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Latin America

BAHAMAS

CUBA MEXICO (CHIAPAS)

CAYMAN ISLANDS

BELIZE

JAMAICA

HAITI DOM. REP. PUERTO RICO

GUATEMALA HONDURAS

EL SALVADOR NICARAGUA COSTA RICA PANAMA VENEZUELA

COLOMBIA

FRENCH GUYANA GUIANA SURINAME

BRAZIL

ECUADOR PERU

Latin America is mainly Christian and historically has been overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. However, the region has undergone massive social changes and the Catholic percentage of the population has dropped to 70%, with many joining evangelical churches and others becoming non-religious. Religious freedom is widespread in the region, having advanced greatly in the past 50 years. The persecution that exists in the three countries highlighted in this section (Colombia, Cuba and Mexico) results from the particular dynamics in those countries.

COLOMBIA

Population: 47 million Majority Religion: Christianity (95%) Persecution Category: Significant Many Colombians enjoy freedom of religion and there has been huge church growth in recent years. However, a significant percentage suffers persecution from armed guerillas and paramilitaries, funded by the drugs trade and kidnapping for ransom. For about 50 years conflict has raged between government forces, leftist guerillas (notably FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and right-wing paramilitary groups set up as vigilantes to counter the guerrillas. Christian leaders are targeted because of their opposition to violence and the drugs trade: FARC has assassinated hundreds of church leaders over the past fifty years. Strong government has reduced the conflict since 2002, and FARC is in peace talks with the government, but the violence continues and many rural areas, especially in the south and east, remain under guerrilla control. In some areas churches are subject to curfews or closure, and preaching and evangelism are restricted or forbidden, leading some Christians to meet in secret in small groups. Within indigenous communities, converts to Christianity are seen as a threat to the local culture, and many Christians have been denied access to social services or displaced from their lands.

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Latin America

Church in Chains Global Guide  

The Church in Chains Global Guide lists 60 countries where Christians face persecution because of their faith. The Global Guide divides the...

Church in Chains Global Guide  

The Church in Chains Global Guide lists 60 countries where Christians face persecution because of their faith. The Global Guide divides the...

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