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1 PRESBYTERIANS AND THE CUBAN REVOLUTION By TOMS ENRIQUE CASTELLANOS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIV ERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Toms Enrique Castellanos
3 To my mother, whose sacrifice, love, and support have made this work possible
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS My research and this thesis would not have been possible without the assistance of a number of individuals and institutions. I am thankful to the University of Florida and the Center for Latin American Studies for funding my graduate studies and archival research. My work would not have been possible wi thout the welcoming policy of the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia and its staff, especially its senior reference specialists, Leah Gass and Lisa Jacobson. I also want to thank my friend, Ashley Puig Herz, her husband, and her two children for allowing me to live in their home while I was doing archival research in Philadelphia. The guidance and contributions of my advisor, Lillian Guerra, and the other members of my thesis committee Richmond Brown and Manuel Vsquez have been of unimaginable value and I owe a great debt to all of them. I also thank Mara Cristina Garcia for advising, teaching, and mentoring me throughout my undergraduate years at Cornell University and for encouraging me to pursue graduate studies in history and Latin Amer ican studies. I also extend my thanks to all of the professors, classmates, and friends who have supported and encouraged me throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies. Furthermore, I will be eternally grateful to my family, especially my grandparents whose love, support, and memories of 1960s Cuba have greatly contributed to my work. Finally, none of this would be possible without the sacrifices and unc onditional support of my mother
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 4 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ............................................................................................. 7 ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... 8 INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................... 10 Research Objectives ............................................................................................... 10 Sources ................................................................................................................... 13 Literature Review .................................................................................................... 14 Exp lanation of Terminology .................................................................................... 17 Protestantism Before the Cuban Revolution ........................................................... 18 Presbyterians in the Anti Batista Struggle ............................................................... 23 A PERIOD OF EUPHORIA ........................................................................................... 25 Initial Support .......................................................................................................... 27 Life As Usual ........................................................................................................... 34 Presbyterians in the Revolutionary Government ..................................................... 38 Executi ons, the U.S. Media, and the Presbyterian Reaction ................................... 42 Anti Communism .................................................................................................... 45 Separation of Church and State .............................................................................. 47 Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 51 RADICALIZATION AND ACCOMMODATION .............................................................. 53 Increasing Tensions ................................................................................................ 58 Nationalization of Presbyterian Schools .................................................................. 64 Revolution, Marxism, and the Church ..................................................................... 67 Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 78 PRESBYTERIANS AND THE COMMUNIST STATE .................................................... 80 Dependency Challenged, Bonds Endure ................................................................ 80 Departure and Exile ................................................................................................ 92 Church and State .................................................................................................. 101 Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 109 THE NEW MAN AND THE CHURCH .......................................................................... 111 Ecclesiastical Independence and Opposition ........................................................ 113 The Cuban Project and the Board of Pensions ..................................................... 120 From U.S. Dependency to Global Outreach ......................................................... 124
6 Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 130 CONCLUSIONS .......................................................................................................... 133 Contributions and Significance ............................................................................. 135 Suggestions for Further Research ........................................................................ 138 LIST OF REFERENCES ............................................................................................. 140 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................... 142
7 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS BNM Board of National Missions CCIE Consejo Cubano de Iglesias Evanglicas (Cuban Council of Evangelical Churches) CCPAL Co mmittee on Presbyterian Cooperation in Latin America COEMAR Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations CWS Church World Service DR Directorio Revolucionario (Revolutionary Directorate) IPRC Iglesia PresbiterianaReformada en Cuba (PresbyterianReforme d Church in Cuba) NCC National Council of Churches PHS Presbyterian Historical Society PSP Partido Socialista Popular (Popular Socialist Party) SET Seminario Evanglico de Teologa (Evangelical Theological Seminary) PCC Partido Comunista de Cuba (Communist Party of Cuba) PURS Partido Unido Revolucionario Socialista (United Revolutionary Socialist Party) UPCUSA United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America WCC World Council of Churches
8 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts PRESBYTERIANS AND THE CUBAN REVOLUTION By Toms Enrique Castellanos May 2013 Chair: Lillian Guerra Major: Latin American Studies This thesis examines the Presbyterian experience in Cuba during the period of state consolidation following the Cuban Revolution. The first phase of the Revolution, between 1959 and 1960, was welcomed by Presbyterians with optimism and euphoria. Presbyterians hoped the new government would represent a new beginning for Presbyterian missionary and social work in the country. They justified the more controversial actions of the revolutionary government, namely the public executions of former Batista policemen, guards, and military officials, and sought to maintain and strengthen their bonds with their North American financial sponsors, the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. The radicalization of the Revolution, especially between 1961 and 1 966, presented a challenge for Presbyterians as they tried to accommodate to the changing nature of t he regime, the breakdown of United States Cuba relations, and the economic recession that ensued. A sector of the denomination embraced the radical reform s, even the Marxist nature of the state. However, a significant faction opposed the radicalization of the revolutionary government and chose to emigrate, especially after the Presbyterian leadership secured ecclesiastical independence in 1967.
9 Presbyterian entered the most radical phase of the Revolution, between 1966 and 1971, with an independent church but deeply tied to U.S. financing. This thesis demonstrates that while the Presbyterian leadership embraced the anti imperialist, nationalist, and someti mes even Marxist discourse of the Revolution, they failed to internalize the self sacrificing, frugal, unselfish, and egalitarian ideology of the New Man that emerged during the final period of the revolutionary states consolidation.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Research Objectives The purpose of this study is to analyze the relationship between Presbyterians and the process of state consolidation following the Cuban Revolution. It covers the period from 1959 to 1972, when Presbyterians were forced to renegotiate their historic dependence on the United States and reexamine their identity in the context of an anti imperialist revolutionary state. I seek to demonstrate how individual Presbyterian leaders embraced, supported, and advanced the revolutionary cause during the initial period of state consolidation. I examine Presbyterians initial reaction to the euphoria following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and explain why some Presbyterians perceived the success of the Revolution as an opportunity for their mission in Cuba. Furthermore, my research examines the churchs response to the nationalization of private schools, the adoption of Marxism, and the breakdown of U.S. Cuba relations. It seeks to explain how Presbyterians reconciled their Christian theology with Cubas adoption of Marxism and official state atheism. Specifically, my research analyzes the accommodations that guaranteed Presbyterians survival in the new Marxist society. It also attempts to explain the role of Cuban Presbyterianis m, officially constituted in 1967 as the independent PresbyterianReformed Church of Cuba, in the legitimation of the revolutionary state and the ways in which this new ecclesiastical body sought to preserve its historic dependence on the United States whi le simultaneously endorsing a nationalist and anti imperialist discourse.
11 Chapter 2 examines the Presbyterian Churchs early response to the Revolution. It looks at examples of public support and cooperation with the revolutionary government, Presbyteri ans response to the execution of Batistas former agents, policemen, and soldiers, and the churchs role in advocating for separation of church and state. Furthermore, it argues that church activity continued as if nothing had changed, neglecting to understand the radical transformations taking place in Cuba and the radicalization of the revolutionary project that lay ahead. Instead, Presbyterians continued to define themselves with the same U.S. derived identities of the prerevolutionary past. In the meantime, they saw the Revolution as an opportunity to further their missionary and modernizing project in Cuban society. Chapter 3 examines the effects of revolutionary radicalization on Cuban Presbyterians. By analyzing the public discourse between divergent factions of the church during the period between the fall of 1960 and the spring of 1961, this chapter seeks to highlight to increasing tensions between those who publically supported the Revolution and its most vocal detractors. Here one must keep in mind the problem of certain voices being overrepresented in publications and public forums, while others less audible are more important than they appear. The political realities of Cuba as the Revolution radicalized meant that those Presbyterians who most readily supported the regime were most likely to see their work published and disseminated, while voices of dissent were gradually silenced within Cuba. Furthermore, in examining the nationalization of Presbyterian schools in May of 1961 and the subsequent reaction of Presbyterians in Cuba and the United States, one can observe the degree to which Cubas new political realities had become
12 counterproductive for Presbyterian work on the island. In addition, the response of Cuban Presbyterians to the n ationalization reflect their difficult predicament: on the one hand, reassuring their North American sponsors that Presbyterian work would continue in Cuba without interruption in spite of the increasing evidence to the contrary and on the other, accommodating the radical changes of the revolutionary state in light of the denominations deep ties to the United States. In response to the Revolutions shift to the left, Presbyterian leaders would be forced to reexamine their denominations identity. This ch apter demonstrates that Presbyterians sought to engage the Revolution throughout the 1960s, and examines the ways in which influential voices within the church made their sympathy for the Revolution publicly known. Chapter 4 gives a voice to a faction o f the church that gradually became more silent as the Revolution radicalized. It reveals that even among the Revolutions supporters, ties to the United States remained too indispensable to reject. The breakdown of U.S. Cuba relations challenged the financial and institutional bonds between U.S. and Cuban Presbyterians but financial records and personal correspondence reveals that these links endured even as churchstate relations deteriorated. It demonstrates that Cuban Presbyterians remained reluctant to break with decades of U.S. dependency. Chapter 5 explores the Presbyterian Church in Cuba during the 19651970 period, with particular emphasis on the creation of a national and independent church, the continued financial support of the United Presbyt erian Church in the United States (UPCUSA) through the Cuba Project, and the resilience of U.S. Cuba financial bonds that kept U.S. and Cuban Presbyterians closely allied even as their churches became
13 nominally and institutionally distinct. This chapter il lustrates a church plagued by significant contradictions. On the one hand, the prorevolutionary faction of the denomination secured the administrative independence of the church and established an institutionally Cuban church body, the Iglesia Presbiteri ana Reformada en Cuba (IPRC). At the same time, the financial reality of the church demonstrates that Cuban Presbyterians remained unwilling to fully embrace their independence. This chapter also highlights important contradictions in the Presbyterian ex perience during the Revolutions most difficult years. The period between 1967 and 1971 represented a significant challenge to the revolutionary state as the earlier economic model of import substitution industrialization failed and Cuba had to resort to voluntarism and conc iencia or the revolutionary conscience of the New Man, to keep the economy and the revolutionary project afloat.1 While Presbyterians adopted the revolutionary rhetoric of this time period, their actions demonstrate that they lacked conc iencia Ins tead, leading pastors manifested a highly materialistic set of interests at a time when the majority of Cubans lived extremely austere lives and revolutionary leaders like Fidel Castro called on citizens to deny material desires and become s elfless Communists .2 Sources This study derives its primary source material from the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia. The documentation consists primarily of correspondence, 1 Marifeli Prez Stable, The Cuban Revoluti on: Origins, Course, and Legacy 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 94102. 2 Carmelo MesaLago, The Economy of Soc ialist Cuba: A Two Decade Appraisal (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1981), 142157 ; Lillian Guerra, Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption, and Resistance, 19591971 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, 2012), 256 316.
