One Cuban who does not miss his native land is Noble Alexander, a Seventh-day Adventist youth pastor from a Havana suburb who spent 1962 to 1984 in nine Cuban prisons.
Two armed G-2 agents, the Cuban equivalent of the KGB, arrested the 28-year-old Noble after he preached at a service in February 1962. His crime? A sermon about original sin.
Prisoners would be his congregants the next 22 years. Many fellow Christian prisoners submitted to Castro-style re-education, which included renouncing faith in Christ. Alexander refused. He received a sentence of 20 years of hard labor for conspiring to assassinate Castro, aiding and abetting the flight of counterrevolutionaries, and distributing opium—that is, Christianity—to the people of Cuba.
Throughout his incarceration, Alexander endured physical and psychological torture. His cellmates included rats, cockroaches, snakes, and lizards. Prison authorities slapped Alexander so hard he still hears ringing in his ears. He suffered food poisoning from eating maggot-ridden gruel. He lost consciousness being dunked in an icy lake while bound. He passed out three times from the pain of being whipped with electrical cables. He sustained gunshot wounds in his hand, leg, and thigh.
"No one can be truly certain of his faith and endurance until he is forced to test them," Alexander says.
Despite the abuse, Alexander organized underground churches in prison. "Baptist, Seventh-day Adventist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic—our fellowship recognized no boundaries," Alexander writes in I Will Die Free (Pacific Press, 1991). "Though chained by hatred and deprivation, our pitiful group of Christian brothers declared themselves free in Christ."
When uncovered, his religious activities ...1