The plenary meetings of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) began on Saturday, July 30, with Cuban President Raul Castro presiding.
On August 1 Castro delivered a speech in which he spent about 25% of his time reiterating the government’s position on religious groups within Cuba. In particular, he defended a state worker who was fired due to her faith and he promised to correct that situation.
He also made mention of a plan that was published in 2004 by the US State Department (which he refers to as the Bush Plan) in which the US government includes as part of its “transition strategy” using Cuban churches as centers to teach democracy to the people.
If you are a missionary to Cuba, you need to be aware of this document and understand how it has increased greatly the suspicions of the Cuban government that American Christian missionaries have a secret political agenda. (And why wouldn’t they think that, since the US government has publicly stated their plan to use the church for a political transition in Cuba?)
Following is my translation of the pertinent part of Castro’s speech:
“Now I will refer to a painful incident caused by errors in the application of local political leadership and in its relationship to religion, which caused the unjust replacement of a comrade from the position she carried out with good results. By touching on this matter publicly I pursue the objective of repairing that injustice and in doing so provide you all with an eloquent example of the damage that is caused to people, and to the Revolution itself, obsolete concepts, which are also contrary to the law, concepts which are still deeply rooted in the minds of not a small number of leaders at all levels.
“The comrade mentioned (whose identity, employer, and even the province I won’t divulge – not for the sake of useless secrets, but out of respect for her privacy) is from a humble background, married, is the mother of two children, both of whom are, as she is, members of the Party, just as her husband, now retired, also is. She has an outstanding career path and was the victim of a prevailing mindset, at different levels of the Party and the State, for having professed religious beliefs and attending some Sunday services in her town.
“It was considered dishonest that she, as a Party member and administrative leader, did not reveal her religious beliefs, something that she was not obligated to do and which would be a flagrant violation of citizens’ rights endorsed by the Constitution of the Republic, whose Article 43 expresses the following on this subject:
‘The state consecrates the right achieved by the Revolution that all citizens, regardless of race, skin color, sex, religious belief, national origin and any situation that may be harmful to human dignity:
– have access, in keeping with their merits and abilities, to all state, public administration, and production services positions and jobs’ (end quote)
“All this occurred in February of this year, she began working somewhere else, losing 40 percent of her wages, though she continued as a Party member and was resigned to be silent about the pain of the injustice that was committed, until . . . April 17 she submitted a complaint. . . through which an investigative process was carried out that corroborated all her points.
“Of course, this comrade, should she wish it, should be given her old job back . . . and in addition to that absolutely personal decision, may these words of mine serve as an act of moral vindication.
“Now, how does this bitter experience serve us, this experience and the damage caused to a Cuban family by attitudes based in an archaic mindset, and fed by pretense and opportunism? More than once I have expressed that our worst enemy is not imperialism nor much less its salaried workers on our homeland’s soil, but rather our own errors, and that these, if they are analyzed with depth and honesty, will be transformed into lessons so that they won’t be repeated. As a consequence, we must review this strict and exclusionary vision, once and for all, and adjust it to the reality emanating from the agreements of the Fourth Congress in 1991 that modified the statutes that put limits on membership for those revolutionaries who are believers.
“A number of years ago our Revolution overcame the confrontation with some of the religious institutions, a period in which both sides committed excesses of a certain magnitude. We can’t ignore also the aspirations of the enemy to foment conflict and distrust between believers and the revolutionary process, a calculation which has been proven to be mistaken, because since the beginning the immense majority of humble Cubans with religious beliefs supported the Revolution.
“If anyone doubts this [these plans of the enemy], we remind them to read the Bush Plan for the transition in Cuba, which as far as we know has not been abolished, and the role they propose to give to all the religious organizations in their subversive strategy against our country. In spite of the failure they have reaped, we know they have not backed down in their intent.”