14 official church records, missionary personal files, minutes of church meetings, and articles from Presbyterian Life and Heraldo Cristiano. The archival material on Cuba at the Presbyterian Historical Society is vast. It includes documents from the beginnings of missionary work in the island during the U.S. occupation and even missionary personnel files from individual s who worked in Cuba during the final years of the colonial period. The archival material is rich in financial and administrative records, particularly relating to Presbyterian schools. As Cuban Presbyt erians remained institutionally tied to the North American denomination until 1967, the Presbyterian Historical Society maintains rich primary source materials from the years immediately following the Cuban Revolution. Furthermore, since official financial and administrative bonds between U.S. and Cuban Presbyterians continued into the early 1970s, the Presbyterian Historical Society also maintains the records for the early years of the independent PresbyterianReformed Church of Cuba, including national assembly meetings, budgets, correspondence with the United States, and issues of Heraldo Cristiano Literature Review The pioneering work of Harold E. Greer, Jr. on Southern Baptists, titled History of Southern Baptist Mission Work in Cuba, 1886 1916 (1965), is among the first in the historiography of Protestantism in Cuba and the most complete history of the Southern Baptist s early work on the island. Sterling A. Neblett subsequently followed with Methodisms First Fifty Years in Cuba (1976), which remai ns the most comprehensive history of the Methodist Church in Cuba during the prerevolutionary period. However, it was not until the publication of Marcos A. Ramos Panorama del Protestantismo en Cuba (1986) that the historiography gained a multi denomina tional and truly
15 comprehensive history of Cuban Protestantism before the Cuban Revolution. Ramoss groundbreaking work has been a must read for all scholars working on the field and has been unanimously cited by all subsequent publicati ons. Ramos later f ollowed his first publication with Protestantism and Revolution in Cuba (1989), where he provided a brief overview of the Protestant community following the Cuban Revolution. Louis A. Prez, Jr. made further contributions to the historiography in Essays on Cuban History: Historiography and Research (1995) where he briefly discussed the history of Protestantism in Cuba and provided a guide for future researchers interested in expanding the scholarship of the field. The historiography has experienced cons iderable growth during the last decade. Jason M. Yaremkos U.S. Protestant Missions in Cuba: From Independence to Castro (2000) expanded the available scholarship on North American missionary work in eastern Cuba during the decades following independence. Furthermore, Theo Tschuys article, Protestantism in Cuba, 18681968 (2001) provided a general history of Cuban Protestantism and briefly examines its relationship with the Cuban government following Fidel Castros rise to power. Theron Corse examine d Protestantism during the revolutionary period in greater detail in his recent work, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond (2007). Corse analyzed and compared the ways in which Cubas Protestant denominations responded to the Cuban Revolution and the impact that the revolutionary changes and the breakdown of U.S. Cuba relations had on the bonds between U.S. and Cuban Protestants. He argued that U.S. Cuba bonds among Protestants endured even the most difficult period for the church, the 1970s, and have actually strengthened since.
16 The scholarship on nineteenthcentury Cuban Protestantism has recently seen several welcome additions, including Luis Martnez Fernndezs Protestantism and Political Conflict in the NineteenthCentury Hispanic Carib bean (2002) and Calixto Castillo Tllezs La Iglesia Protestante en las luchas por la independencia de Cuba, 18681898 (2003). The work on individual denominations has been limited since Greer and Nebletts early publications on Southern Baptists and Meth odism, respectively. Furthermore, because the relationship between Protestants and the Cuban state following the Cuban Revolution has only recently been analyzed, overall the historiography in this area remains limited. Finally, the angle of analysis has thus far been narrow as these works do not discuss the engagement of the Revolutions highly charged rhetoric nor the theological implications of such an engagement. In examining the Presbyterian Churchs response to, interaction with, and ultimately ac commodation to the Revolution, my work contributes to an area of the historiography that remains inadequate. This denominational study represents a more detailed and indepth analysis of the Presbyterian experience. Regarded by Corse as one of the most radical denominations, the Presbyterian experience highlights the most extreme case of Protestant accommodation to the revolutionary government. However, while extreme, the Presbyterian experience is not unique. In fact, other denominations faced similar internal struggles to define their identity in response to Cubas radical transformation during the 1960s. My work seeks to build upon the existing historiography and provide scholars with additional insights on Protestantism during the revolutionary pe riod. My research examines a religious elite composed of Presbyterian leaders that maintained a high
17 degree of privilege in a society that became increasingly equal. This contradiction has not been explored in the historiography. Furthermore, I argue th at the Presbyterian leaderships actions h elped legitimize the Revolution at both a discursive and political level. By dismissing the accusations that the revolutionary state was impeding religious activity and by presenting themselves as a public example of Cubas religious freedom, they delegitimized the Revolutions most vocal critics and advanced the Revolutions public image. Explanation of Terminology After the SpanishAmerican War, both northern and southern Presbyterian denominations undertook missionary work in Cuba. However, the southern Presbyterians decided to discontinue their work in Cuba in 1920 and transferred their churches and missionary work to the northern Presbyterians. In 1958, both denominations merged to form the United Presby terian Church in the United States of America (UPCUSA). The UPCUSA was divided into regional synods and each synod into presbyteries. The Presbytery of Cuba was an organic part of the UPCUSA, under the direction of the Synod of New Jersey. Each presbytery was led by a moderator, elected for a oneyear term by elders (lay members). Both pastors and elders could be elected to serve as moderators. Presbyterian work in Cuba was financially tied to the Board of National Missions (BNM). This department of the UPCUSA handled the denominations missionary work in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and among SpanishSpeakers in New Mexico and southern Colorado. The BNM helped subsidize the salary and pension contributions of Cuban pastors and supported the churchs overall programs, including construction costs and other administrative expenses. Meanwhile, the Board of Pensions handled the pension
18 funds for Cuban pastors and lay church workers. Since Cuban congregations could not pay their pastors entire pension contribut ions, they depended on the BNM to subsidize their pastors pension account with the Board of Pensions. Protestantism Before the Cuban Revolution The first recorded Protestant religious service in Cuba occurred during the British Occupation of Havana (17621763), but it would take more than a century before Protestantism could establish a permanent presence on the island. According to Luis Martnez Fernndez, the Protestant community of Cuba in the early and midnineteenth century consisted mainly of foreign residents who displayed outward conformity to Roman Catholic rituals or simply refrained from public worship and relied on traveling Protestant clergymen for pastoral care. Furthermore, with the exception of brief episodes of Liberal rule in Spai n, Protestantism and nonCatholic evangelization was technically banned by Spains designation of Catholicism as the state religion until 1898.3 However, after the 1860s Protestantism began to make inroads among Cuban migrs in the United States. Accordi ng to Theo Tschuy, Cubans established St. James Episcopal Church in New York in 1866, while Methodists appointed Joseph E.A. Van Duzer to conduct missionary work among the Cuban community of Key West in 1873. Subsequently, H.B. Someilln and Aurelio Silvera established a Methodist mission in Cuba in 1879. Meanwhile, an Episcopal seamans chaplaincy was 3 Luis Martnez Fernndez, CryptoProtestants and PseudoCatholics in the Nineteenth Century Hispanic Caribbean in Frontiers, Plantations, and Walled Cities: Essays on Society, Culture, and Politics in the Hispanic Caribbean, 18001945 (Princeton: Markus W iener Publishers, 2011), 5775.
19 established in Havana in 1871 under the leadership of Rev. Edward Kenny.4 Following Kennys departure in 1880, his followers organized the Fieles a Jess (Faithful to Jesus) congregation in Havana. Prominent Cuban Protestant leaders would emerge from this congregation in the following years, including Evaristo Callazo, who introduced Presbyterianism to Cuba and established a mission in Santa Clara.5 It is evident that latenineteenth century Cuban Protestantism was organized and led by Cubans. However, the character of Cuban Protestantism dramatically changed following the Cuban War of Independence (18951898) and the U.S. military occupation (18991902). Following the Treaty of Paris (1898), Cuba experienced an influx of North American missionaries. In October 1901, the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions (later known as the Board of National Missions) began operations in Cuba with the Rev. J. Milton Gre ene and the Rev. A. Waldo Stevenson. In December they established First Presbyterian Church in Havana with 43 members.6 Before the War of Independence, Cuban Protestantism had been closely associated with the independence movement; but, according to Ts chuy after 1898, Protestantism could no longer be identified with the cause of Cuban independence, but rather with the new imperialism from the North which had frustrated independence.7 4 Theo Tschuy, Protestantism in Cuba, 18681968 in Christianity in the Caribbean: Essays on Church History edited by Armando Lampe (Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies, 2001), 229268. 5 Louis A. Prez, Jr., North American Missionaries in Cuba and the Culture of Hegemony, 18981920 in Essays on Cuban History: Historiography and Research (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1995), 5372. 6 Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS): 301.821 35, Presbyterian Beginnings in Cuba, 18991901. 7 Tschuy, Protestantism in Cuba, 18681968, 242.
20 According to Louis A. Prez, Jr, both the pedagogical content and the evangelical message of Protestant education promoted appreciation for North American values and institutions and the superiority of North American ways.8 Nevertheless, Protestantism in Cuba experienced gradual growth throughout the first decades of t he twentieth century. Protestant denominations were able to serve the Cuban populations in sectors and areas neglected by both the government and the Roman Catholic Church. This was especially the case in rural areas and smaller towns, where healthcare and education services were inadequate and where the Roman Catholic Church lacked a firm institutional presence. According to Marcos A. Ramos, the main mark of the North American missionaries upon Cuban Protestantism was the one they left in the schools.9 Presbyterians were among the denominations with the most schools. Most prominent among these was La Progresiva, founded by Robert L. Wharton in Crdenas in 1900. Other Presbyterian schools could be found throughout the provinces of Las Villas, Matanz as, and Havana. It is estimated that by 1961, there were 112 Protestant schools in the country, including more than a dozen Presbyterian day schools. North American influence was evident in education. Schools had U.S. style student newspapers and celebr ated U.S. holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving.10 The denomination had grown considerably since the SpanishAmerican War, especially after 8 Prez, North American Missionaries in Cuba and the Culture of Hegemony, 18981920, 69. 9 Marcos A. Ramos, Protestantism and Revolution in Cuba (Coral Gables: Universit y of Miami, 1989), 26. 10 PHS: 301.8 21 36, Presbyterian Schools
21 the Disciples of Christ and the Southern Presbyterians withdrew from Cuba and asked the (northern) Presbyterians to take over their missionary work in the country.11 While the impact of Protestantism on education was not insignificant, Protestants never achieved the numerical success they had hoped for in the beginning of the twen tieth century. The Cuban upper class remained overwhelmingly Roman Catholic and Protestants never represented more than four to six percent of the Cuban population.12 Estimates indicate that the total Protestant community of Cuba in 1959 stood at around 180,000 individuals or less t han five percent of the population.13 Protestants degree of dependence on their mother churches in the United States is an area of debate in the historiography of Cuban Protestantism. The replacement of U.S. personnel with Cuban personnel was a public and open policy within the Presbyterian Church by the 1940s.14 While it is evident that the historic denominations (Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Baptists) had been able to Cubanize their leadership, clergy, and workers, their level of financial dependence on the U.S. appears to have been significant. According to Theron Corse, the U.S. based missionary model adopted by Cuban Protestants did not easily conform to the Cuban reality, where a much greater percentage of the population was rural illiterate and largely Catholic in its popular traditions and belief systems.15 11 PHS: 301.8 21 34, Disciples of Christ and Southern Presbyterians leave Cuba, 1920. 12 Ramos, Protestantism and Revolution in Cuba, 34. 13 Tschuy, Protestantism in Cuba, 18681968 259. 14 PHS : 301.821 36, Policy of replacing U.S. missionaries with Cuban personnel. 15 Theron Corse, Protes tants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007), 2223.
