Castro death unlikely to halt revival or spur liberty



Baptist World Alliance leaders visit with Cuban President Fidel Castro during a July 8, 2000, meeting in Havana. Participants included (left to right) BWA General Secretary Denton Lotz, immediate past BWA President Nilson Fanini of Brazil, Castro and then-BWA President Billy Kim of Korea.
Photo by Jim Veneman

HAVANA (BP) -- Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who died Nov. 25 at age 90, is being remembered as both an unwitting catalyst of revival and an opponent of religious liberty.

Castro's death, said Southern Baptists with ties to Cuba, is unlikely to yield significant increases in religious liberty for the island nation until the fall of the communist government he inaugurated 57 years ago.

When Castro led a revolt that overthrew then-Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, he instituted a communist regime that viewed Christians as "anti-revolutionaries." And he barred them from attending universities or entering certain professional fields, according to the persecution watchdog group World Watch Monitor. But the global decline of communism in the early 1990s yielded decreased oppression of believers in Cuba.

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