Nightmares and Cold Sweats

MIGUEL A. Bretos

in Matanzas

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780813038100
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041568 | DOI:
Nightmares and Cold Sweats

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Following independence, a debate about the place of Afro-Cubans in society took place amidst hardening racist positions. Two prominent Afro-Matanzas, Juan Gualberto Gomez and Martin Morua Delgado, were key participants. At issue was the legality of race-based political parties. In 1919 Matanzas was shaken by the alleged kidnapping of a child, Cecilia Dalcourt, amidst rumors that Afro-Cuban cult followers, especially the ñañigos, routinely engaged in sacrifices of children. Suspects of Cecilia's kidnapping were apprehended and cult objects captured wholesale. The discovery of a child's corpse identified by her father as that of Cecilia launched a wave of repression that, fed by the press, resulted in several deaths and brought down Mayor Armando Carnot, a humanitarian and a voice of reason during the crisis. The following year, a collapse in sugar prices put an end to a speculative frenzy known as las vacas gordas (“the fat cows”).

Keywords: Ñáñigos; Gómez; Delgado; child sacrifice; vacas gordas; sugar-price collapse

Chapter.  5136 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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