Introduction: “Antes”
Epigraph: María de la Caridad LaGuna, personal communication, El Cobre, Cuba,
March 22, 2001. Unless other wise noted, all translations are my own.
1. María de la Caridad LaGuna, personal communication, El Cobre, Cuba,
March 22, 2001.
2. Although many feminist scholars of religion have criticized traditional Marian
portrayals for creating self- abnegating “feminine” models that limit women’s
autonomy (Daly 1973), others (especially Latina mujerista theologians) find
redeeming value in the figure of Mary as a divine female- gendered ally in
women’s emancipatory struggles (Isasi- Díaz 1996).
3. Mons. Emilio Aranguren Echeverría, “Y si vas al Cobre quiero que me trai-
gas . . . ,” Pasos: Boletín Diocesis Cienfuegos 3 (1999): 4–5, aah. Mons. Emilio’s ar-
ticle title recalls the well- known ly rics of a still- popular 1929 son song dedicated
to the Virgin, “Mi Veneración” (Trio Matamoros [1929] 2013). Alberto Baeza
Flores, “El Cobre: Mar del Peregrinos, Verbenos y Milagros,” Carteles (December
1949): 44, bnc; Agrupación Católica Universitaria 1960, 21; Valdés 1989.
4. Ortíz 1964. Cubanidad, by comparison, designated a more passive “generic
condition of being Cuban.” These concepts were previously addressed by
nineteenth- century in de pen dence activist José Martí in Our Ame rica, and by po-
liti cal scientist José Antonio Saco (Frederik 2012, 279n3).
5. Abelardo Larduet Luaces, personal communication, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba,
June 2011. See Larduet Luaces 2014.
6. My Cuban contacts reported that, after I left, they often fielded queries from
cederistas (neighborhood officials of the cdr), and received follow-up visits
from state security agents of the Ministry of Interior (minint) about my pres-
ence. On four occasions (1998, 2001, 2011, and 2014), I was interrogated by gov-
ernment officials— who asked pointed questions about my dealings with the
Catholic Church— and on one occasion (2001), I was made to leave the country.
My reflection on the methodology and politics of this pro ject will be the topic
of a forthcoming work.
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