22 By 1952, La Progresiva, the Presbyterians largest school had 1,500 students, forty percent (40%) of which were Protestants and all but two staff members were Cuban. Dr. Emi lio Rodrguez Busto served as principal of La Progresiva. A picture of Rodrguez Busto taken at his office in 1951 shows a Cuban and U.S. flag behind his desk, indicating the denominations strong ties to the United States.16 Meanwhile, the Rev. Francisco Garca served as superintendent of all Presbyterian church work and Dr. Alfonso Rodrguez Hidalgo was president of the Evangelical Theological Seminary (SET), founded in 1946.17 Presbyterians also published a monthly magazine known as Heraldo Cristiano The editorial line of the publication during the 1950s followed a nationalist discourse. They were strongly anti Roman Catholic and blamed Cubas problems on a history of Spanish colonialism. In turn, they viewed U.S. missionaries and the U.S. presence i n Cuba as a progressive force.18 Furthermore, they saw themselves at the vanguard of progress and modernization and sought to associate Protestantism with high literacy.19 For Protestants, progress and modernization meant good, representative, and stable g overnance, economic prosperity, and the improvement of social indicators like literacy and school enrollment. Due to their U.S. missionary heritage, Presbyterians maintained a U.S. derieved model of modernity. For them, modernization meant achieving many of the attributes they associated with the United States, such as high literacy, a stable and representative government, and economic prosperity. 16 PHS: Heraldo Cristiano Jan. 1951. 17 PHS: MN15 M82, Church Statistics, 1952. 18 Heraldo Cristiano, Jun. 1956. 19 Ibid.
23 Presbyterians in the Anti Batista Struggle The available historiography indicates that individual Protestants actively participated in the armed uprising against Batista. Frank Pas is probably the most well known Protestant revolutionary. The son of a Baptist pastor, Pas organized anti Batista uprisings in urban areas in the 1950s and was killed by the police in 1957. Presbyterians also featured prominently within the revolution, including Faustino Prez, Ral Fernndez Ceballos, and Mario Llerena. Prez participated in the landing in the Sierra Maestra area under the leadership of Fidel Castro and was in charge of anti government activities in the cities, particulary kidnappings to destabilize the Batista dictatorship.20 He eventually became a minister in the revolutionary cabinet and served as a member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party Fernndez Ceballos headed the revolutionary governments literacy campaign and served as ecumenical leader throughout the 1960s. Meanwhile, Llerena served as representative to the 26th of July Movement in the United States during the final years of the Batista dictatorship. Other lesser know figures actively participated in the anti Biatista struggle, but were not as fortunate as the leaders previously described. In April 1958, Esteban Hernndez, faculty member of La Progresiva, was arrested, tortured, and killed by the Batista regime for alleged revolutionary activity. Presbyterians housed those Batista persecuted, raised funds, gathered medicines, and participated in civil resistance movements. Some joined the rebel underground and other fighting forces. Nineteenyear old Gustavo Labrador, president of Cuban Presbyterian Young People in 1958, 20 Tulio Marmol, Secuestro llevado acabo por evanglicos, Heraldo Cristiano, Jan. 1959.
24 worked in the rebel underground as war correspondent and later in actual combat duty. The Presbyterian schools in Cabaigun and Sancti Spritus were used as r efuges for hundreds of families when army airplanes attacked the homes of innocent civilians. On December 29, 1958 the Batista dictatorship tortured and slain the ten year old son of a La Progresiva alumnus, Jos Miranda, in retaliation for joining the re bels.21 While the church never publically and officially condemned the Batista dictatorship due to the level of censorship, by 1958 it was evident Presbyterians were not pleased with the government. In February 1958, the Rev. Daniel lvarez made a call for democracy and peace without openly supporting the Revolution or attacking the Batista dictatorship. Later that year, the church cancelled all conventions, meetings, and events in light of the political situation.22 Immediately following Batista s departure, the tone of Heraldo Cristiano radically shifted to openly embrace the Revolution.23 It is, therefore, within this climate of anti Batista activity that the Presbyterian Church welcomed the triumph of Fidel Castro and his followers in January 1959. While some notable participates, such as Llerena, would subsequently oppose the Revolutions radicalization and become a vocal critic of the new government, others would continue to embrace the revolutionary government well into the 1960s and some became key participants in the process of state consolidation and legitimization. 21 Lois Kroehler, Cuba at the Crossroads, Presbyterian Life, Mar. 1959. 22 Heraldo Cristiano, Feb. 1958. 23 T he Rev. Jose Acosta, director of Heraldo Cristiano thanks Fidel Castro for restoring freedom to Cuba in the publications January 1959 issue.
25 CHAPTER 2 A PERIOD OF EUPHORIA The victory of the Cuban rebels under the leadership of Fidel Castro and the departure of Batista represented a new beginning for much of Cuban society. As Castro and his fellow revolutionaries traveled the spine of the island toward Havana in early January 1959, thousands of Cubans celebrated the end of the dictatorship and welcomed with hope the Revolution. Cuban Protestants from all denominations and faith traditions also witnessed with excitement and optimism the end of a tyrannical government that had curtailed basic freedoms for the previous seven years. Cuban Protestants, along with their U.S. sponsors, still saw their churches and thei r schools as tools of modernization, and saw the Revolution as an opportunity to carry out that role on a grander scale than before, argues Theron Corse and most Protestants saw no inherent conflict between their goals and the Revolutions nationalistic project, even though that project was directed squarely at the United States.1 For Protestants, modernization meant good, representative, and stable governance, economic prosperity, and the improvement of social indicators like literacy and school enrol lment.2 Essentially, they aimed to move Cuba away from the backwardness they attributed to the countrys Spanish and Catholic heritage and toward the Protestant values they associated with the United States. Ironically, the revolutionary government did l ittle to establish a representative government or the democratic institutions Protestants valued. In February 1959, the governing Council of 1 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 10. 2 Heraldo Cristiano, Jan. 1956 Protestants assoc iated their branch of Christianity with high levels of literacy.
26 Ministers signed the Fundamental Law, which gave that same council virtually unchecked legislative powers. The Fu ndamental Law facilitated the centralization of political and economic power in the hands of the new revolutionary leaders during the subsequent year and a half.3 Presbyterians, as one of the most well established and long standing denominations on the i sland clearly reflected the nations broad support for the Revolution. As a largely urban and middleclass denomination, Presbyterian pastors and lay members welcomed the departure of Batista and rejoiced with hope and optimism the arrival of a new government that promised to restore democracy. Individual Presbyterians and former students of Presbyterian schools had actively fought the Batista dictatorship and supported the uprising in the Sierra Maestra throughout the 1950s. Their support and enthusiasm for the Revolution is therefore not surprising and ultimately reflects the general sentiment of the Cuban people in January 1959. This chapter seeks to examine the Presbyterian Churchs early response to the Revolution. It looks at examples of public s upport and cooperation with the revolutionary government, Presbyterians response to the execution of Batistas former agents, policemen, and soldiers, and the churchs role in advocating for separation of church and state. Furthermore, it argues that church activity continued as if nothing had changed, neglecting to understand the radical transformations taking place in Cuba and the radicalization of the revolutionary project that lay ahead. Instead, Presbyterians continued to define themselves with the same U.S. derived identities of the pre3 Prez Stable, The Cuban Revolution, 70 71.
27 revolutionary past. In the meantime, they saw the Revolution as an opportunity to further their missionary and modernizing project in Cuban society. Initial Support W ith thirty four organized churches and a mem bership of about 4,183 people, the Presbyterian Church was one of the largest and most active Protestant denominations on the island and welcomed this period of euphoria with great confidence.4 Presbyterians believed they could have a special role in the revolutionary process as modernizers and promoters of democratic governance. Dr. Leonardo Tulio Marml, writing in Heraldo Cristiano, the monthly newsletter of Presbyterian Church, argued, it is a well known fact that Protestant countries are the ones that excel in the world as the most austere, ordered, democratic, and free that exist. Tulio Marml also explains that it is in Catholic countries that one finds corruption, nepotism, and dictatorship. While a civil spirit is a Protestant trait, according to Tulio Marml, a spirit of submission is common among Catholics.5 It is important to note the contradiction between Tulio Marmls statements and Protestants belief that a violent revolution could usher in the democratic values they attributed to Prot estantism. The anti catholic rhetoric of Protestant leaders in the early days of the Revolution is indicative of Protestantisms strong attachment to U.S. values, which at the time they believed complemented and strengthened the young Cuban Revolution. The anti Catholicism within the Presbyterian Church was instrumental both to their identity and their reactions to the Revolution. As relations between the Catholic Church and the 4 PHS: 303.1 2 3, status of the Presbyterian Church in Cuba, Oct. 15, 1959. 5 Dr. Leonardo Tulio Marmol, La presencia del hombre protestante en l a Revolucin, in Heraldo Cristiano, Feb. 1959.
28 revolutionary government quickly deteriorated over the course of 1960, Pr esbyterians presented themselves as a progressive and revolutionary Christian alternative to the reactionary stance of some of the Catholic hierarchy. They also portrayed themselves as a more Cuban, national, and patriotic version of Christianity. Yet this nationalistic stance eventually came into conflict with the churchs U.S derived ecclesiastical model and identity. Support for the revolutionary cause came from diverse sectors of the Presbyterian Church. School children in Presbyterian schools ac ross the provinces of Las Villas, Matanzas and Havana expressed their support for the Revolution in early 1959.6 In January, Protestants gathered at the Parque Central in Havana to offer God their gratitude for the liberation of Cuba. The Rev. Ral Fer nndez Ceballos, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Havana and executive secretary of the Cuban Council of Evangelical Churches (CCIE), addressed the audience and expressed great enthusiasm for the Revolution.7 Meanwhile, the National Union of Presbyt erian Men sent Fidel Castro a letter lending their support to the revolutionary cause and describing the Revolutions goals as the materialization of Jesus Sermon on the Mount: We place our faith in you and in the group of leaders that surround you, because we see the doctrines preached in the Sermon on the Mount by Our Lord Jesus Christ in the orientation and civil actions of the Revolution.8 6 PHS, 303.1 2 7; Cuban Council of Evangelical Churches: Literacy Program. 7 Culto de Accin de Gracias en el Parque Central y discurso de Fernndez Ceballos, Heraldo Cristiano Feb, 1959. 8 Carta al lider de la Revolucin Cubana, Heraldo Cristiano Mar. 1959.
29 The identification of the Revolutions call for social reforms to the benefit of the poor with the message of Christianity heavily influenced the churchs reaction to the new government. Through these reforms, they expected the earthly fulfillment of their evangelical message and social doctrine. Well before the triumph of the revolutionary forces, Cuban Presbyter ians had begun to direct their mission away from the urban middle class and towards the rural poor through the creation of social programs in the most remote and neglected parts of the island.9 The Cuban Revolution also found strong support for its econom ic reforms within the church. The Rev. Emilio Veita, pastor at the Presbyterian Church in Caibarin, wrote Presente y Futuro del Agro Cubano, a book where he advocated for reform in the land tenure system through an agrarian reform program.10 Cuba began expropriating land and private property under the auspices of the Agrarian Reform Law of May 1959. A symbol of the Revolutions commitment to honoring the mandates of the 1940 Constitution, the Agrarian Reform of 1959, unlike the later, Communist reform of 1962, affected only the largest landowners, most of whom were foreigners and/or the historically privileged class of sugar planters and ranchers who had long grown accustomed to living above the law. Nonetheless, the unprecedented claim to sovereignty ov er U.S. owned properties and sugar lands sent Washington reeling. Charges of Cubas descent into Communism had been proven.11 Meanwhile, the Christian Social Movement, a Protestant civil organization, made their support for the 9 Leer, Vivir, Servir, Heraldo Cristiano, Oct. 1953 The Cuban Council of Evangelical Churches had a literacy campaign in the early 1950s. 10 Presente y Futuro del Agro Cubano, Heraldo Cristiano Mar. 1959. 11 Lillian Guerra, Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption, and Resistance, 19591971 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2012) 37 74, 170 197.
