|Population (2009 est.)||11,451,652|
|Religious Demographics||nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented|
|Ethnic Groups||white 65.1%, mulatto and mestizo 24.8%, black 10.1% (2002 census)|
The country has an area of 68,888 square miles and a population of 11.4 million. There was no independent authoritative source on the size or composition of religious institutions and their membership. The Roman Catholic Church estimates that 60 percent of the population is Catholic. Actual membership in Protestant churches is estimated at 5 percent and includes Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and Lutherans. Other groups include Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Baha'is, and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).
Some sources estimate that as much as 80 percent of the population consults with practitioners of religions with West African roots, such as the form of Santeria derived from ethnic Yorubas (Regla de Ocha) and the form of Santeria with origins in the Congo River basin (Regla de Palo), for assistance with specific immediate problems such as bearing children, curing illness, or ensuring safe passage.
The Cuban Council of Churches (CCC) is an officially sanctioned umbrella organization that works closely with the Government and includes 25 religious organizations as full members, eight associate members, two with observer status, and 10 interfaith movements. The CCC is structured into five "zones" across the island, and according to its leadership, represents approximately 100,000 Christians. Most CCC members are officially recognized by the State, although several, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church, lack legal status and are recognized through their membership in the CCC. Other officially recognized groups, including the Catholic Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the small Jewish and Muslim communities, do not belong to the CCC.
Catholic Church officials estimate that 10 percent of baptized Catholics regularly attend Mass. Membership in Protestant churches was estimated at 550,000 persons. The Baptists, represented in four different conventions, are possibly the largest Protestant denomination, followed closely by the Pentecostal churches, particularly the Assemblies of God. The number of Pentecostals is believed to be rising sharply. Jehovah's Witnesses reported more than 90,000 members, the Seventh-day Adventists 30,000, Anglicans 22,000, Methodists 21,000, Presbyterians 15,000, Quakers 300, and Mormons 50. The Mormons meet in Havana in space rented from another church. The Jewish community has 1,500 members, 1,200 of whom reside in Havana.
The Muslim population consists of 6,000 temporary residents, mainly businessmen, students, and diplomats, and 300 native-born Sunni Muslims. There are approximately 50 Shi'a Muslims. The Shi'a community directs the Al-Ma'sumin Islamic Center. In the fall of 2008 a hurricane extensively damaged the building, and the Center now operates out of an apartment. The Government is working with the Government of Iran to provide a replacement for the leader of the Shi'a community when the current leader, Miguel Aquila Cardenas "Hassan Felix," a native Cuban, travels to Iran to complete the studies necessary to obtain the title of Mufti.
Several embassies, led by the Iranian and Saudi Arabian missions, offered to build a mosque in Havana; however, the Government has not identified land for this project nor officially accepted the offer. The Government and the Muslim community disagree on construction of the mosque; the Government intends to present a completed structure to the officially recognized groups, and the Muslim community would like Muslims to build it.
Foreign missionary groups operate through registered churches. Visits by religious figures are handled by the Office of Religious Affairs of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.