Religion in Cuba Today

Religion in Cuba Today

Following a full day we attended a lecture on Cuban religion held in one of the many conference rooms at the Hotel Nacional.  The speaker was interesting as I took notes.  According to the lady, Cubans are a bit Latin American, a little bit Caribbean and a little bit of something else that makes them Cuban.  She said that Cubans are believers but not religious and pray when they need to.  There are no mosques in Cuba even though 50,000 Arabs came to Cuba.  They married Cubans.  She stated that Cubans are only nominally Catholic because the Catholic church had no mission in Cuba.  There were no natives to convert and no gold or advanced civilization to loot.  She also said that when Jose Marti the national poet and hero died, the Catholic church held a celebratory mass and that is one of the reasons the Cubans are not enchanted with the Catholic church. She also stated that the Cuban culture is the most advanced in Latin America.   Another reason they didn’t embrace Catholicism.  I agree wholeheartedly.  As I earlier mentioned, the night we arrived in Havana there was theater, ballet and symphony.  The lecture continued.  There are 1200 Greek Orthodox worshippers and various protestant religions.  The first president of Cuba in 1902 was a protestant.  In the past, the Jehovah’s Witnesses became a problem and were outlawed in 1974.  Since 1992, there are now 80,000 of them.   According to the government of Cuba there are 30 Mormons in Cuba.   She said she did not believe that statistic because she doesn’t know a single Cuban who does not drink coffee, enjoy rum or believe that marriage is for life.  She added that Santeria is the most popular religion and is one of the many Creole African religions.  Spiritism is popular and there are groups of believers in Yoga, Buddhism as well as the New Age religions.  An interesting thing she mentioned that there were 30,000 Masons who fomented the revolution, just as in America.    Our founding fathers were Masons.  According to government statistics, 15% of Cubans are religious, 15% atheist and 70% are a mixture.   In closing she remarked that Cubans always react in excess but that after 50 years of being blockaded by the most powerful country in the world, Cuba is still here.  She had a point.