Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum

SCIENCE, SOCIOLOGY, RELIGION => Spirituality => Topic started by: Oshun_Auset on September 13, 2004, 11:00:43 AM

Title: The "saints" and El Líder
Post by: Oshun_Auset on September 13, 2004, 11:00:43 AM
Over the years, a number of events have been read as marking Castro as one ''anointed'' by the gods. Castro has used this to show his solidarity both with African nations and with his own country's black underclass. Still the relationship of Castro's regime with ''the religion,'' as Cubans call Santería, is complex: Castro has used this one to respond to emerging and even urgent conditions.

Although Santería in Cuba has always been shrouded in secrecy, many Cubans and even serious scholars believe there is a long tradition of highly placed politicos, including presidents, turning to ''the religion'' for that little added edge. Still, nobody had seen anything like El Comandante. His revolution managed to ''triumph'' on arguably the most sacred day in Santería's calendar -- Jan. 1, the day given over to prophecy and belonging to Elegua, keeper of the crossroads, he who is responsible for ''opening the way.'' Castro's cavalcade wound through Cuba draped in the flags of a movement whose colors of red and black happened to be Elegua's as well.

About a week later in 1959, as the 32-year-old Castro addressed his people at a huge rally in Havana, a dove alighted on his shoulder. Wayne S. Smith, former chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, describes ''a palpable shiver that went through the crowd.'' Here was the living synthesis of symbols from two religions: the Holy Ghost, represented in Catholicism as a dove, and Obatalá, the Santería prince of peace, whose color is white. (Of course, there are skeptics who believe the dove was trained, particularly because it happened again 30 years later.)