La Lucha for Cuba: Religion and Politics on the Streets of Miami

La Lucha for Cuba: Religion and Politics on the Streets of Miami

La Lucha for Cuba: Religion and Politics on the Streets of Miami

La Lucha for Cuba: Religion and Politics on the Streets of Miami

Synopsis

"This, the first major study of popular religion in Miami's community of exiled Cubans, is outstanding. De La Torre captures the intimacy and flavor of a spiritual movement that crosses moral and theological lines. It's bound to upset some for its frank conclusions; but all great books go against the inherited grain in some way."--Luis Leon, author of "La Llorona's Children: Religion, Life, and Death in the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands

"A daring and careful expose of the political and religious right-wing discourse circulating among Cuban exiles. In this extremely important, courageous, and long-overdue project about "cubanidad (Cubanness), De La Torre has created a historical marker in the effort to clear the way for a more democratic and spiritually compassionate world for Cuban Americans."--Laura Perez, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Excerpt

The suggestion that an Exilic Cuban religious expression based on hatred exists is unsettling for many Miami Cubans, who demand absolute conformity in thought in order to present a united front against the "forces of evil. " Criticism of the Miami Cuban community is interpreted as support of the Castro regime. Anyone who criticizes the community's normative attitude toward the present regime in La Habana runs the risk of being labeled a communist and ostracized. Nevertheless, influenced by the writings of the Cuban father of liberation, José Martí, who always fought against injustices, even when the abusers were his own people, I stand against all structures that perpetuate oppression, even when those structures benefit my own community. Consideration of how one's own social position masks oppressive structures is a foundational precept of any theology of liberation. Thus personal concerns for my community in Miami, and for my homeland on the island, force me to gaze intently on my people in the hope of raising unspoken issues.

My hatred for Fidel Castro has been ingrained in me since childhood. From a very young age, I have considered Castro the earthly personification of Satan. My earliest memories are of extreme poverty in New York City, where I recall my parents personally blaming Castro for our plight. My best friend's father was executed by the Castro regime, and many friends of my parents met a similar fate. My own father, arrested and awaiting execution, barely escaped with his life, fleeing Cuba with only the clothes on his back. Others whom I know and respect spent decades in Cuba's prisons. I recall a friend telling me about an abuelita (grand-

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