Pray for Elián: Religion and Politics in Miami

Miguel A. De La Torre

in Latino Religions and Civic Activism in the United States

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780195162271
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850365 | DOI:
Pray for Elián: Religion and Politics in Miami

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This chapter discusses the story of Elián Gonzalez. Cuban Catholic priests and laity supported the efforts of Elián's uncle to gain custody of Elián. Cubans flocked to Elián's uncle's home and drew on their faith to pray, protest, and demonstrate against President Bill Clinton's administration and Attorney General Janet Reno, who wanted the child returned to Cuba. The Elián story illustrates how religion, politics, and power merged within the Miami Exilic community. This chapter explores how the power of the Exilic Cuban community in Miami formed their religious response to the Elián story and how that response masks a political agenda designed to maintain and increase the power base of that community. In other words, it attempts to understand how a community of less than a half million Exilic Cubans amassed the power to contest the strongest government in the world, literally confounding the US endeavor to return Elián to Cuba.

Keywords: Elián Gonzalez; Miami; custody; Exilic Cuban community; Bill Clinton

Chapter.  6672 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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