[Marxism] Santeria followers sacrifice doves for Cuba, Fidel
walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 4 12:47:50 MDT 2006
Those Miami dingdongs don't realize that God is both with Cuba and with
Fidel. See Juventud Rebelde: http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs025.html
Santeria followers sacrifice doves for Cuba, Fidel
Fri Aug 4, 2006 8:56 AM ET
By Jeff Franks
MIAMI (Reuters) - The white dove looks warily at shopkeeper Oscar
Osorio as he pulls it from a cage and holds it in his hands.
"I don't think he trusts me," Osorio says while he gently rubs the
dove's feathers and spreads its wings for a visitor to admire. "I
think he knows what's coming."
The bird has reason to be nervous, because the illness of Cuban
leader Fidel Castro has moved adherents of Santeria to appeal for
divine help in hastening either Castro's demise or his recovery,
depending on which side of the Florida Straits they live.
Santeria is the voodooish Afro-Cuban religion that uses animal
sacrifice to communicate with the gods, which makes these tough times
for favorite sacrificial creatures such as chickens, goats and, in
this case, doves.
As many as 3 million people in Cuba and 60,000 people in Florida are
believed to be involved in Santeria, according to religious experts.
Osorio said about 20 people a day are coming into his "botanica" in
Miami's Little Havana section to buy birds, powders and jewelry for
rituals in which they ask the gods to please finish off Castro so
they can return home.
The white doves are most popular at the moment because, as
traditional symbols of peace, their significance is as much political
"People want peace for Cuba," he said.
Unfortunately for the birds, which sell for $15 each, the price of
peace includes their blood and feathers.
Sometimes, said Osorio, a genial man with a round belly, his
customers prefer to just clean the birds and let them fly away.
"Those are the lucky ones," he said.
While Osorio disagrees with the concept of asking gods to kill
someone, even if it is the hated Castro, from whom he fled a year
ago, he does not question his customers' motivations.
"I need the money. I need the money," he shouted.
After Cuba announced on Monday that Castro had stomach surgery and
put brother Raul in charge, Rigoberto Zamora, a babalawo, or priest,
of what he calls Yoruba, the African name for Santeria, performed a
After sacrificing a couple of black hens and a rooster to satisfy the
hunger of the gods, he got the word from them: Castro is already
dead; he died on Monday.
"We were astonished by such good news. It made us happy because
politically we are against Fidel," said Zamora, who left Cuba in 1980
and lives in the Miami neighborhood known as Little Havana.
The news from the gods was not all good. It turns out that Castro's
demise will be followed by three months of intense fighting before
peace is restored, he said.
While Cuban-Americans in Florida beseeched the gods to kill Castro,
in Cuba the same gods were asked to make him well.
"We are praying for him because it's a very painful situation for
everyone," said babalawo Guillermo Diago in Havana.
Members of the Yoruba Cultural Association of Cuba said they were
collecting money to buy animals to sacrifice for Castro's health.
"Our position is to follow the plans of the gods, which are to
understand and support the decisions taken by our maximum leader,"
the group said.
Santeristas are not the only religious types preoccupied with
In Miami's Roman Catholic churches with heavily Cuban congregations,
priests spoke about the events in Cuba and urged patience.
But Little Havana shopkeeper Maria Vazquez, who sells toilet paper
imprinted with Castro's image and T-shirts with anti-Castro messages,
said, "We are praying every night that he is dead."
"It's probably not the Christian thing to do, but it is very human,"
said Vazquez, who fled Cuba with her family when Castro took power 47
years ago and longs to return.
(Additional reporting by Rosa Tania Valdes in Havana)
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