An Office that is unnecessary, and that never should have been / Mario Lleonart

The members of our church are victims of a constant process of pressure, intimidation, blackmail, coercion and even recruitments in the midst of a psychological Cold War, whose ultimate goal would be my long-awaited resignation or recall as pastor.

This shows the double standard of this regime, whose agents, in the arbitrary detention that they put me in on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, and in an effort to pressure me so that I would sign an official written warning, to which of course I did not agree, they officially threatened me so that I would focus on my pastoral activity and leave aside my social concerns, as though these were not two sides of the same coin. The sad thing is that, in practice these are the same agents, sheltered by the highly overrated political Office in Havana, who hinder and obstruct everything I try to do in my community, basically.

 But the epitome that, as pastor I find myself in the painful decision to denounce, is that that Office, not satisfied with this dirty policy of constant interference to my pastoral work, which moreover has not yet given the expected result, taking advantage of its power to grant or reject permits, extend or withdraw privileges, in extreme cruelty, and in the unforgivable stance of “making the believers fight,” in order to interfere with our evangelistic mission to the people (John 17, 21), has extended permissions and privileges to another congregation unfortunately fitting, to the honored Evangelical Pentecostal work known as “Good News,” so that, in a first phase, it would prohibit them from any type of relationship, not only with me or my family, but with any member of our church; they were forbidden to invite us to their activities, or to attend those to which we cordially invited them.

After this discriminatory and segregational posture towards the brothers, worthy of the words of the Second Epistle of the apostle John (verses 9-10) concerning the tyrannical leadership of Diotrophes; the sad thing is that this congregation with privileges easy to see for our community and everyone knows at what cost, has passed through a sad phase which consists of putting a first priority on evangelistic work for which there is more than enough land among our people (“the harvest is plentiful but the workers few”), an aggressive proselytism and without dissimulation obviously addressed to the members of our local church in order to grasp whichever of our brothers it can (that in Evangelical Cuban slang is known as “fishing in another’s pond”), without taking into account either the most minimum rule of ethics, and in which sadly they already have reaped some fruits.

Someday the history of this sad period of Christianity in Cuba will be written, in which our case unfortunately does not constitute an exception, and it will be strong enough to discover information and facts that will leave the skeptics astonished. Then perhaps we will know how much damage this Office caused, what excess, and what never should have been, to the church in Cuba, “Although its gates shall not prevail against it.”

In the meantime I have the most precious thing, that God who is my help and strength and who is also my witness of these brief accusations that constitute only a point at the tip of the iceberg that is the violation of religious freedom in Cuba.

20 May 2013