In a country with virtually no commercial advertising, where most public signage is the property of the state, the growth of Cuba’s evangelical movement can be measured in the number of church placards spreading around this city.

Some are barely visible, hanging from the doors or windows along residential streets. Others are displayed prominently, like the stately red-lettered sign for the Principe de Paz Pentecostal Church in Diez de Octubre, a gritty Havana neighborhood where nearly everything else is worn and faded.

Over the past two decades, the number of evangelical Christians on the island (pop. 11 million) has soared from roughly 70,000 in 1991 to more than 800,000 today, according to Cuba’s Council of Churches. While the Catholic Church and Afro-Cuban traditions have also made large gains since religious persecutions eased in the 1980s, evangelical Christianity may be the communist-run country’s fastest-growing practice.

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