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Cuba: Not So Atheist Anymore

Cuba Religion

Photos adapted from: Didier Baertschiger and James Emery, licensed under CC BY 2.0

A unique look into the religious identities of Cuba over the years.

A recently released survey of Cuba provided a unique look into the different religious identities throughout the nation. Though Cuba is a multiracial nation, it wasn’t too long ago that religion was ultimately banished from the land.

When Fidel Castro seized control of the government in 1962, he swiftly closed the Catholic schools and banned believers from practicing and expressing their faith. It wasn’t until 1991 that the Communist Party removed that ban, and the following year, Cuba changed from atheist to secular. However, there has never been an authoritative source, at least not one that is independent of any religious institution. We have based our information off what the Roman Catholic Church has assessed.

The Numbers are Actually Quite Different

In 2010, the Roman Catholic Church released information that said the number of Cuban Catholics was around 65%, though 60% actually went to mass and other activities. In addition, Protestantism and other types of Christians were listed as 5% of the population, other was 11% and non-religion was 24%.

A survey of Cuba sponsored by Univision Noticias and Fusion, released information that was pretty different from the above. The survey was taken by 12,000 Cuban citizens, and found that Pope Francis received an 8 to 10 rating in positivity. The Cuban Catholic Church is also liked pretty well, with a 7 to 10 rating. This includes even non-Catholics. They questioned everyone’s religion, and found that 44% were not religious. 27% of those interviewed are Catholic, 2% Protestant or Other, 13% are Order of Osha or Santeria, and 9% didn’t respond. 34% identified themselves as Christians.

When compared to other databases, such as the World Christian Database, these numbers aren’t alike. The WCD claims that 59% are Christians, and 44% are Catholic, which is roughly double what the recent survey discovered. 

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly also published a story last week about an all-female Mosque and a Hindu boy living in Cuba. The country seems to be branching out in many directions.


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