Cuba has shown some relatively significant signs of economic and political transformation since Raúl Castro’s official election as President in February 2008, but the nation’s communist government still persecutes Christians and crushes dissent.
While Raúl Castro has the same objective as his predecessor and brother Fidel Castro – to pass on the legacy of the Revolution to the next generation – the incumbent president believes the country should have private farmers’ markets, legalize the dollar, allow self-employment, gradually end the isolation, and compete globally.
Therefore, as Raúl Castro begins his second five-year term as president this month, some positive developments can be seen. For example, immigration authorities are now processing passports for Cubans to travel abroad, and citizens can also retain their property and residence status if they live or work outside of Cuba. Besides, about half of the nation’s economy is expected to be in private hands within five years.
Moreover, in the general election this month, a little less than three-fourth of the candidates for the 612 seats are newcomers, most of who were born after the Cuban Revolution. And about half of the candidates are women.
Cuba, which has been governed by a one-party state ever since Fidel Castro overthrew the U.S.-supported dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959, is also strengthening relations with Brazil and the Catholic Church, apparently to open up new economic and social spaces for Cubans. Continue reading “Why Christian Persecution Remains, Despite Reforms in Cuba”