Even after the death of the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in November 2016, Cuba is still marked by conservative communist structures. For the majority of Cubans, this continues to mean a life of poverty. In addition, the island nation has suffered from the consequences of severe hurricanes in recent years.
Local churches have not been spared the devastation. In addition to the reconstruction of the church infrastructure, our funding has focused on ensuring the presence of church workers, as well as religious education.
»In times when prospects are dim, the Church is the only reliable hope for many Cubans.«
The situation in Cuba could best be summed up by a continuing lack of prospects. Even after Raúl Castro withdrew from his office as president, no political changes are to be expected. For now, the hopes of many Cubans for a rapprochement with the US, including a relaxation of the economic embargo, have been dashed by the stance of US President Donald Trump. Since the visit of Pope Francis and the Year of Divine Mercy in 2016, the Church in Cuba has at least been able to improve its dialogue with the public authorities. This aspect has given the Church more freedom for its evangelisation efforts.
Cuba’s lack of prospects was exacerbated by the destruction of Hurricane Irma, which hit nearly the entire island in September 2017 with storm gusts of more than 250 km/h. The hurricane is considered the most violent storm that the Caribbean has experienced for many years. In many dioceses, the gales caused serious damage, which will present local churches with great challenges for time to come.
With our budget for Cuba, we have supported some of the island’s eleven dioceses with emergency relief measures and co-financed the reconstruction of the ecclesiastical infrastructure. However, urgent investments are also needed for vehicles in the parishes, because these are usually completely outdated. Unfortunately, due to the lack of import permits for new vehicles, no improvement to mobility is currently in sight.