Cuba: a time for tearing down

Bob Luntby Bob Lunt

It was 5am when the police arrived. Marilin was dragged from bed, handcuffed and taken away as her daughters, 11 and 12, watched in terror. A few hours later Cuban government officials proceeded to demolish the Emanuel Church building, which is also the home of Marilin and husband Alain who lead the church. Home and church were destroyed and church property – pews, chairs, piano and other instruments – were confiscated. 200 church members were arrested to stop them protesting at the demolition.

Alain, who was away at the time, legally owns the land, and the government had approved the construction of the buildings. But throughout 2015 he received threats of eviction and closure and in November an official eviction notice and demolition order. The congregation refused, but in February the end came. Alain believes the government deliberately waited until he was out of the country to make their move. Marilin was released but the impact on her and her daughters has been huge. The whole family is scared and shaken.

In Cuba all religious activities are strictly regulated by the Communist Party; Christians are routinely harassed and threatened; and if you’re working for human rights you can expect to be physically stopped from going to religious services. Last year the government employed more brutal and subtle tactics than ever before, designating over 100 churches for demolition and 2,000 Assemblies of God churches were declared illegal.

So Alain and Marilin were not surprised by what happened – especially as it had occurred before in 2007. And now reports have reached Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) that some church leaders have been threatened with a 7-year prison sentence if they dare to speak up publicly. Clearly the Cuban authorities are trying to keep their campaign of church demolition under wraps. But CSW won’t stop shining a light on it and Alain and Marilin are determined they won’t stop leading their church. Alain told CSW: “The church of Christ is and will be uncontainable, indestructible, because it is founded and guided, not by a mortal, but rather the Immortal and Eternal Jesus, the All Powerful. Nothing and no one can stop the church of Christ in Cuba! To Him be the Glory! Amen!”

Source: CSW. Read of another similar outrage at http://www.csw.org.uk/2016/04/14/news/3059/article.htm