Cuban Religions

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Havana Orthodox Church near Sierra Maestra Terminal

Orthodox Church in Old Havana

Cuba has a multiracial culture with inhabitants of mostly Spanish and African origin. Working under considerable pressure, the Catholic Church is the leading autonomous establishment in the country nowadays. President Castro asked Pope John Paul II to visit Cuba in November of 1996, after an agreement was reached on some of the issues important for the Church to do its religious activities on the island and get ready for the visit.

In his address the late Pope said: I have come to this country as a messenger of hope and truth, to encourage and confirm in faith the bishops and faithful of the different dioceses … This moment offers me the opportunity to reaffirm, in this land so deeply nourished by the Christian faith, the irrevocable commitment of the Church to persevere in her ardent desire for the full unity of Christ’s disciples, repeating constantly with Him: "Father, may they all be one."

The administration of Fidel Castro has fought to give Cubans health care, sufficient housing, and social security since the failure of the Soviet Union in 1989. The increase of locally based neighborhood teamwork projects of decentralized state development institutions with an assorted range of community self-help groups have become the norm and the country's centrally administered system of basic social services begin in 1989.

Sometimes local state authorities work together with community groups rooted in Afro-Cuba religions to tackle budding social problems such as drug use, prostitution, and the physical decline of local schools and clinics. The aim of each project is to smooth the progress of these social objectives by working through familiar networks of community support and religious allegiance.

Article 8 of the Cuban Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Religious institutions are separate from the State in the Republic of Cuba, and different beliefs and religions enjoy the same consideration.

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