A Distorted Reality
Cuba: a medley of religions.
By Gladys Blanco and Luz Marina Fornieles Special for AIN
Numerous churches and religious denominations practice their faiths freely on the island, said Samuel Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), following his recent visit to the Caribbean island.
The presumed lack of any kind of freedom in Cuba is among the many distortions that exist today regarding the island's reality.
Born in Miathene, Kenya, in 1947, and elected General Secretary of the WCC in 2003, Kobia affirmed that while on the island he had the opportunity to meet not only with followers of the member churches of his organization (Methodist and Presbyterian churches), but also with representatives of other churches, thus concluding that freedom of religion "is a reality in Cuba."
Kobia, the first African to hold such a high position, which he formally assumed in January 2004, became the leader of an organization that groups over 400 million Christians the world over. It was in that capacity that he visited Cuba.
Speaking with Cuban and foreign press, Samuel Kobia revealed that he and his delegation met one night with President Fidel Castro and had a long and "very good" conversation.
"We discussed different issues, among them Church-State relations. We also requested permission to build new churches on the island that facilitate our pastoral mission," said Kobia, who affirmed that "the Cuban government places no restrictions on religion and supports the building of new churches."