A. THE COUNTRY
The Republic of Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean. Castro
family members still govern the communist government after more than
five decades. Political opposition is illegal despite increasing
dissident activity, promoting emigration and pervasive hopelessness.
The U.S. trade embargo, devastating hurricanes, repressive centralized
socialist planning, corruption and poor productivity hamper progress.
There is a lack of many essentials (including food), yet there is a high
standard in education and health. Tourism is becoming more and more
economically important. Venezuela, China and Bolivia provide
substantial economic assistance.
B. THE PEOPLE
The population is ~11,205,000 and the official language is Spanish.
Poverty has led to a thriving black market where crime, drugs and
prostitution (including sex tourism) are widespread. Black and mulatto
Cubans suffer more than whites.
~98% are Hispanic (White, Mulatto and Mestizo, and Black).
~1% are Asian (primarily Chinese, also South Asian).
~1% Other (Haitian, Russian, Palestinian).
C. RELIGIONS AND CHRISTIANITY/PENTECOSTALISM
A Secular rather than atheist state, discrimination against Christians
is illegal, but harassment continues. The Cuban Council of Churches is
the Protestant umbrella body sanctioned by the regime, and it endorses
an expression of faith more in keeping with the Communistic ideals.
~56.53% claim to be Christian, ~25.01% Non-religious, ~18%
Ethnoreligionist, ~0.14% each of Hindu, Chinese, Other, ~0.04% Buddhist.
In the Christian category:
~48.37% are Catholic, ~5.66% Protestant, ~1.83% Independent, ~1.5%
Unaffiliated, ~0.12% Anglican, ~0.08% Orthodox.
Evangelicals represent ~8.8% of the population.
Charismatics represent ~7.1% and of those ~3.5% are Pentecostals.
Evangelicals, charismatics, and Pentecostals report rapid growth in
recent years. The government has made it nearly impossible economically
to build new churches, resulting in growth of the house church movement.
Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.