Complaint Filed in Cuba about Evangelizing in Public Spaces

The letter addressed to Cuban authorities was written after shows put on by the evangelical clown group Los Parchis were presented at state-run entities in the Matanzas province.

 

By IPS Cuba

During the consultation process before the new Cuban Constitution was voted in earlier this year, and up until now, activists and ecumenical centers have been warning about the Christian fundamentalist movement boom in Cuba.  Photo: Taken from Los Parchis Cuba’s Facebook page.

HAVANA TIMES – A group of citizens recently delivered a letter to government authorities in the western province of Matanzas, expressing their concern with evangelizing activities carried out by a group of clowns in this region, who according to them, are violating the secular nature of the Cuban State.

“On Sunday June 16, 2019, Fathers’ Day, the Los Parchis evangelical clown group began working in the Triunvirato community, in the Limonar municipality. They have performed every Saturday since then (…) and use the slogan “Conquerers for Christ”, which appears on the banner that promotes them alongside the logo of the government’s Palmares hotel services company,” reads the letter, which is available online.

Addressed to the Religious Affairs Office of the governing Cuban Communist Party (PCC), it was accompanied with a dossier of printed images of Los Parchis’ work and a DVD with videos and photos of their shows.

The letter was signed by Yadiel Cepero, activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersexual (LGBTI) rights, and Yoelkis Torres, the general coordinator of the AfroAtenAs project and the Humanitarian Community Network for Diversity, linked to the state-led National Center for Sex Education.

Cepero announced on his Facebook page that the letter had been handed in to Boris Luis Guerrero, the head of the Provincial PCC Committee’s ideological department, on August 6th.

He pointed out the fact that the official believed it wasn’t necessary to acknowledge receipt of the letter and told them “that the matter would be dealt with and they would receive a response.”

Clown shows as evangelizing acts

According to the letter, Los Parchis Cuba openly recognize that every one of their shows is an evangelizing act.

Los Parchis Cuba openly recognize that every one of their shows is an evangelizing act. Photo: Taken from the public group “Building a sexual diversity agenda in Cuba” Facebook page.

“They sing Christian songs, say phrases and play games which children are then incited to sing and praise Christ,” the letter explained.

One of the main concerns outlined in the letter has to do with these activities taking place in state-run centers such as the Complejo Bellamar, the Brisas del Mar swimming pool and Juan Gualberto Gomez international airport, Varadero’s international resort, among others.

The letter continues to explain that, at these places they promote, “the theology of prosperity and consumer society via its shows, showing no respect and disrespecting other religious beliefs.”

Cuba is a secular State

In the activists’ opinion, these shows violate Article 15 of the Cuban Constitution in which it stipulates that the Cuban State is secular and the religious institutions and fraternal associations are separated from the State.

Plus, they say it violates Article 57 of the Constitution, relating to every person’s right to profess a religious belief or not, with due respect for everyone else.

Cepero and Torres recalled that during the consultation process in 2018, before the new Cuban Constitution was voted on, in February 2019, there has a boom in the Christian fundamentalist movement in Cuba.

This has been expressed in collective fasts, petitions, taking over public spaces to campaign against same-sex marriage, among other things.

This is why they are finally urging the Cuban government “to pay attention to the events that have been taking place and to take action accordingly.”

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