Fidel Castro and the WT
Haha Farid Fayad had me hanging pictures and blinds and moving sofas for 3 months... That was a fun job. We just relaxed all day
That Fayad family was heavy duty in Cuba, the father was a JW in Lebanon and back in the 30s came to Cuba, he was one of the first witnesses in the country; they were good bussiness people.
I will like to add some information about what happened after the liberation of the brothers that were in the concentration camps. As I told you before, all the members of the Bethel family and practically all the ones with special privileges were taken in the Government raids; after their release they started showing an attitude of resentment towards the ones that were out and conducted the work in their absence. It was common for them to second guess decisions that were taken and give the replacements the most difficult assignments. It was similar to what happened with the ones that were trying to leave the country, once again there was no guidance from “mother” and the conditions were “wild, wild west”.
This was a bad reflection in the spirituality of the leaders and their true motivation in serving, which was just to have control and power.
Another chapter of the saga, I think that maybe two more will do it.
After the closing of the concentration camps the work proceeded underground and the organization was officially proscribed on 1974. It was a very difficult time because the government spies were all over. Even one of the brothers working at Bethel was proven to be an infiltrator. One good thing came out of this and it was that the JWS were classified by the international community as victims of religious persecution and given preference to leave the country. This resulted in the departure of many of the brothers in special service including the BO.
After that the Branch Committee that was operating entirely underground was formed by three brothers by the last name of Figueredo, Azcuy and Cardenas. Surprisingly these three were common persons but highly effective and there was a tremendous increase under their Administration.
Their efficiency was the result of their street wise and not due to any special instructions coming from Brooklyn. By this time the WT was negotiating thru diplomatic channels with the Cuban Government and finally by the early 90s and agreement was reached; part of the agreement was a request on the Cuban side that those three individuals had to go and be replaced by some other personnel.
This was agreed by the WT.
Later on I will tell you about the conditions after the peace treaty.
Thanks for reading
As previously mentioned, one of the Government conditions for a relaxation of the JWs situation was the replacement of the Branch Committee that was impossible to monitor. The WT agreed and a brother form Panama was brought in as Coordinator and most of the Branch control was taken over by the Mexican Office.
As far as I know one of the members of the previous committee died a little bit thereafter, another one left for USA and the third one remained in Cuba without any significant duties. Like or not these negotiations relaxed the pressure and persecution over the flock and were positive changes. Kingdom Halls were opened, arrests went down to almost nil, an Assembly Hall was built, Bethel was officially opened and many other good things happened for the locals.
The highlight of all of this back and forth was a visit about 1999 by a GB delegation, brothers Barr, Barry and Loesch; they were able to meet with Governmental dignitaries, visit different conventions over the country and encourage the brothers with their presence; it was similar to a Papal visit.
Things have been mostly quiet since then, due to their heavy infiltration State Security knows exactly what the JWs are doing and that they pose no danger. Growth has been steady, always affected by the migration to USA.
Almost done, maybe one more.
Thanks for reading
I was asked about if any JW died as a result of the persecution, it is possible that more than one did but the only documented case that I know is that of Felipe Hernandez, he was a career Circuit Overseer married to Ina. He was about 45 to 50 and he was put in jail suffering from a heart condition, at that time he was also for legal purposes a Vice President of the Society. He died after complaining for more than a week of his ailment and being denied treatment. I put two links, one in English and another in Spanish that document the matter; this man was a fine human being.
His funeral in Havana was a massive concentration of brothers and the Government had the place blanketed with security because they figure it out that some disturbance was bound to happen, nothing did.
In January 1985, Jehovah Witness Rev. Felipe Hernández died in prison of heart failure after Prison Director Col. Edel Castillo refused him medical care: "We don’t give medical care to counterrevolutionaries, let Jehovah save you.”
Así mismo provocaron la muerte en l984, al Ministro Vice Presidente de la Iglesia Testigos de Jehová de Cuba, Felipe Hernández, quien estaba preso conmigo en la prisión Combinado del Este de La Habana, injustamente acusado de propaganda enemiga por distribuir sus publicaciones religiosas.
Estos hechos criminales se produjeron cuando, después de estar reclamando durante siete días asistencia médica por un fuerte dolor en el pecho, Felipe Hernández murió en una celda de esta penitenciaria. En realidad, la respuesta a sus demandas de atención clínica se la había dado un día antes de morir el Coronel Edelmo Castillo, jefe entonces de ese plantel de encierro, al mandar a que llevaran a Hernández a sus oficinas y allí, le expresó que recibiría asistencia hospitalaria cuando dejará de captar y formar a nuevos miembros de los Testigos de Jehová entre los presos.
At this point and in the interest of closure I will need a few more pages to assign guilt or responsibility for the Cuban debacle, I am not going to do that and just close the loop with some easy to understand remarks.
The main culprit for the long suffering of the JWs in Cuba is the WT, for their lack of foresight, carelessness, empathy and for using the brothers as “cannon fodder”.
The Cuban Government was ruthless, barbaric, abusive and inhuman in their treatment of persons or a group that in reality was never a danger to them. What they did was like killing a “fly with a bazooka”.
We the flock, have a degree of responsibility for being naive and trusting, when things starting going south some of the friends saw the writing in the wall and went to the hills; they were highly criticized as lacking faith and not trusting Jehovah, time proved that they were right all along.
Lesson for all of us, if you have to make decisions affecting your lives and families please don’t rely in whatever the WT is telling you. Education, business, blood, marriage and anything else are very critical matters to leave it at the whims of people that at the end of the day are unaffected by their choices and have no clue of how the real world operates.
Thanks for reading, I won’t be adding anything else but will answer any questions that may arise.
A had a query about the torture and reports that some of the friends were forced to dig their own graves.
This is true, what happened is they were forced to do it; were put in front of firing squads and shot with blanks. Sometimes they did this to them more than once.
Other forms of torture included:
Hunger for days.
Buried in the ground up to their necks and left there for more than one day.
At least a case of a young brother that was stabbed with a bayonet.
Being forced to be naked or in their underwear for refusing to wear the military uniform.
The model followed was that of the Russian concentration camps, at that time the Security methods were Soviet all the way.
Barbaric and sadistic.