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Open Letter from a Cuban Pastor

Editors’ note: 

To read this in Spanish, see original version at Coalición por el Evangelio.

I have deep pain and grief in my heart as I see what is happening in our country, despite being one of those who firmly believe that Christians should fight and die, if necessary, for the gospel of Jesus Christ and only for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The reason is biblical and simple: no philosophy or earthly government will solve the problems of man—neither hunger nor inequality, nor injustice, nor racism, nor any other problem that we face in this world.

Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can really do all of this, and yet we will have to wait until we get to the other side of eternity before we can see these things in their perfect state. For even the followers of Christ in this part of eternity are, to some extent, consciously and otherwise, part of the problem of sin that dwells in our mortal body.

I do not consider any political system in this world ideal. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. And many years ago I decided to just fight for the gospel: to give all my energy and my life, and give up opportunities for a “better life,” for the service of the gospel.

Many years ago I decided to give all my energy and my life, and give up opportunities for a ‘better life,’ for the service of the gospel.

I have done it in an imperfect way, but trying to please God and give eternal hope to the people who saw me born. That is why I dedicate my strength and energy to proclaiming the only true gospel.

I Can’t Remain Silent

Despite all this, and given what is happening in Cuba since last Sunday, July 11, I can’t remain silent. As Cuban Christians, we need to discern, understand, and act properly. We are called to obey the authorities (Rom. 13:1–6), to honor them (1 Pet. 2:17), to love our enemies (Luke 6:35), to bless those who persecute us (Rom. 12:14).

I have done this for as long as I’ve been a Christian—30 years. I have taught it in churches that God has allowed me to pastor, and it is something we need to keep doing. But also, as Christians, we must seek peace wherever we are (1 Pet. 3:11), care for the needy, and promote divine justice.

Cuba has suffered a lot and for a long time. The causes have been diverse and complex. We can neither simplify them, nor reduce the significance of the government or the blockade. Many things have conspired so that Cuba is today as it is.

I am one of those who experienced the “special period” (1991–2000) firsthand, and religious persecution on more than one occasion. I have always lived without the freedom to express myself publicly in order to continue doing the work of the gospel in Cuba. The sacrifice has been worth it. I do not regret it, and I would do it again.

But under these circumstances, I need to say something. I can’t shut up. I simply rest in the mercy and protection of God.

Three Messages I Reject

As Christians, we must focus on continuing to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to our people. Cuba needs him, now more than ever, because only the one the Son sets free is truly free (John 8:36). But also, as a Christian and a Cuban citizen, there are things that I reject.

  1. The slogan that says “The street belongs to the revolutionaries,” because the streets of any country belong to all its citizens. It should be “The street belongs to all Cubans,” regardless of their ideology, race, sex, and so on. It is absolutely of all Cubans. Slogans like these are discriminatory and lead to violence, division, and pride.
  2. The call to confront Cubans against Cubans, because it is a call to intolerance, violence, division, suffering, and misery. It is a call to death.
  3. All kinds of violent repression against peaceful demonstrations and all kinds of violence. We must all be guaranteed the right to be heard, to dialogue, to express our criteria, without fear of being beaten or repressed and without retaliating or repressing others.

How to Pray for Cuba

I urge all Christians to pray constantly at this time:

  • For the people of Cuba, for their safety and physical integrity. That their cry is heard by the authorities and that a constructive dialogue can be carried out.
  • For the Cuban authorities, to stop the call for violence and stop the repression of peaceful demonstrations.
  • For the Christians and the church at this time: may they be the salt and light of Cuba.
  • That God in his mercy will provide peace and rest for the Cuban people.
  • For every Christian to be a peacemaker amid everything that is happening.

Brothers and sisters, let’s pray for Cuba. Let’s not stop, let’s not rest, let’s not give up. Let us shed all our prejudices and pray that God has mercy on the people of Cuba and that, in this side of eternity, although we know that with imperfections, we can enjoy a little peace and harmony. I need it. Cuba needs it.

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