Cuba’s Complicated History with Santeria


Photo courtesy of Paolo Gianfrancesco

A current issue affecting Afro-Cubans today is the desire for religious tolerance. Pope Benedict XVI, in his visit to Cuba this year, declined to meet with any leaders of the Santería religion. Pope Benedict met with leaders of institutional, monotheistic faiths in Cuba, but with no Santería priests. This is a pretty hurtful slight considering the fact that as many as 80 percent of Cubans observe some form of Santería or other Afro-Cuban religion. In the article, writer Andrea Rodriguez quotes a Santero priest, Lazaro Cuesta, on the issue: “we live in the basement, where nobody sees us… “We have already seen one pope visit … and at no moment did he see fit to talk to us”.