30 Revolution public and clear. They embraced the Revolutions reforms, including the Agrarian Reform Law and described themselves as supporters of democracy and cooperativism, while opposed to capitalist exploitation, materialist communism, and against all forms of totalitarianism.12 The visit of the Rev. Dr. Ansley G. Van Dyke, Presbyterian pastor from New Jersey, to eastern Cuba in the summer of 1959 further reinforced the churchs commitment and support for the Revolution. Van Dyke praised the Revolutions work among the poor i n Oriente and strongly rejected the idea that Cuba would become Communist.13 The arrival of more Presbyterian pastors from the United States in late November 1959 gave further support for the revolutionary cause and rejected the U.S. governments negative portrayal of the Revolution. The North American pastors found widespread popular support for the revolutionary government in Cuba and denied any communist influence in the island. The Rev. Dr. Arthur L. Miller, moderator of the 171st General Assembly of the UPCUSA and one of the pastors visiting Cuba, suggested that Protestantism was good for democracy, further reinforcing the modernizing and missionary mentality that Cuban Presbyterians had inherited from their North American missionaries. Nevertheless, Miller warned that U.S. foreign policy was crucial in determining the direction of the revolutionary government. Prophetically, he cautioned against opposing the Revolution, for doing so could push Cuba towards communism.14 It is unclear how Miller defin ed Communism, but it is certain that like the vast majority of middle class Cubans, he did not view the revolutionary governments initial economic 12 A la opinin pblica, Heraldo Cristiano, Jul. 1959. 13 Ansley G. Van Dyke, Cuba Nueva, Libre y Triunfal, Heraldo Cristiano, Aug. 1959. 14 PHS: 303.1 2 11
31 and social reforms as Communist. It seems that, for Miller, Communism meant a move away from the United States sphere of influence and a move towards the Soviet camp. The reaction from Presbyterians in the United States, particularly those visiting the island is complex. One the one hand, those who went to Cuba to witness first hand the revolutionary reforms and their impact on the lower classes returned to the United States with positive accounts of the new Cuban government. However, it is also evident that a continuation of their work in Cuba depended on maintaining friendly relations with the Cuban gov ernment. Even after the Revolutions radicalization in the 1960s, the UPCUSA did not openly express its disapproval of the Cuban government. While the available documentation does not indicate any negative reaction from the Presbyterians in the United St ates to the Revolution, the mere fact that Presbyterian leaders, both North American visitors and Cubans alike, had to reaffirm time and time again the positive influence of the revolutionary reforms suggests that some in the UPCUSA watched the transformat ion of Cuba with a certain degree of unease. The middleclass sectors of the church also served as an important source of support for the Revolution. Former students of La Progresiva in Crdenas, the churchs largest day school, published an open let ter to North American Protestants in October 1959 assuring their counterparts that the Revolution was Cuban, democratic, and Christian. They cited an increase in school enrollment, efforts to achieve economic stability, and the governments attempt to eliminate vices as the reasons why Protestants should support the revolutionary cause. Ultimately, they believed it was
32 their Christian duty to support the revolutionary government.15 That sense of Christian duty led Presbyterians to cooperate with the gov ernments literacy campaign.16 In essence, they saw themselves not as active participants in the revolutionary process but as enlightened partners of the Revolution. Throughout the first months of 1960, Heraldo Cristiano continued to publish the accompli shments of the Revolution and Presbyterian pastors, such as the Rev. Lenier Gallardo, publically affirmed their support for the government and expressed their enthusiasm and optimism for the future of Cuba.17 Given that a key component of the Revolution was the uplift of the poor, especially ending the neglect to which the pre 1959 state had reduced the rural peasantry, one must question whether the Revolution represented an ally or a rival for the Presbyterian Church. The revolutionary government had now embraced much of the social work Presbyterians had done in rural Cuba before 1959. Throughout the first two years of the new government, Presbyterians remained excited about the possibility of collaboration with the state, but failed to realize that the s tates new role would ultimately displace them from their pre1959 duties. Presbyterians early response to the Revolution is not difficult to understand. Their theology had deep roots in the Social Gospel movement of early twentiethcentury North American Protestantism. This movement applied Christian ethics to social problems, especially issues of social justice such as excessive wealth, poverty, alcoholism, crime, racial tensions, slums, bad hygiene, child labor, inadequate labor unions, poor schools, and the danger of war. Theologically, the Social Gospel sought to 15 Carta a los evanglic os de los EEUU, Heraldo Cristiano Jan. 1960. 16 PHS: 303.1 2 7: CCIE: Literacy Program. 17 Heraldo Cristiano, Jan. 1960.
33 operationalize the Lords Prayer: Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.18 They typically were post millennialist; that is, they believed the Second Coming could n ot happen until humankind rid itself of social evils by human effort. Social Gospel leaders were predominantly associated with the liberal wing of the Progressive Movement and most were theologically liberal.19 Presbyterian mission and identity in Cuba for decades had been based on a broad consensus of promoting social justice. The corruption and instability of the 1940s and the dictatorship since 1952 represented an obstacle in the Presbyterians mission in Cuba. Well before the revolutionary government embarked on a literacy campaign, Presbyterians had actively sought since the early 1950s to establish their own literacy program across rural Cuba.20 As a small denomination with a relatively limited institutional presence, the church was unable to have the far reaching effects that government led education reforms had following the Revolution. In essence, the revolutionary government was embracing a mission Presbyterians had begun in earlier decades. It is also important to emphasize that the urban middle class, a demographic that was overrepresented in the Presbyterian clergy and laity, initially benefited from the revolutionary reforms.21 It is therefore not surprising that this demographic, especially given the power of the laity in the Presbyterian Church, would heavily influence the 18 Cecelia Tichi, Civil Passions: Seven Who Launched Progressive America (and What They Teach Us 221. 19 White, Ronald C., Jr. Liberty and Justice for All: Racial Reform and the Social Gospel (18771925) 20 Leer, Vivir, Servir, Heraldo Cristiano, Oct. 1953 21 Guerra, Visions of Power 37 74.
34 reaction of the church to the Revolutions initially moderate reforms. These middleclass individuals, educated and idealistic in their outlook for Cubas future, saw the Revolution as an opportunity, both for their church and their country. According to John Kirk, in contrast to the Catholic Church, the Protestant churches supported the revolutionary governments reform programs as both necessary and long overdue.22 While some critical voices within the Presbyterian co mmunity existed in this early period, these voices seem to have been largely overshadowed by expressions of support for the Revolution. It is also the case that Presbyterians, as a minority denomination on the island, faced a much more complicated environment and their options for dissent were limited. Unlike the Catholic Church, whose international organization was able to provide a sense of security, Cuban Presbyterians bonds to the United States increasingly jeopardized their role in Cuban society, rather than strengthen their position. In this situation, dissenting voices sought to retreat into the private sphere and avoided making public condemnations of the revolutionary program. Life A s Usual In spite of the rapid transformations taking place in Cuba, Presbyterians continued to run their denominational activities with little sense of the changing environment. In essence, it was back to life as usual, and the church failed to understand the magnitude of the historical moment they were witnessing. The January 1959 meeting of the Presbytery of Cuba occurred in a climate of excitement, hope, and euphoria given the recent end of the Batista dictatorship. The governing church leadership selected a new executive board, with the Rev. Francisco Norniella as 22 John Kirk, Between God and the Party: Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Cuba (Tampa : University of South Florida Press, 1989), 80.
35 moderator and the Rev. Rafael Cepeda as vice moderator. Meanwhile, the presbytery approved the Rev. Sergio Arces request to study for his doctorate in theology at the Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey.23 While Presbyterian work in Cuba cha nged in some aspects in response to the Revolution, in most areas they initially continued to function without interruption. In Oriente Province, the Board of National Missions (BNM) set up programs to aid those who suffered through the most violent perio d of the rebellion. Volunteers gave two to four months of their time to administer two camps for children where teachers conducted classes. La Progresiva camp opened on June 9, 1959 with one hundred and twenty children. The southern camp at El Caney began operation on July 2. In addition to education, the children received clothing and personal necessities, from toothbrushes to bathing suits, and a balanced diet.24 The Presbyterian Church also carried on medical work through clinics at Crdenas, Encrucijada, Sancti Spritus, and Cabaigun.25 The church expanded and updated their facilities at La Progresiva in Crdenas with the construction of a new administration building, a building for the commercial school, and a second floor for the science laboratories at the same time. These renovations were made possible by the funding of the women of the UPCUSA through their 1958 Opportunity Giving fundraiser. The church also shepherded an evangelistic campaign directed by thirty eight North American pastors, w hich climaxed with three 23 Heraldo Cristiano, Mar. 1959. 24 Mary Furleigh, Extending a Helping Hand in Cuba, Presbyterian Life, Oct. 1959. 25 PHS: 303.1 2 3, status of the Presbyterian Church in Cuba, Oct. 15, 1959.
36 rallies in three different provinces in 1959.26 Such public displays of religious fervor parallel the revolutionary governments use of mass rallies throughout 1959. Lillian Guerra has argued that these political rallies served the revolutionary governments goals by fostering fidelismo or devotion to Fidel, as the new state religion.27 Meanwhile, t he church also completed a twostory educational unit, a Chinese church, a manse28 and two additional stories for church activities at the Salud Street Church in Havana. In Varadero, Cubas most well known tourist destination, the church was launching Opportunity Unlimited, a bilingual ministry to serve Cuban and American tourists. Meanwhile, the church was preparing to expand its wor k by ministering to students at the new university in Santa Clara.29 Presbyterians emphasized their Cubanidad because they had little need for North American missionaries by the 1950s. They proudly highlighted that their clergy was entirely Cuban, in contrast to the Catholic Church which largely relied on Spanishborn priests or other Protestant denominations whose clergy and/or membership remained heavily dependent on foreigners, such as the Methodists and Episcopalians. Such emphasis on their national character is evident in the churchs communication with the UPCUSAs Board of National Missions 26 PHS: 303.1 2 9, letter from Dr. Emilio Rodrguez Busto to the Board of National Missions, Dec. 1959. 27 Guerra, Visions of Power in Cuba 37 74. 28 A manse is a house inhabited by, or formerly inhabited by, a minister, usually used in the context of a Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, United Church and other traditions. The implication is that the minister has been called by God and will remain until he/she is called elsewhere. 29 PHS: 303.1 2 3, status of the Presbyterian Church in Cuba, Oct. 15, 1959.
