CBNNews.com - HAVANA, Cuba -- In the communist country of Cuba, the Church has undergone 50 years of persecution. Dictator Fidel Castro declared atheism the state religion and Christians were arrested, sometimes killed.
In recent years, Cuba has eased up, and churches are freer to worship. On a recent trip to the island nation, CBN News saw that the church is beginning to grow.
Castro and Christianity
When Fidel Castro launched his revolution against the Batista government in the mid-1950s, he said Christian principles had motivated him and his brother Raul to fight for change.
Catholic priests served as chaplains in the Castro rebel force, but shortly after Castro came to power his government took over all Catholic schools and banished priests. That step was just one of many taken to impose Marxist/Leninist beliefs on the island nation.
It was in the mountains where Raul Castro and his band of guerillas in northeastern Cuba advanced the revolution. That was 50 years ago. Today, there's a new revolution sweeping these mountains and across Cuba and it's not a political one.
Ten-thousand Cubans attended a two-night Christian concert in the city of Holguin last June. Such events are still rare in Cuba, but less than 10 years ago they were not allowed at all.
Christian leaders say the Cuban government is finding it more difficult these days to slow the rapid spread of Christianity here.
Click play to watch the report from CBN News' Gary Lane and Pat Robertson give his insight on the freedoms that we as Americans enjoy.
One Cuban church leader agreed to talk to CBN News on camera only if we protected his identity.
"Many people are empty in their hearts," the church leader told CBN News. "They have lost hope in the humanist philosophy. They are angry, sad and hurting and they want something real. They are thirsty and they are coming to Christ."
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