Cuba’s Own Horror Stories

Veronica Vega

3. Nightmare HORRORHAVANA TIMES — A conversation I had recently left me with a gnawing doubt.

My sister told me that her six-year-old grandson reproached her mother for practicing the Yoruba religion. “Those saints you talk about are not saints. Children go missing because of them in December.”

“What do you mean children go missing?” I asked. “They’re sacrificed,” was the answer. “What do you mean children are sacrificed?” I insisted, increasingly shocked. “Here, in Cuba?” “Yes, for the 4th of December.”

I couldn’t – and still can’t – believe what I was hearing. I continued to ask everyone I assumed would know something about the issue, and I obtained similar claims: “Children are sacrificed to Chango.” “Why children?” “Because it’s the blood of innocents.” “But, have any cases been revealed, or are these just rumors?”

The replies merely made reference to a concrete incident: a man inside a bus (no one recalled the bus number or route, though the people who had told this person the story had mentioned it) was carrying a large sack. Inside it, something was moving about suspiciously. Someone mentioned this to the driver, concerned, and he decided to stop at a control point and ask a police officer to search inside the passenger’s sack.

When the police officer opened the sack, he found a child with his lips sown shut inside it. According to the legend, the fateful date was nearing.

What was most disquieting for me was that, though this story was absolutely new to me, everyone I spoke with had already heard it. How is it I’d never hear anything of the sort before?

If, as the people I spoke with claim, this is a well-known secret, why is there no talk of the subject? Not informing people of these sorts of things is one of the ills of socialism, as we saw with the notirous case of the “Butcher of Rostov.” But, if there are any documented cases of such barbaric acts, how is it that not even the alternative media make any mention of it? How is it that no one has seriously looked into the matter?

“Because everyone’s afraid,” was the answer. I recall that, when I wrote a post criticizing the foulness and cruelty of the animal sacrifices made in our city under this religion, I was told I was very courageous.

Incredibly, people are afraid to incur the wrath of the gods, just as in pre-Colombian times, when it was believed that blood (the blood of others, of course) was a divine gift that could secure us the blessing of omnipotent beings that steer and even control our destiny. The sane question would be: what sort of happiness could warrant such a horrible practice, or the silence surrounding it, or even the creation of such a morbid myth?

I believe any creed is worthy of respect, but the right to life must be fully respected everywhere in the world, and kidnapping and murdering children is an extremely serious offense.

As I have no other source of information available, I turned to Wikipedia. There, I found the following:

Chango is one of the most popular gods of the Yoruba pantheon. Considered the Orisha of thunder, lightning, justice, virility, dance and fire, owner of the Bata, Wemileres, Ilu Bata or Bembes drums (for dance and music), he represents the necessity and joy of living, the intensity of life, masculine beauty, passion, intelligence and wealth.

In his day, he was a king, warrior and sorcerer who accidentally destroyed his home, killing his wife and children, before becoming an Orisha. Offerings to Chango include amala, made out of corn flour, milk and ochre, green plantains, oti, red wine, toasted corn, barley, birdseed and other ingredients. Rams, roosters, quails, turtles, chickens, doves, etc, are sacrificed to him.

I don’t know whether “etc.” is Wikipedia’s contribution or whether it reflects a fact. The article adds that the festivities in honor of Chango are held on December 30, but the people who have some knowledge on the subject (confessing that, as regards my particular query, they would rather not ask too many questions) insist that the offerings are made in December, a month in which the innocent are at risk in Cuba.

Veronica Vega

Veronica Vega: I believe that truth has power and the word can and should be an extension of the truth. I think that is also the role of Art and the media. I consider myself an artist, but above all, a seeker and defender of the Truth as an essential element of what sustains human existence and consciousness. I believe that Cuba can and must change and that websites like Havana Times contribute to that necessary change.


7 thoughts on “Cuba’s Own Horror Stories

  • November 4, 2018 at 10:25 pm
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    your response is narrow-minded and not experienced, not looking at all sides of the spectrum and just basing this off of your idea or your mentors idea is very ignorant itself. These are all theories, if you believe that Christianity is false ok then fine by the world but, just because people dont believe the same things as you doesnt mean that they are right or that you are right. If what you said is true, were true then theories wouldnt be theories but they are as of now so whatever.