37 The most outstanding feature of Presbyterian work in Cuba is that the leadership is national. Every pastor, the superintendent Rev. Francisco Garcia, the Re ctor of the Union Theological Seminary at Matanzas Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez Hidalgo, and the Director of our schools Dr. Emilio Rodriguez Busto, are Cubans.30 In spite of their national leadership, the Presbyterian experience in Cuba remained deeply connected to the United States, both ideologically and financially. While the ideological bonds between Cuban and North American Presbyterians remained unchallenged, calls for greater financial autonomy had emerged by 1959. The following year, Presbyterians established a plan to move closer to financial independence from the Board of National Missions of the UPCUSA. The Five Year Plan, approved in January 1960 sought to (1) double the church membership in five years, (2) extend and consolidate their work in principal cities and rural areas, (3) increase the education and utilization of the laity, (4) emphasize Christian stewardship in an effort to raise $125,000 in addition to regular contributions, and (5) expand missionary education by awakening an interest in missionary work in the rest of Latin America. With this ambitious program Presbyterians sought to expand their work into Pinar del Rio and Oriente and the program would cost $250,000, half of which would come from the UPCUSAs Board of National Missio ns. The Five Year Plan, rather than contribute to the financial independence of the Presbyterian Church in Cuba, tied the denomination even more tightly to their North American financial supporters. It represented a commitment from the BNM to fund half of the plans budget for the following five years. This financial commitment was also an additional source of support for the Cuban church, as the BNM already provided funds 30 lbid.
38 for much of the churchs construction projects and programs on the island and subsi dized a portion of the church workers and pastors contributions to the PCUSAs pension fund. Their optimism cannot be overemphasized and their lack of foresight seems to indicate they expected relations with their North American brethren to continue uninterrupted and suffer limited change. What is even more significant is that while they embraced the nationalistic and patriotic discourse of the revolutionary cause, they continued to deepen their financial dependence on the United States. Not only did th e Presbyterian Church in Cuba depend on North American funds for survival, but also the church itself was an organic part of the UPCUSA, as a presbytery of the New Jersey Synod. Presbyterians in the Revolutionary Government The positive attitude of many Presbyterian leaders towards the revolutionary government in early 1959 was also the result, in part, of the number of Protestants who were given government positions.31 Dr. Emilio Rodrguez Busto, Presbyterian elder and Superintendent of Presbyterian Sc hools in Cuba boldly claimed, Never before have there been so many Protestant leaders in high positions in our country.32 The Rev. Ral Fernndez Ceballos was perhaps the most visible and highranking Protestant leader in the revolutionary government. F ernndez Ceballos, executive secretary of the CCIE, was appointed to work with the Ministry of Education and became head of the governments National Literacy Commission in early 1959. He used his position to 31 C orse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 15. 32 PHS: 303.1 2 11
39 continue the literacy work he had already been doing under the auspices of the CCIE. For many, this served as an example of the Revolution expanding on a Protestant project.33 In February 1959, the Ministry for the Recovery of Misappropriated Assets was created. And Faustino Prez, a doctor and memb er of First Presbyterian Church in Havana, was selected to serve as head of this ministry in the cabinet of provisional president Manuel Urruta Lle.34 Numerous Protestants held secondary positions in government ministries, and many workers in the new gov ernment, while not necessarily Protestants, where graduates of Protestant schools.35 Blanca Ojeda, Principal of the Presbyterian Primary School in Crdenas, served as part of a three member committee that exercised the duties of the city mayor. In Encruci jada, Mara Teresa Alfonso, principal of the Presbyterian Day School, served as acting mayor.36 The presence of Protestants in important levels of government was not unprecedented in Cuba. After all, Cubas first president, Toms Estrada Palma was a Quaker convert. However, the visibility of these Presbyterian leaders in the revolutionary government reaffirmed the churchs commitment to the Revolution and provided support to the idea that the Revolution would accomplish the social reforms Presbyterians had advocated for decades. The appointment of individuals such as Fernndez Ceballos served to strengthen the messianic and Christian interpretation of the Revolution, a common view among Protestants. They saw the social and economic 33 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 15. 34 Anne S. Freeman, Cuban Cleric Defends Castro Executions, Says They Stave off Mob Vengeance, The Evening Bulletin, Feb. 9, 1959. 35 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 15. 36 PHS: 303.1 2 7, Lois Kroehler, Cuba at the Crossroads, Presbyterian Life, 1959.
40 reforms as an affirmati on of Christian social teaching and the new political landscape as an opportunity to further expand of their evangelical and missionary work. On the one hand, the churchs identification with the Revolution responded to common goals of social justice. How ever, the view that the Revolution, and especially Fidel Castro, represented a messianic figure for the Cuban people highlights a greater trend in Cuban history. Messianic figures have been consistently present in the Cuban imagination. The most signific ant is Jos Mart, leader of Cubas independence movement in the late nineteenth century. His legacy has been mythicized and almost unanimously appropriated by Cubans. Fidel Castr o and the Cuban Revolution are the mid twentieth century manifestations of a persistent messianic tradition in Cuba. This ideology is evident within the Presbyterian experience. In early 1959, the Rev. Rafael Cepeda claimed in Heraldo Cristiano that Castro was the instrument of the Kingdom of God on Earth.37 Statements like t hese were further validated by Castros own assertions throughout 1959 and 1960, where he compares the Revolution and himself to the Gospel in an effort to garner support from the religious community.38 Guerras argument is that fidelismo became a popular, national religion. This may have represented one of the factors that pushed Presbyterians to take an accommodationist role. The Catholics, by comparison, were seen by the state as worms and the Church, especially lay people, responded by trying to compete.39 The role of Protestant leaders in government also served to distance the Presbyterians progressive message from the more confrontational attitude of some 37 PHS: 301.7 24 23, excerpt of Mario Llerenas article in Bohemia, Oct. 15, 1961. 38 Gue rra, Visions of Pow er in Cub a 147 148. 39 Ibid 135 169.
41 members of the Catholic hierarchy. For Catholics, the execution of an estimated four hundred war criminals by the end of January 1959 represented an area of concern. In a January 29 pastoral letter, Archbishop Enrique Prez Serantes of Santiago pleaded for clemency toward the prisoners but understood why the executions had been decreed.40 The fir st major confrontation between the Catholic Church and the revolutionary government occurred in February, when Catholic bishops responded to Law II. This law invalidated courses and degrees granted by all private colleges, including Villanueva, Havanas C atholic university, after November 30, 1956, when Batista had closed the public universities in retaliation for their opposition to his government.41 The Catholic Bishops went on to warn against the perceived Communist threat and to make a fine contrast between the Free World and those countries under Soviet control.42 Furthermore, the Agrarian Reform Law of May 1959 met strong opposition from the Catholic hierarchy. Even early supporters within the episcopate turned against the reforms by the end of 1959.43 These events further reinforced and confirmed Presbyterian assumptions regarding the impact of Catholicism on Cuban society. It furthermore highlighted Protestants modernizing role, a vision that had become crucial to their identity in Cuba. Ho wever, the governments adoption of key Presbyterian social programs ultimately marginalized the church from Cuban society. As the Cuban state expanded its healthcare and education services into rural and previously marginalized areas, the 40 Kirk, Between God and the Party 67. 41 Ibid 69. 42 Ibid 70. 43 Ibid 71 74.
42 niche occupied by Presbyterians in aid and relief to the poor gradually disappeared. By the third year of the Revolution, Presbyterians role and influence had contracted and became increasingly focused on evangelism rather than relief and education. Executions, the U.S Media, and the Presbyterian Reaction Within days of the Revolutions triumph, hundreds of Batistaera agents, policemen and soldiers were put on public trial for human rights abuses, war crimes, murder and torture. Most of the people accused were convict ed by revolutionary tribunals of political crimes, and were executed by firing squad. Others received long sentences of imprisonment. Presbyterians not only actively and publically supported the revolutionary reforms, but also sought to justify the more controversial actions of the new regime. As news of the executions reached the United States, the U.S. government and the U.S. medias portrayal of the Revolution turned increasingly critical.44 Presbyterian leaders in Cuba and missionaries alike sought t o improve the image of the revolutionary government and to provide a justification for the perceived abuses of the Revolution. As Christians it is painful to us that this has to be done, affirmed Rodrguez Busto, but we realize that if the Revolution does not carry out justice, these criminals will be caught and killed by the mobs which are not motivated by the ideals of our Lord Jesus Christ. The execution of these criminals is a lesser of two evils.45 In this same written address to the United States, Rodriguez Busto sought to neutralize the U.S. medias negative portrayal of the executions while criticizing the U.S. governments reaction to the new Cuban government. 44 Prez Stable, The Cuban Revolution, 71. 45 PHS: 303.1 2 11
43 Meanwhile, the Rev. Cecilio Arrasta, evangelism secretary for the Presbytery of C uba and for the Committee on Presbyterian Cooperation in Latin America (CCPAL), expressed the same sentiment while visiting New Jersey in February 1959. It is sad to think of persons being killed, argued Arrasta, but it is a lesser evil than the viol ence of 1933 [Cubas previous revolution]. And those who are now being executed are responsible for the deaths of many.46 Another visiting pastor and high ranking cleric, the Rev. Francisco Garca Serpa, superintendent of the Presbyterian Church in Cuba, while visiting New Jersey in early 1959 cautioned, Dont be misled by reports you have heard. There is no blood bath in Cuba. What blood is shed is a trickle of blood, from proven war criminals who are guilty of every crime you can think of against the people of Cuba during the past seven years.47 The negative reaction towards the U.S. media was also evident among North American Presbyterians working in Cuba. Lois Kroehler, Presbyterian teacher at La Progresiva, strongly condemned the medias portrayal of the Revolution, and like many middle class Cuban supporters, compared the Cuban rebels to the patriots of the American Revolution.48 She also justified the trials and executions against former Batistianos claiming, The trials (resulting in executions in some cases) are justice, not vengeance. Justice is painful but necessary.49 The Rev. Dr. Milton LeRoy, professor of pastoral counseling at the Evangelical Theological Seminary (SET) in Matanzas also 46 Anne S. Freeman, Cuban Cleric Defends Castro Executions, Says They Stave off Mob Vengeance, The Evening Bulletin, Feb. 9, 1959. 47 Ibid 48 Lillian Guerra, Visions of Power 75 134. 49 PHS: 303.1 2 11
44 voiced his criticisms of the North American media and U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba and affirmed, Cuba needed a revolution.50 The reaction of these Presbyterian leaders to the executions represents an endorsement of one of the most controversial aspects of the early revolutionary period for the U.S. pub lic and the U.S. government While certainly many war criminals who faced execution in Cuba would have found a similar fate under United States law, the quick nature of the trials raised questions about their legality. Specifically, dissenters worried that the revolutionary government was not exercising proper judicial procedure and that individuals were being executed simply for sympathizing with the former regime. Instead of advocating for a more transparent judicial process or condemning the use of the death penalty, Cuban Presbyterians endorsed the Revolutions actions as a necessary evil. The only Protestant group to speak out against the executions was the Quakers. In midFebruary 1959, Cuban and U.S. Quaker representatives met with Prime Minister Mir Cardona. Emphasizing both their own relief efforts and the Quakers history of humanitarian work, they argued on principle that the executions should be suspended and that to do so would be to the governments advantage.51 In light of this, it becom es increasingly difficult to understand how Cuban Presbyterians reconciled their Christian vision of the Revolution with the executions taking place during this early revolutionary period. Meanwhile, Presbyterians condemnation of North American reactions to the Revolution represent a further evolution in their national missionary project, but does not 50 lbid 51 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 37.
