May 13, 2021
At the same time the pandemic raged across Cuba, food became scarce, and tourism collapsed, the Cuban government implemented a currency conversion at the beginning of 2021. This conversion tripled the minimum salary, as the cost of living continued to rise even more. The government compensates for that shortfall for government employees. Sadly, the 13% of Cubans who work in private enterprises, including pastors and seminary faculty, receive no national assistance, so the churches and seminary have to make up that gap on their own. So, for instance, the minimum salary prior to the conversion was approximately $30 a month and today it is approximately $87 a month. Our partners at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Matanzas are having great difficulty paying the faculty with this large increase in salary so to show our solidarity we, FPC, have already sent them our annual support of $12,000. A raise in salary sounds good, but because of the conversion and the pandemic, the costs of supplies have skyrocketed so the faculty and students are having trouble making ends meet. Another way we at FPC have been able to support them has been to recharge their cellphones. Each month members of the Cuba Ministry team sign on to a website and charge the faculty’s cellphones with our personal credit cards. This means that the monthly phone charge of $25 does not have to be covered by the minister or seminary staff.