King's Evangelical Divinity School

13 September 2009

New Book Review on Cuban Protestantism

I've just learned my review of a book for the Bulletin of Latin American Research has been published in a special edition of the journal marking fifty years of the Cuban revolution. The book, by Theron Corse, is entitled Protestants, Revolution, and the US-Cuba Bond (if you're in this item, be sure to hunt around as it available across the 'net for a range of prices). Obviously with the review having just been published I can't post it here yet, but in a nutshell Corse focuses on how Cuba-US Protestant bonds have remained durable and resilient since the 1959 revolution, while the identity implanted by US missionaries helped Cuban Protestantism to survive a period of forced autonomy.
Interestingly, the book challenges common stereotypes, tracing how many Protestants (both Cuban and the missionary boards back in the US) were actually supportive of the revolution and its aims during its initial stages. This begs the inevitable question: why did the Castro regime turn against Protestants, many of whom were involved in the revolution’s sweeping away of the Batista regime? Corse explains it is because the revolutionary government had no intention of sharing power with anyone, least of all a movement which represented an ideological rival. Thus, petty harassment eventually gave way to more widespread oppression, with some Protestant leaders ending up in the 1960s UMAPs (work camps). Many more went into exile. Yet as the political situation on the isle begins to ease, the former Cuban-US Protestant bonds are proving invaluable as Protestants take advantage of the situation in a bid to increase their strength across Cuba.

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