Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

17 de Marzo del 2000

MEMBERS OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH COME OUT IN FAVOR OF DEFIANCE AFTER THE POLICE ENTERED AND SEARCHED THEIR SACRED PLACE OF WORSHIP. By Ebenezer Ramírez, Cuba Free Press.

Havana.- The police entered and searched the Sacred Temple of God of the Baptist Church in the Mañana suburb of Guanabacoa. With threats of fine and/or imprisonment, the police ordered worship to stop in that place.

As the police closed the premises where the Baptist Church of Mañana holds its worship services, the communist authorities gave unconvincing explanations to the pastor and the community. They said they had to apply "socialist legality" because the church was not registered in the Registry of Associations.

The pastor replied that the church was founded seven years ago with all legalities and that its membership has grown and it is even a tithing church, recognized by the Southern Baptist Convention headquartered in the United States.

This church is authorized by the Communist Party central committee in Cuba, so no one can understand where the order came from, who gave it or why the police put it into effect with an entry and search of the place.

Various functionaries of the People's Authority, the police and the central government are involved, both in the taking and in the execution of decisions. After the protest by the pastor, the matter continues in the hands of the authorities.

The reason for the action could be that this church is not an ecumenical church or allied with the Cuban government. It does not agree with the position of people like Raúl Suárez or Cuéllar who undoubtedly serve the interests of the Communist Party more than those of the Baptist Church.

In this church which the police ordered to close, the church-goers have created what they call a "Board of Businesses" with the participation of the people, even the non-believers who live in the neighborhood so that any and all who wish may enter. The board will explain to everyone what is happening.

Agents of the Department of State Security (DSS) were there to verify that the faithful, the believers and even the neighbors said that if they're going to take the pastor to prison, they will have to take all the members along to prison. The pastor was threatened with prison. He asked the police how it was possible that a few months into the new millennium, Cuba was going to imprison a pastor?

The DSS agents did not respond. The parishioners are taking turns being present in the church because they are not going to allow it to be closed. They want to preserve their church, their place of worship and their place of prayer and brotherhood at all costs.

The explanations of the government authorities do not convince them and they are sure that if these people agreed, there would be no difficulty in continuing the worship where it is.

Ebenezer Ramírez, Cuba Free Press.


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