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Bible publisher complains after Cuba returns NIV Bibles

by Cara Bentley

According to Marti news, 17,000 New Independent Version (NIV) Bibles were returned by the Religious Affairs Department of the Communist Party but the King James Versions were not returned.

The NIV is a translation in more modern language, using a 'phrase by phrase' method, while KJV is more traditional in its vocabulary.

Esteban Fernández, executive director in Latin America of Biblica, the publishing house which promotes the NIV, told Mission Network News that Cuba returned thousands of Bibles to Miami, and that it wasn't the first time.

He said: "We believe that we need something really strong and easy to get into the head and people's hearts."

Missionaries say many Cubans find it hard to understand the language of the KJV.

Fernández also said that many people in Cuba are sharing one Bible between six people.

Religious charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) explained on its website that the Cuban Office for Religious affairs "is focused almost entirely on controlling and restricting the public and private manifestation of religious faith, not on upholding and protecting the religious freedom of Cuban citizens."

A report by the US Department of State on International Religious Freedom said the office for Religious Affairs in Cuba "continued to require a license to import religious literature and other religious materials. The government owned nearly all printing equipment and supplies and regulated printed materials, including religious literature, although some religious leaders said they had received permission to print religious materials on their own presses."

However, it added: "Several groups were successful in importing large quantities of Bibles."

Fernández told Mission News Network that when Cubans receives Bibles "you can see the tears on their face, it is incredible".

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