  • December 17, 2015 at 7:55 pm
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    It was also Hitchens whose book ” God Is Not Great” was subtitled “How Religion Poisons Everything” .
    You’d have to read the book to fully grasp that the title and subtitles are both accurate.
    He wrote that because the Abrahamic religions demands blind obedience ( to primitive practices and beliefs) it is inherently and explicitly totalitarian and a wish to be a slave and to wish for eternal invigilation .
    It goes directly against our present democratic values and the democratic values that have existed since humanity’s earliest days.
    (see Kropotkin’s: “Mutual Aid: A Factor Of Evolution” -probably available in Danish.
    Lastly: and also from Hitchens, (paraphrased) since the earliest days of humanity there have been over 1000 gods -each in its or their time as real and as obeyed as the present one and then unceremoniously dumped when the new improved god/religion showed up in their turn.
    We are now down to ONE God which brings us ever closer to the actual number.

  • December 15, 2015 at 10:23 am
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    I think that you should go to Nigeria or other christianized nations of Africa for actual examples of children being sacrificed by religious fanatics:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXqwbU8z9aU
    But even in these cases poverty is usually to blame: Parents who cannot afford to feed their children find a way of blaming them for the miserable conditions.

  • December 15, 2015 at 5:46 am
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    Like you, John Goodrich, I’m not a believer, and I think that you can learn all there is to know about religion from Karl Marx. He started out analysing and criticizing religion, but upon having finished these studies, he moved on to analysing and criticizing the circumstances that give rise to superstition:

    “The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. (…) It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.
    Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
    The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. TO CALL ON THEM TO GIVE UP THEIR ILLUSIONS ABOUT THEIR CONDITION IS TO CALL ON THEM TO GIVE UP A CONDITION THAT REQUIRES ILLUSIONS. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/intro.htm

    In other words: Religion does not really “poison everything”, as you seem to think. Religion arises in the mind that has already been ‘poisoned’ by living in conditions that do not promote clarity and soundness of mind, i.e. in poverty and misery, in conditions where people have lost control of their lives. It is no coincidence that the Special Period gave rise to religion in Cuba. It was not the other way ’round!

    The article above, Cuba’s Own Horror Stories by Veronica Vega, isn’t really about religion; it is about an urban myth. You cannot blame this myth on the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria/Lucumi, as little as you can blame the myth of Jewish (or communist) cannibalism of children on the Jews or the communists …

    In addition to Marx’s criticism of religion, I have collected a couple of links to modern examples of superstition caused by uncertainty and lack of control: http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=9447804#post9447804

    And as far as “PRIMITIVE” is concerned, I can recommend the article by the late Steve Kowit:

    The Mass Suicide of the Xhosa. A Study in Collective Self-Deception
    Skeptic Magazine, Volume 11, Number 1 (2004)
    http://www.skeptic.com/magazine/archives/11.1/

    I don’t think that it’s available online, unfortunately, unless you read Danish! 🙂
    http://skeptica.dk/artikler/?p=1288

  • December 15, 2015 at 4:52 am
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    It sounds like an urban myth to me – like the many rumors circulating back in August 2006 about Fidel Castro’s death. The reference was usually an alleged nurse working at the hospital where he had died.

    “An urban legend, popular legend, urban myth, urban tale or contemporary legend is a form of modern folklore consisting of fictional stories with macabre elements deeply rooted in local popular culture. These legends can be used for entertainment purposes, as well as for semi-serious explanations for random events such as disappearances and strange objects.
    Despite its name, an urban legend does not necessarily originate in an urban area. Rather, the term is used to differentiate modern legend from traditional folklore of pre-industrial times. For this reason, sociologists and folklorists prefer the term “contemporary legend”. Because people frequently allege that such tales happened to a “friend of a friend” (FOAF), the phrase has become a commonly used term when recounting this type of story.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_legend

    Unless children actually disappear or Santaria Santas are actually caught with bags full of children, I don’t see any reason why you should take this particular boogeyman seriously. I would recommend nipping it in bud: Ask for the specific source of the story, an actual eye witness.

  • December 14, 2015 at 2:09 pm
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    Haiti Possibly but on CUBA?

  • December 14, 2015 at 11:27 am
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    IMO, religion poisons everything.
    All religions are based on PRIMITIVE myths and fictions.
    It is a very primitive and ignorant way to either explain things or to try to affect things in our lives.
    For Christians, I would recommend viewing Christopher Hitchens’ ” Christianity Is False And Immoral ”
    at You Tube to see why.

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