45 imply a change in their U.S. derived identity. Presbyterians were certainly critical of the United States response to the Cuban government and highlighted the hypocrisy in U.S. foreign policy. They cited the U.S. governments active support of the Batista dictatorship and yet their refusal to support the necessary reforms of the Revolution. In some aspects, Presbyterians felt betrayed by a country from which they derived much of their ideology. They reconciled the contradiction between their U.S. based values and their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy by suggesting that the United States had failed to live up to its founding principles. In effect, Presbyterians felt they were better advocates for the founding principles of the United States than the U.S. government itself. Anti Communism Presbyterians also continued to affirm throughout 1959 and early 1960 the nonCommunist character of the Revolut ion. They dismissed the idea that Communists were dominant in the revolutionary government, claiming instead that there were very few Communist leaders in important positions and that Cuba was not experiencing a Communist inspired revolution.52 As evi dence, they pointed to the lack of Communist penetration in the labor unions, comparing this situation favorably to Western Europe, where Communists were an important faction in the labor movement. They affirmed Cubas place among Western democratic nations and claimed Cuba would support the United States in a possible confrontation with Communism.53 Even the Rev. Dr. Ansley G. Van Dyke dismissed the possibility of Cuba becoming Communist after his trip to 52 lbid 53 lbid
46 Oriente in the summer of 1959. Instead, he highli ghted the lack of Communist ideology among the rural peasantry, a sector of the population he believed would be most susceptible to that ideology.54 However, the increasing tensions between the United States and Cuba by the end of 1959 and the suddenly and largely inexplicable rise in the number of Communists within the new government began to undermine and challenge the non Communist interpretations of the revolutionary movement.55 While still affirming the democratic and nonMarxist character of the Revolution, the Rev. Dr. Arthur L. Miller, moderator of the PCUSA, following his visit to Cuba in November 1959 warned that Cuba could be pushed toward Communism if the United States did not aid the Cuban government.56 Discussions regarding Communism, Marxism, and the future of the Revolution took center stage in Heraldo Cristiano throughout early 1960. The Rev. Rafael Cepeda, vicemoderator of the Presbytery of Cuba, publically condemned Marxism because of its atheist ideology but acknowledged its positive social goals. He argued, Marxist doctrine has created nothing new; it has merely appropriate to itself the social ideals of the Gospel.57 Presbyterians such Cepeda emphasized the JudeoChristian origins of Marxist ideology. They asserted that Marxs vision was directly related to his cultural JudeoChristian environment and that his economic and political model simply sought to implement the social principles of Christianity. Yet, they argued that Marx mistakenly 54 Heraldo Cristiano, Aug. 1959. 55 Lillian Guerra, Visions of Power in Cuba 107 169. 56 PHS: 303.1 2 11. 57 Rafael Cepeda, Aclaracin preliminary sobre el comunismo, Herald o Cristiano, Apr. 1960.
47 sought to eliminate God from his work and by rejecting religion had made his ideology incompatible with Christianity. The middleclass character of their church partly explains Presbyterians rejection of Marxism, in addition to the values they had inherited from their North American missionaries in the first half of the twentieth century. Presbyterians did not become anti Communist during the Revolution; their identity and theology was based on North American and Protestant notions of individualism. In contrast to their Catholic counterparts w ho emphasize the importance of church tradition, the authority of the magisterium in interpreting scripture, and innately communitarian rituals such as communion and confession, Protestants place greater weight on the individual. It is not through the Church, through sacraments, or through submission to any earthly authority that Protestants believe salvation is achieved; instead it is through faith alone that Protestants claim a person is justified.58 Furthermore, Protestantism emphasizes the individual s ability to privately inte rpret scripture without the mediation of the Church. This individualism is not limited to the religious environment, but permeates all aspects of Protestant culture. Yet despite these apparent contradictions between Marxism and Protestantism, the accommodationist faction of the Presbyterian Church would gradually seek to maintain not only a peaceful coexistence with the revolutionary government but even embrace and support much of its program in the mid and late 1960s. Separation of Church and State The relationship between the church and the state represented another issue that brought Protestants into the revolutionary fold, while alienating the Roman Catholic 58 Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian Man in Hans Hillerbrand, ed. The Protestant Reformation (New York: Harper, 1968), 153 172.
48 Church. In February 1959, Archbishop Prez Serantes of Santiago claimed that parents wanted religious education in public schools.59 As the dominant faith in Cuba, Roman Catholicism would certainly become the Christian tradition taught in the public school system if the reform had been adopted. In response to this per ceived attack on religious liberty and separation of church and state, Protestants vocally opposed any measure to incorporate religious education in public schools or Cuban institutions. In a January 1959 address to fellow Protestants in Heraldo Cristiano Dr. Leonardo Tulio Marmol demanded freedom of religion and secularism in education and the state.60 In response to Protestant concerns over the separation of church and state, Fidel Castro declared I am a supporter and it is a fundamental principle of the Revolution, maintaining and applying the constitutional guarantee in the absolute separation of Church and State. When asked about the issue of religious instruction in the formation of our youths character, I answered it was a good idea, but I support maintaining the religious freedom in our Patria (fatherland) according to what is established in the 1940 Constitution and Article 55, which states that state education is secular.61 Meanwhile, Dr. Armando Hart, Minister of Education, offered his opinion on the issue Public education must be secular; there are no doubts about that. Religious education is good (for churches and homes) but in public schools education must be secular. We must teach the People to offer their devotion to the memory of the leading figures of the war of independence, to the manigua redentora.62 59 Kirk, Between God and the Party 6889. 60 Dr. Leonardo Tulio Marmol, Alerta, Evanglicos!, in Heraldo Cristiano Jan. 1959. 61 Declaraciones responsables sobre el laicismo del estado y la escuela publica cubana, Heraldo Cristiano, Jan. 1959. (Originally published in Revolucin, Jan. 16, 1959) 62Ibid
49 A few weeks into the Revolution, the Representative Committee of Evangelical Churches (CRIE) established themselves clearly on the side of religious liberty and the separation of church and state, urging the President, the Council of Ministers, the rebel army, and the people of Cuba to support secularism.63 It would be nave, however, to conclude that such public statements and gestures in favor of secularism represented a rejection of religious instruction in schools or religious influence in the public sphere. Rather, such attitudes were a reflection of the fervent anti Catholicism that characterized much of Protestantism, and the Presbyterian Churc h in particular. Presbyterians viewed Catholicism as a negative influence in Cuban society, its hierarchical and rigid structure was viewed as undemocratic and authoritarian and its presence in Cuban society seen as a relic of a tyrannical and underdeveloped past. Had Protestantism had a stronger influence in Cuba at the time, especially if they represented the dominant faith among the Cuban people, it is uncertain if Protestants would have so fervently opposed religious instruction in schools. Rather it is more accurate to state that Protestants opposed Catholic instruction in schools, rather than all religious instruction. In an interview with Dr. Emilio Rodrguez Busto on May 6, 1960, Fidel Castro praised the social and humanitarian work of the Presbyt erian Church in Cuba and offered his full support behind its mission. He further promised that the Revolution would never interfere with the church I am very much satisfied and impressed with the work of the Presbyterian Church has been doing in Cuba. You know how to put a heart into people. The work you do is disinterested, generous, and humble; and that is what 63 Al ciudadano president de la repblica, al honorable consejo de ministros, a los soldados de la libertad, al pueblo de Cuba, Heraldo Cristiano Jan. 1959.
50 we need in Cuba. We will never interfere with the work of any religion, but it would be a great satisfaction for me to see the Evangelical wor k grow. You put into practice the teachings of Christ as found in the Gospels. When Dr. Vallejo (head of INRA in Oriente) called me from Oriente to tell me that the Presbyterians wanted two caballeras of land, I said, No, if these folks ask for two, we must give them five, because we must give work like yours opportunity, help facilities, and if anyone does not treat you right, you come and let me know.64 Fidel Castro also asked Rodriguez Busto for a list of graduating seniors at La Progresiva who did not have financial resources to continue their studies. He said, We want to help these students who have the heart and sensibility you put into them and we will give them the technical training to prepare them to help build the Cuba we want. The timing of this interview is particularly interesting, as it occurred at a time when relations between the revolutionary state and the Protestant churches began to deteriorate. Less than one year later, La Progresiva and all Presbyterian schools in Cuba were nati onalized. While the Presbyterian Church did experience some difficulties in their relations with the Cuban state in the first two years of the Revolution, and some pastors and lay members became increasingly concerned about the leftward tilt of the Revolution, they by no means experienced the rapid disintegration of churchstate relations suffered by the Catholic Church, nor did they position themselves as a de facto opposition party, as the Catholic hierarchy did.65 The non religious character of the Revolution was affirmed early, yet Presbyterians would maintain their conviction in the common goals they shared with the revolutionary process well into the 1960s. 64 PHS: 301.7 24 27, excerpt of Dr. Emilio Rodriguez Bustos interview with Fidel Castro, May 6, 1960. 65 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 26.
51 Ultimately, the discussion over the countrys separation of church and state seems to represent an anachronism, rather than a serious political discussion. Cuban secularism had been established since the 1901 Constitution when Catholicism was disestablished as the official faith and the principles of separation of church and state were further aff irmed in the 1940 Constitution. Furthermore, Cuban society in the 1950s was among the most secular in Latin America. Catholic attempts to establish religious instruction in public schools would not have advanced, even in the absence of Protestant opposit ion. Conclusion Despite the rapid political and economic changes of the first two years of the Revolution and the equally rapid decline in U.S. Cuba relations, the Presbyterian Church in Cuba anticipated little fundamental change in their identit y, their role in Cuban society, or their relationship with the United States. Their work in rural and eastern Cuba represented an extension of their tradi tional self image as promoters of social justice within Cuban society. Most Presbyterian leaders at this point saw the changes around them as opportunities for growth and not as demands for radical change. This is not surprising, for it is likely few people in Cuba understood how fundamentally different the Revolution was from previous political changes on the island and how much they would need to change in the coming years. In an increasingly radical environment, Cuban Presbyterians made plans to expand their role in Cuban society and modestly expanded their efforts at social work, but largely continued with the same structures, visions for the future, and connection to the United States. They continued to rely on a North Americanderived church model that was incompatible with the economic realities of Cuba and would become
52 increasingly difficult to maintain as the revolution radicalized. Presbyterians saw themselves as the vanguard of progress and the Revolution as the vehicle through which their program would be implemented. And furthermore, they sought to maintain and strengthen their ideological and financial links to the United States despite the radical changes taking place in U.S. Cuban relations. More significant change would come about only as a result of the total collapse of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.
53 C HAPTER 3 RADICALIZATION AND ACCOMMODATION The period of optimism and euphoria that followed the Cuban Revolution gradually gave way to increasing tension by mid1960. While the relationship between the Catholic Church and the revolutionary state quickly deteriorated, Cuban Protestants overwhelmingly maintained friendly relations with the new government.1 After January 1960, service in voluntary militias became a major point of conflict since society and the state were promoting militia participation as a primary marker of political loyalty and authentic revolutionary culture. Pacifist groups such as the Mennonites, the Brethren in Christ, and Conservative Baptists had already experienced some difficulties as the nationalist ideology of the revolutionary g overnment conflicted with their theology of nonengagement with the state.2 Nevertheless, the majority of Protestants continued to lend their support to the Revolution well into 1960. In spite of this initial honeymoon, the increasing hostility between t he U.S. government and the revolutionary state would inevitably place Protestant denominations, including the Presbyterian Church, at odds with the Revolution. As long standing champions of modernization, Cuban Presbyterians faced a challenging predicament: Cuba was now governed by a new political elite also strongly devoted to social justice but under a radically different framework, one that challenged the United States. The year 1960 saw a gradual but steady deterioration of U.S. Cuban relations. I n February, Anastas I. Mikoyan, an old Bolshevik and Nikita Khrushchev ally, visited Havana to inaugurate a Soviet trade exhibition. The Soviet Union agreed to purchase 1 Kirk, Between God and the Party 6590. 2 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 41.
