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Post-Castro generations to suffer, Baptist Hispanic leader says


MIAMI (BP) — The challenges that Christians face in Cuba likely will continue following the stepping down of Fidel Castro, a Baptist Hispanic leader said Feb. 21.

“The generations after Castro will carry problems and frustrations that only the gospel will resolve,” said Cuba native Heberto Becerra, immediate past president of the National Fellowship of Hispanic Southern Baptist Churches and pastor of First Baptist Church in Plantation, Fla.

Baptists are ministering “in the middle of problems and difficulties,” Becerra said, and quite likely “[it] is going to continue like that.” Castro’s exit, Becerra noted, will not be the lone factor in ending religious oppression in Cuba.

Becerra said he returned to Cuba three years ago “to preach and also to visit my elderly mother. Those were days of great remembrances and opportunities to preach the Word. Now is easier than 30 years ago,” Becerra said of the Cuba’s less-strident stance against evangelicals in recent years.

Becerra came to the United States nearly 30 years ago. He was a pastor in Cuba who also had served as president of the Baptist Convention in Cuba for four years. “I was the first in my family who came to the Lord,” he added.