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Cuban Santeros Make Their Predictions For The Coming Year


 

 

A group of Santeria priests in Cuba, known as babalawos, has made their yearly prediction for the coming year. This is particularly poignant following the announcement by president Obama that he is going to seek normalizing relations between the two countries. This particular issue was most pressing on the minds of Cubans on both sides of the Straits of Florida. As always the prediction was made after the priests used a divination system called the Table of Ife to forecast the future. Though they saw possibilities of losses of leaders, (interesting?), and possible epidemics, they saw that the path was now clear for improved relations. The Orisha gods are perhaps forgetting about what a pain in the ass Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are going to be about all of this.

Faith plays an interesting role in the lives of Cubans on both sides of this conflict. Though the Castros kicked out much of the Catholic clergy in the years following the revolution and sought to suppress Afro-Cuban religions like Santeria they were unable to do so. Since Pope John Paul II visit to Cuba in the 90’s the government has eased off a bit on their repression of both Catholicism and Judaism as well as Afro-Cuban religions. The current pope, Pope Francis, is said to have played an integral part in the talks between the two nations. This enhanced the faith of many Cubans on the island while leaving a lot of hardline Cubans here in the U.S. feeling betrayed by their pontiff. But at any rate Catholicism and Afro-Cuban religions co-exist side by side in the lives of many Cubans. They see no conflict between going to church on Sunday and praying to the Orishas on Saturday. I hope the babalawos are right and everything will be easier from now on.

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