By Michal Ortner
Fidel Castro, dictator of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, placed a ban on the distribution of Bibles in the communist country in 1969. Since the 44-year prohibition of God’s Word in Cuba lifted at the end of 2014, several organizations are jumping at the chance to provide large shipments of the Bible to the island.
With the availability of Scripture, many are wondering what type of response will take place among the Cuban population. There is great hope for revival.
“There is a call of revival in Cuba that is connected with Miami. The largest Hispanic group in Miami is Cuban. Fidel Castro exiled them and drove them out of Cuba over religious, political and economic issues. When he closed the borders, many escaped and have since become American citizens,” The Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders said in a statement.
“However, a deep wound is in their heart because Castro displaced them and removed their inheritance. Now a new generation has arisen in Florida. However, this generation is indoctrinated by the wounds of the past generation and they have much bitterness toward Cuba,” the statement continued.
As a part of an “experimental program” that the Cuban government has initiated, Bibles are being welcomed into the country as a means of rectifying some of the stressed ties with the United States.
A U.S. State Department report that assesses religious activity in Cuba said that, for religious leaders, there is “continued improvement in their ability to attract new members without government interference, a further reduction in interference from the government in conducting their services…”
The report included that there was an “additional improvement in their ability to import religious materials, receive donations from overseas, bring in foreign religious workers and visitors, restore houses of worship, and conduct educational activities. Religious organizations also reported that the government returned several church properties that had been confiscated by the state in 1961.”
David Isais of the American Bible Society, who works closely with the Bible Commission of Cuba, says that the government could discontinue the program if it becomes “disruptive.”
Joel Ortega Dopico, president of the Cuban Council of Churches, believes that this new turn of events is a sign of more positivity to come.
“It’s a special moment, a moment of awakening, a time when the church is growing in a way that can only happen through God’s Spirit, as He did back in those early days of the church,” Dopico said. “We are living the Word of God where it says that, ‘every day the Lord is adding to the church those who are being saved.'”