54 one million tons of sugar annually for five years and extended $100 million in credits to purchase industrial equipment.3 Subsequently, the explosion of the French freighter La Coubre, loaded with arms for the new government, on March 4, 1960 represented as much a turning point for the ideological direction of the Revolution as it did for Cuban Protestants.4 The Castro government blamed the explosion on the United States. In a speech memorial izing the victims, Castro discarded libertad o muerte as the revolutions rallying cry and proclaimed the more radical summons of patria o muerte (ho meland or death). The following months were punctuated by a series of back andforth verbal attacks between the United States and Castro. These attacks culminated in a historic standoff in the summer of 1960. In June, when Texaco, Shell, and Standard O il Companies refused to refine Soviet crude petroleum, the government confiscated their holdings. In August, after the United States eliminated Cubas sugar quota, U.S. properties were nationalized. The following month, the United States prompted the Org anization of American States to reprimand the Cuban government. In response, the revolutionary government reached out to new allies in the Eastern Bloc. As ties with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe expanded, so did the Communist influence within the Revolution. This influence came from the prerevolutionary Communist Party, the Partido Socialista Popular (PSP). Before departing from office in January 1961, Dwight Eisenhower severed diplomatic relations with Cuba. The following April, his successor, John F. Kennedy, dispatched Brigade 2506, an invasion force of 1,300 Cuban exiles, to overthrow the revolutionary 3 Prez Stable, The Cuban Revolution, 81. 4 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 41.
55 government. Meanwhile, on April 16, Castro officially declared the socialist character of the Revolution.5 It is within this context of poli tical confrontation between the United States and the Cuban government that Presbyterians sought to define themselves during 1960 and early 1961. On March 26, representatives of several denominations met in Santa Clara under the auspices of the Representative Committee of the Protestant Churches in Cuba. Alfonso Rodrguez Hidalgo, rector of the seminary in Matanzas and prominent Presbyterian, chaired the meeting. It addressed three main themes: Christianity and Marxism, the Protestant Church in the new C uba, and effective coordination of the Protestant denominations. Some 250 people, both lay and ordained, attended the Santa Clara meeting. It represented almost the full spectrum of Cuban Protestantism, including both highly dedicated supporters of the Revolution, such as the Rev. Ral Fernndez Ceballos, and moderates and conservatives, such as Rodrguez Hidalgo.6 The resulting declaration of shared principles featured the following conclusions: 1. Cuba is now under a Revolution Only God knows how long t his Revolution will last. 2. This is a real Revolution, during which the whole social, economic, and political life of the Country will be transformed. 3. This is a young peoples Revolution. 4. This is not a Communist Revolution or a Revolution inspired by Communists. However, we are conscious of the fact that the Communists are trying to take advantage of the Revolution. They are chiefly responsible for most shortcomings of the Revolutionary Government. 5. This Revolution will affect, in negative or positive ways, the life of other Latin American countries, at least in the Caribbean area. 5 Prez Stable, The Cuban Revolution, 81 82 6 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 4344.
56 6. Cuba is today an ideological battleground between the forces of the left and the right. In between lies the tender plant of democracy, mainly watered and nurtured by the Protestant churches. 7. The Protestant churches in Cuba are very close to the masses. Most of our people have come from the working class As a result many of them now belong to a new middle class, which is so vital and essential to democracy. 8. Our conviction is t hat the hand of God is behind the Cuban Revolution, guiding our people and preparing the way for political freedom and social justice as well as for the progress of the Gospel of the crucified and risen Lord. 9. For Protestant churches, the Cuban Revolution offers both a great opportunity and a great challenge.7 The meetings conclusions indicate that Cuban Protestants were eager to distinguish themselves as the voice of moderation. The conclusions also highlight Protestants self image as defenders of democracy and good governance. Protestants became a self appointed vanguard within the Revolution. They supported the Revolution, albeit on the premise that it was not Communist, and it is clear that Protestants expected to play an important role in Cuba. T his cha pter shows how impossible such a goal and identity were to achieve in a context of rapid, unexpected political radicalization Cuban Protestants wanted to be part of Cubas modernization but the specter of Communism severely frightened them. Pr agmatism became the path to survival for churches whose identities were deeply tied to the United States and whose work in Cuba remained heavily dependent on North American financial support. Without an international organization to support them, like the Catholic Church, Cuban Protestants faced a delicate situation. Open criticism of the Revolution could put their survival in jeopardy, but embracing the revolutionary changes could alienate their North American sponsors and middleclass 7 PHS: 301.7 23 15 Santa Clara Meeting; Corse, 45.
57 congregants as the Revolution radicalized in the early 1960s. Instead, some denominations adopted a bunker mentality, secluding themselves from public life. Presbyterians experienced greater internal conflict from opposing factions. Supporters of the Revolution, such as Fernndez Ceballos, the Rev. Rafael Cepeda, and Dr. Emilio Rodrguez Busto, sought to embrace the social, economic and political reforms of the Revolution, while condemning the atheist ideology so intrinsic to Marxism. More radical supporters of the new g overnment, such as the Rev. Sergio Arce, articulated an ideological position within the church that sought to embrace both Marxism and Christianity. On the other hand, moderates and conservatives retreated away from the public sphere and only voiced their criticism of the Revolution or the church after departing the island. The mid1960s witnessed a steady flow of Presbyterian pastors into exile. By January 1967, when Presbyterians established an independent national church, the remaining dissenters chos e to leave the island rather than join the new ecclesiastical organization. This chapter examines the effects of revolutionary radicalization on Cuban Presbyterians. By analyzing the public discourse between divergent factions of the church during the ear ly and mid 1960s, this chapter seeks to highlight the increasing tensions between those who publically supported the Revolution and its most vocal detractors. Here one must keep in mind the problem of certain voices being overrepresented in publications and public forums, while less audible ones are more important than they appear. The political realities of Cuba as the Revolution radicalized meant that those Presbyterians who readily supported the regime were most likely to see their work published and disseminated, while voices of dissent were gradually
58 silenced within Cuba. Furthermore, in examining the nationalization of Presbyterian schools in May of 1961 and the subsequent reaction of Presbyterians in Cuba and the United States, one can observe the degree to which Cubas new political realities had become counterproductive for Presbyterian work on the island. The response of Cuban Presbyterians to the nationalization exposed their predicament: on the one hand, reassuring their North American sponsors that Presbyterian work would continue in Cuba without interruption in spite of the increasing evidence to the contrary and, on the other, accommodating to the radical changes of the revolutionary state in light of the denominations deep ties to the Uni ted States. In response to the Revolutions shift to the left, Presbyterian leaders were forced to reexamine their denomination s identity. Seeking to engage the Revolution throughout the 1960s, influential voices within the church made their sympathy for the Revolution publicly known. Increasing Tensions On September 12, 1960 Christianity Today published an article titled Castro Allegiance Divides Cuban Christians, written by Adon Taft, religious editor of The Miami Herald In his article, Taft claims that the Rev. Rafael Cepeda and other Presbyterian leaders had met with Fidel Castro for the purpose of creating a national Protestant church and that the Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church aborted the plan as a result of the thr eat of cutting off its aid to the Presbyterian Church in Cuba.8 Tafts affirmations reflect the general tone of the North American media against the Cuban Revolution. The U.S. medias portrayal of the new revolutionary 8 PHS: 301.7 24 7, Rafael Cepedas letter to editor of Christianity Today Sept. 26, 1960.
59 government had turned sour the prev ious year following the executions taking place in the name of revolutionary justice.9 By the summer of 1960, the rising tide of negative public opinion overwhelmed the Presbyterians parent denomination in the United States, prompting Cuban Presbyterians to clarify their situation in the new Cuba. In response, Cepeda denied the claims that he had met with Fidel Castro and dismissed the idea that Presbyterians were participating in the creation of a national Protestant Church. Instead, Cepeda affirmed the following: The Board of National Missions of the United Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. (UPCUSA), has never threatened the Presbyterian Church of Cuba in any way, and their attitude has been totally the opposite to that stated by the article in question, for in an understanding and generous way it has underwritten with $25,000 the plans of evangelization and extension of the Presbyterian work in Cuba during the year 1960.10 Cepedas response demonstrates the increased awareness of church and state relations in Revolutionary Cuba. While the governments social, economic and political reforms did impact the Presbyterian Church in the first two years of the Revolution, there is no evidence for direct government intervention in their work until later. Presbyterians initially continued their work uninterrupted; they had adopted an ambitious Five Year Plan to increase membership and stewardship. They also were making plans to extend their missionary work into new parts of the country, and expanding their facilit ies at La Progresiva, their largest day school.11 However, North 9 Cuban Presbyterians response to the U.S. media demonstrates said medias negative reaction during 1959. Lois Kroehler, U.S. missionary and teacher at La Progresiva wrote to the editor in chief of Time Magazine on January 29, 1959 to dispute the magazines assertions about the Cuban Revolution. Others, such as Emilio Rodriguez Busto sought to do the same in other letters to the United States. 10 PHS: 301.7 24 7, Rafael Cepedas letter to editor of Christianity Today Sept. 26, 1960. 11 PHS: 303.1 2 3, status of the Presbyterian Chur ch in Cuba, Oct. 15, 1959 and PHS 303.12 9, letter from Dr. Emilio Rodriguez Busto to the Board of National Missions, Dec. 1959.
60 American Presbyterians watched the radicalization of the Revolution over the course of 1960 with increased concern. In the fall of 1960, Church World Service (CWS) began working with Cuban migrs in Miami. Some of these were Presbyterians who had joined the recently inaugurated ministry of the Presbyterian Church to the Spanishspeaking community in that city.12 In the wake of widespread nationalizations of foreign and nativeowned proper ty in the fall of 1960, initial voices of dissent came from abroad. On January 20, 1961 The New York Times published the Rev. Daniel lvarezs open letter to Cuban Protestants. lvarez, pastor of First Spanish Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, had previously worked for the Ministry of Social Welfare of the revolutionary government until his resignation in August 1960. In his fivepoint condemnation of the Cuban government, lvarez claimed it was impossible for Cuban Evangelical [Protestant] Christians to protest their persecution so he was speaking in their name. In response, the Presbytery of Cuba declared that lvarez had not been a member of the presbytery since 1958, that there existed no Cuban Presbyterian pastor who was a refugee, and that the presbytery had not authorized lvarez to make any declarations on their behalf. They further emphasized that no Presbyterian pastor in Cuba had been molested in the exercise of his ministry and reaffirmed that the Presbyterian Church in Cuba continued t o conduct and expand its work without any interference from the state.13 While the official discourse of the church sought to maintain an appearance of normality, the presbyterys meeting in January 1961 reflected a much different situation. 12 PHS: 301.7 24 7, Cuban Refugees 13 PHS: 301.7 24 3, Presbytery of Cuba response to the Rev. Daniel Alvarezs article in The New York Times Jan. 1961.
