't rationalize or apologize for Castro's decades of brutal repression, torture, and murder. He didn't fight for freedom; he destroyed it. -Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) November 26, 2016

Mike Gonzalez, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, wrote a commentary called "The Left's Appalling Whitewashing of Castro's Legacy."

airlift"No social accomplishment, to be sure, could justify keeping an entire people hostage, denying them the right to elect their own leaders or exercise any human rights for half a century," he wrote. "But there weren't any accomplishments." (Screengrab: Miami's Cuban-Americans celebrate Castro's death/via CBN News)

Some leaders took a less harsh stance and said they hoped Cuba will use this opportunity to move away from its communist-style regime.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, wrote: "It is my hope that the Cuban regime will use this opportunity to turn the page for the good of the Cuban people and for all those living in the Americas. Freedom and democracy are long overdue in Cuba."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said that there is a lot of work to be done to secure freedom for the Cuban people.

"Now that Fidel Castro is dead, the cruelty and oppression of his regime should die with him," he said. "Today, let us reflect on the memory and sacrifices of all those who have suffered under the Castros."

Miami's exile Cuban community in Little Havana rejoiced at the news of Castro's death.

For many of them, there is a feeling of hope mixed with a little bit of skepticism.

"I find it hard to believe," Dan Martin, a Miami-born engineer whose mother fled Castro's Cuba in 1962, told the Miami Herald.

Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen spoke on behalf of the Cuban community in a press conference Sunday.

"I join with the Cuban-American community and the people of Cuba, who have lived for decades under this regime in closing one chapter of this nightmare," she said.

"The political transition in Cuba had already occurred years ago, so don't expect changes coming from Fidel's death," Ros-Lehtinen continued. "The only thing Fidel Castro has been successful at was staying in power. Period. I heard a lot of accolades about the great strides in literacy, against malnutrition and in education, but we know better."

Unlike Ros-Lehtinen, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said Castro's death could provide a new opportunity for the Cuban Church.

"The passing of the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro provides an opportunity for freedom and democracy to emerge in an island nation held captive by totalitarianism," he said. "Let us pray and advocate for the current leadership to embrace liberty and respect the God given rights of all Cubans. Que viva Cuba, fuerte y libre!"

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