barry headshotA few years ago I picked up a Che Guevara biography. I don’t remember why. Perhaps I had seen enough of the ubiquitous “Che” t-shirts to finally wonder who in the world this guy was.

I started reading and my mind was absolutely blown. Turning page after page, I realized just how little I knew… about any of it. The Cuban Revolution, the US embargo, the Bay of Pigs, even socialism in general. I had Wikipedia open next to me practically half the time I had the book open. It was kind of embarrassing, actually. I may have missed most of the Cold War by virtue of being born in 1983, but that doesn’t mean I should be ignorant of what went on.

Since reading Che’s biography, I’ve been eagerly soaking up information about this fascinating period of time and learning what I can about Cuba, a country located just a stone’s throw from our own.

This magazine issue has played a big part in that. Editing these articles and photos has given me a whole new understanding about what life is really like in Cuba. Specifically, my eyes have been opened to the vast government control that still exists in this island nation. It isn’t just a footnote in our history books. It’s real today.

This fact hit home when the authors of this issue, Jeff and Brooke, requested we use only their first names in their articles. If the Cuban government were to connect them to our partner ministry, EchoCuba, they would most likely be restricted from ever entering the country again.

What?!? For real?

These are people I know! These are people I care about! Never in a million years would I have expected the eye of the Cuban government to fall on them. And yet, this is the reality we have to live with.

Imagine, then, what it must be like for our Cuban friends in-country. Facing punishment or exile every day as they attempt to grow the local Church, cut off from the global body of Christ, yearning for freedom of worship while looking over their shoulders at every turn… I had no idea it was this way, but after reading these articles, I can’t ignore it anymore.

My hope is that you would also have your eyes opened by these fascinating and challenging articles, and that you would feel compelled to do your part in the struggle for freedom in the global Church.

Who knows? Maybe it will be you visiting the streets of Havana some day…


Barry Rodriguez
Executive Director
World Next Door, Inc.