Faith in the Promised Land

Yenisel Rodriguez

Consuelito Vidal. Photo:

At the ceremony for the 2010 Lucas Awards, that gala of Cuban music videos, concluded with the large projection of the word “faith.”  On a giant screen there unexpectedly appeared the unforgettable Consuelito Vidal making an appeal for hope for the Cuban people, and in the foreground the word “faith” was highlighted in red.

The Lucas Awards is a political, cultural and religious event in a country where the atheistic politics of the government eroded the popular prestige of religion.  Although with time we have confirmed that this erosion wasn’t so deep, it’s no less true that today there still exists strong atheistic indoctrination among certain sectors of the Cuban population.

It is common to meet people who need to make it clear that they don’t profess religious ideas.  Many of them can recite basic notions of scientific atheism automatically.  It is a knee jerk reaction, but what this implies is that they don’t allow themselves to engage in the most minimum of exchanges concerning theological opinions.

Now that the stigmatization of religious practices has been lifted and left behind, the promotion of an attitude of faith within the context of an official cultural event of popular interest seems to be one more step toward burying — for once and for all and forever — the worst of the religious fundamentalisms: scientific atheism.

Though I don’t deny the possibility of the existence of a non-religious faith, in Cuba the simple allusion to the term activates a popular imaginary in which religion occupies an important place, especially those of Catholic and African origins.

I have always associated the personality of Consuelito with that characteristic manner of public-spiritedness and spirituality that identifies us.  To see her making an appeal for faith confirms my suspicion that many of us Cubans give the same meaning to this wonderful woman.  In many ways we are returning to her in a search for new utopias.

May that faith be reborn with this new year, and my we come closer to that promised nation of full stomachs and free souls that so many of us desire.

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Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

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One thought on “Faith in the Promised Land

  • Interesting article, Yenisel.

    The idea that individuals must get rid of religious belief in order to join the pure socialist club, was an idea imported into the socialist movement in the mid-1800s by you-know-who, to discredit socialism in the public eye.

    But socialist activists, being human beings, still needed some sort of spiritual faith to make their struggle for a new society viscerally satisfying. Thus the most egotistical originator of state monopolism was accorded the status of an infallible cult deity, and state monopolism came to play the role of an exuberant secular religion.

    When revolutionary governments were established in the last century, spiritual religions were disallowed and the new secular religion was established as the equivalent of a state religion. Like state monopoly socialist dysfunction, “scientific atheism” helped destroy the reputation of socialism worldwide.

    The only question now is whether the mesmerized socialist vanguard with grope their way out of the state monopoly mind-control cult in time to save civilization from environmental and nuclear destruction.

    I’m not a praying man, but if I were, this is what I’d pray for.

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