Tough days for some Christians in Cuba

My friend Carlos Eire, Cuban-American author and professor at Yale, brought this one to my attention via Babalú Blog:

President Obama’s announcement that the United States would begin normalizing relations with Cuba’s communist regime has been criticized as a gift to an authoritarian government that hasn’t changed its ways.

Then, after the announcement in December, Obama doubled down, telling a Reuters interviewer he hopes to open an embassy in the repressive nation where persecution of Christians still is being documented.

The documentation comes from Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that works with persecuted Christians around the globe.

“Although recent reports seem to indicate many improvements for those living in Cuba, its government still severely restricts the freedom of its people, including Christian worship,” the group reported.

One recent display of repression, the organization said, was the detainment of the son of a pastor.

“Accused of writing a song against the government, Gabriel Leyva, 19, is now being held in a military prison with little recourse. He was arrested with only four months to go in his mandatory military service,” VOM reported.

By the way, this is happening just 90 miles south of Key West, or a bit less than the distance between Waco and Dallas.

The persecution of Christians is nothing in a communist and totalitarian regime.  The Castro regime went after the churches early on, such as closing all of the religious schools and discouraging young people from attending mass or other services.  In other words, the regime always saw the church, and especially the confidential relationship between priest and parishioner, as a threat to its total control of media and education.

Despite the persecution, brave Cubans attend mass and practice their faith.  Of course, they do so under threats and even thugs attacking them, as we've seen with The Ladies in White, who peacefully march calling for the release of their husbands, sons, and brothers from political prisons.

Am I the only one who thinks that "la versión cubana de hope and change" is no change and hopeless?

And this is the regime that we want to normalize relations with?  It's hard to see how legitimizing this regime is going to make life easier for Christians thrown in jail recently.

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