Between God and the Party: Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Cuba

Between God and the Party: Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Cuba

Between God and the Party: Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Cuba

Between God and the Party: Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Cuba

Excerpt

Consider the relationship of religion and politics in modern Latin America, and far from peaceful images are likely to spring to mind: the Vatican's ongoing struggle with the concept of liberation theology and its exponents such as Leonardo Boff and Gustavo Gutiérrez; the tense standoff in Nicaragua, where priests such as Fernando and Ernesto Cardenal, Miguel d'Escoto, Uriel Molina, and many others are engaged in an increasingly bitter polemic with the country's hierarchy, personified in the leadership of Cardinal Obando y Bravo; the recent courageous stand in the face of martial law of (now retired) Cardinal Silva in Chile, reminiscent of actions of church leaders in Poland and in the Philippines under the Marcos regime; the phenomenon of "guerrilla priests" in revolutionary Central America as well as in conservative areas of South America. In Brazil's harsh Northeast or on Colombia's rich coffee-growing slopes, in Managua's Barrio Riguero or Mexico City's sprawling slums, controversy continues over the relative influence of religion and politics.

If one were asked to list Latin American countries where the debate over the proper relationship between religion and politics rages the hottest, many names would tumble out automatically: all of Central America except Costa Rica and perhaps Panama, as well as Brazil, Pinochet's Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. Missing from anyone's list, though, would be Cuba. Whatever else one can say about the church in revolutionary Cuba, in matters of ecclesiastical or political importance it is scarcely a pacesetter--hence the benign neglect.

There are many reasons for this neglect. The Cuban church has . . .

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