Cuba Opens First Catholic Church Since 1959


Cuba has opened the first Roman Catholic Church since the beginning of the Marxist revolution in 1959.

The new church in Sandino took 4 years to complete. It is bright yellow and has room for 200 people It is one of three churches that have been authorized by the government as a sign of religious tolerance and the opening of society. Financial support for the project came from members of a Cuban congregation in Tampa, Florida.



After Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba at the end of the 1950s he cracked down on religion, which he saw as potential threat to the revolution. Many priests worked against the new government and were expelled. After the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in the 1990s Castro decided relieve the tension and even invited Pope John Paul II to the island. Since then the relationship between the Vatican and Cuba has slowly returned to normal.




Related Topics



  • authorize = to officially give permission to do something
  • congregation = a group of people who often go to church together
  • crack down = to become more strict in dealing with a problem and punishing the people involved
  • expel = to make someone leave the country
  • financial support = money
  • government = people who rule a country
  • Marxist revolution = rebels defeated the authoritarian pro-western government in Cuba and set up a Communist regime led by Fidel Castro
  • potential = possible; maybe
  • relieve = reduce; lower
  • tension = here: when two countries do not trust each other
  • threat = danger to someone
  • tolerance = allow people to say and do what they want without criticizing or punishing them