61 With thirty f our pastors present, the presbytery elected the Rev. Eduardo Hernndez as moderator and the Rev. Victor Valds as vicemoderator for oneyear terms. Cubas new geopolitical situation within the Cold War was now evident as the presbytery received an invitation from the Union of Baptist Evangelical Christians in Moscow to send a delegation to the Christian Conference on Peace to be held in Prague in June. Furthermore, the presbytery approved the Rev. Samuel Osorios resignation to work at First Spanish Pres byterian Church in Miami, indicating that the flow of pastors abroad had begun.14 Previously, in late 1960, the Presbyterian Church in Cuba published an educational pamphlet titled Missionary Education Program for Children where Puerto Rico was described as a slave state. Specifically, the pamphlet stated its purpose was to demonstrate to children the development of a people still in slavery in order for them to feel thankful and blessed to live in a free and sovereign land, as well as to understand t he importance of prayer and cooperation for the liberation of Puerto Rico.15 The churchs sudden interest in contrasting Cuba with the U.S. territory stemmed from Puerto Ricos muchheralded rise from the depths of colonial poverty in recent years, thanks in part to the recrafting of the U.S. colonial pact into a free associated state and foreign investment in industrialization. In response, the Presbytery of Puerto Rico, also under the sponsorship of the BNM, rejected the assertions that Puerto Rico w as a slave state and affirmed that Puerto Rico was a free 14 PHS: 301.7 24 12, Minutes of Presbytery of Cuba Meeting #108, Jan. 24 27, 1961. 15 PHS: 301.7 23 7, Letter from James E. Goff, Colegio Americano (Barranquilla, Colombia) to Maria Josefa Nnez, Director of Christian Education, Pr esbyterian Church of Luyan, Mar. 31, 1961.
62 state, in voluntary association with the people of the United States through a bilateral agreement approved by the overwhelming majority of Puerto Ricans in free and fair elections. Furthermore, they asserted that Puerto Rico was democratically governed, unlike the situation in Cuba and that the Puerto Rican people were free to speak their minds in public without fear of repression by a dictatorship, that Puerto Rico had a free press that did not need to emigrate or silence itself in response to government pressure. They further described the government of Fidel Castro as totalitarian and regretted the intervention of Cuba and its Soviet allies in Puerto Rican affairs.16 Vocal criticism also came from other parts of Latin America. Dr. James E. Goff, director of the American School of Barranquilla, Colombia openly condemned the educational pamphlet and demanded that it be recalled.17 Goff also expressed suspicion regarding the motives behind the literacy campaign, citing an article in El Avance Criollo titled Adoctrinan, no Alfabetizan (they indoctrinate, not alphabetize) where it was claimed that the literacy campaign was being misused by the revolutionary government to indoctrinate children to hate the United States and look to Russia, Communist China and Czechoslovakia as the true leaders of the world and Cubas real friends. Goff also expressed concern for Fernndez Ceballoss role in the revolutionary governments Ministry of Educati on, suggesting the work of his department be given a close study by the [Board of National Missions]. Goff goes even further, suggesting the UPCUSAs goal should be to help our Cuban brethren by all 16 PHS: 301.7 24 3, 114th Meeting of the Presbytery of Puerto Rico, Jan. 12, 1961. 17 PHS: 301.7 23 7, Letters from James E. Goff, Colegio Americano (Barranquilla, Colombia) to Maria Josefa Nnez, Director of Chris tian Education, Presbyterian Church of Luyan, Mar. 31, 1961 and the Rev. Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez Hidalgo, Apr. 2, 1961.
63 appropriate means to see the true nature of their government and should urge them to take a position of opposition to it. He also feared that [the UPCUSAs] continued failure to warn the government and the Cuban people was jeopardizing their future and damaging [the churchs] own position,18 Between 1960 and 1961, Presbyterians witnessed the radicalization of the Revolution and the breakdown of U.S. Cuba n relations with increasing trepidation. The prospect of Communism, so deeply feared and opposed a year earlier was becoming a reality for a denomination unequivocally committed to anti Communism and dependent on U.S. financial aid. A faction of the Presbyterian Church led by Fernndez Ceballos, Cepeda, and Rodrguez Busto embraced the nationalism, anti imperialism, and economic reforms of the Revolution, but by early 1961 it had become impossible to deny the Communist nature of the new government. Voices of dissent remained largely silent within Cuba, but North American Presbyterians became increasingly concerned for the situation on the island and watche d with suspicion as prominent Presbyterian leaders in Cuba embraced the revolutionary reforms in the face of the Revolutions adoption of oneparty rule. Undoubtedly, some Presbyterians genuinely supported the revolutionary reforms and made their suppor t public in Heraldo Cristiano and other publications, but one cannot help but ask what options were available for those who dissented from the Revolutions program. As a small and financially dependent denomination, Presbyterians did not have the ability to oppose the revolutionary government, as Goff suggests, without serious consequences. As the CCIE asserted in its Santa Clara 18 PHS: 301.7 23 7, Letter from James E. Goff to the Rev. Kenneth G. Neigh, general secretary of the BNM, Apr. 2, 1961.
64 Declaration, the Revolution was real, and furthermore it had the support of the overwhelming majority of the Cuban people. Fur thermore, being a counterrevolutionary did not only mean actively opposing the Revolution; nonparticipation and noncooperation were also deemed as counterrevolutionary.19 Under this situation, could a denomination such as the Presbyterian Church guarantee its survival in the new Cuba without a pragmatic approach? I would argue that pragmatism was a fruitless endeavor for the overwhelming majority of Presbyterians. In the following years, the church would see its schools nationalized, its membership and cl ergy reduced, its work curtailed by government interference, and its seminarians sent to work camps. In this context, pragmatism would prove beneficial to a sector of the church leadership who continued to receive their North American pensions for more than a decade after the Revolution and for those church leaders who had the opportunity to travel abroad at a time when Cubans became increasingly insular. Nationalization of Presbyterian Schools The appearance of normality that Cuban Presbyterians had soug ht to maintain and portray to their North A merican sponsors came to an abrupt end in the spring of 1961. On April 17, 1961, some 1,300 Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs, a marshy region on Cubas southern shore. The invasion force was quickly defeat ed, providing the revolutionary government with a significant victory. The invasion served to confirm the Revolutions claims of imminent U.S. attack and delivered the revolutionary government with the necessary justification to further curtail political and personal 19 Carollee Bengels dorf, The Problem of Democracy in Cuba: Between Vision and Reality (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994) 85.
65 freedoms.20 On May 10 the BNM was advised that the Cuban government had taken over La Progresiva and the other Presbyterian schools and that the church would be reimbursed for the value of the properties involved.21 As a consequence, it was no longer possible to affirm that Presbyterians were not experiencing government interference. The Presbyterian schools, perhaps the most enduring legacy of the denominations work on the island, had been confiscated without prior notice. While the Presbyt erian Church was never a large denomination on the island, a total of fourteen day schools in the provinces of Havana, Matanzas and Las Villas educated a disproportionately large number of children for a denomination of less than 4,500 members.22 In resp onse to the nationalization, the Rev. Rafael Cepeda explained that Presbyterians were not being singled out and that all private schools had been nationalized without exception. In previous correspondence the BNM had implied that communication with the Cuban church was not clear. However, Cepeda affirmed that the lines of communication between Cuba and the United States were normal; in fact, he asserted that everything else was running without interruption. While Cepeda was not critical of the Cuban government, he believed the actions taken by the Revolution against Presbyterians were unjust.23 However, Dr. Emilio Rodriguez Busto, superintendent of Presbyterian schools, did not express any condemnation for the 20 Prez Stable, The Cuban Revolution, 92. 21 PHS: 301.8 21 44, Nationalization of Schools, May 10, 1961. 22 PHS: 301.7 24 3, Tesoreria Presbiter ial: Base del Presupuesto, 1961. 23 PHS: 301.7 23 27, Letter from the Rev. Rafael Cepeda to the Rev. Donald Harris in New York, May 30, 1961.
66 nationalization. Instead, he welcomed the go vernments actions because he believed the Presbyterian schools no longer had a role to play in a society where the government was taking responsibility of education.24 It is important to note that Cuban Presbyterians were deeply concerned about North Amer ican public opinion, especially the reaction of the BNM. Following the nationalization of schools, Bohemia published an article where Rodriguez Busto is quoted saying, the Presbyterian schools greet the nationalization of the private schools with emotion.25 The following day, Rodriguez Busto rejected Bohemias assertions in a letter to the BNM.26 Likewise, Cepeda sought to calm the BNMs reaction to the nationalization by immediately explaining that Presbyterians were not being directly attacked by the C uban government, reasoning instead that the events were part of a national program of education, where all private schools had been transferred to state control. These examples highlight the degree to which Cuban Presbyterians were dependent on their U.S. brethren, institutionally, financially, and ideologically. While the church had been reassured that they would be reimbursed for the nationalized property, payment never arrived. In August 1962, the Legal Department of the Board of National Missions initiated a process to demand remuneration for the properties confiscated by the Cuban government before the International Court of The Hague.27 24 PHS: 301.8 21 44, Nationalization of Presbyterian schools 25 Excerpt from Bohemia, week of June 1, 1961 Caption under photo of Dr. Emilio Rodriguez Busto: The Presbyterian Schools greet the nationalization of the private schools with emotion. 26 PHS: 301.8 21 44, Letter from Dr. Emilio Rodriguez Busto to Dr. Kenneth G. Neigh, Jun. 2, 1961. 27 PHS: 301.7 24 23, Claims for Property Lost, Aug. 8, 1962.
67 The nationalization of private schools represented another step in the r adicalization of the Revolution and highli ghts a significant crossroads for Presbyterian work in Cuba. No longer able to fulfill their role in education, Presbyterians sought new ways in which they could impact society at large. The official response fro m the denomination indicated that they would focus their work on evangelization and bible study, but the evidence throughout the following years indicates these goals failed to materialize. Ironically, the Presbyterians new focus came into direct conflic t with the Revolutionary government. Evangelization and bible study groups were the very things that the Revolution restricted after 1961. The schools provided Presbyterians with an essential link between their churches and Cuban society at large. With that link severed, Presbyterians became increasingly marginalized and their ideology relegated to societys fringes as the revolutionary state imposed state atheism and took charge of controlling public and private spaces of assembly, debate and socializing. Furthermore, these events brought into the public sphere significant ideological fissures, which, until then, had remained obscured from the churchs official discourse. The departure of 150 teachers, including six pastors, and their families demo nstrates the ideological fracture within the denomination. While defenders of the Revolution continued to make their support known through their publications in Heraldo Cristiano and moderates remained silent about their dissent, the actions of those Pres byterians seeking to leave the country reveal the ideological fragmentation of the denomination in the early 1960s. Revolution, Marxism, and the Church During the summer of 1961, the governing coalition composed by the 26th of July Movement, the Revolutionary Directorate (DR), and the PSP merged to form the
68 Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (ORI). However, the DR and the 26th of July Movement lacked the history, organization, and infrastructure of the PSP. Consequently, the PSP controlled the ORI, while Anbal Escalante, as organization secretary, favored old communists over 26th of July and DR members. The ORI later became the United Revolutionary Socialist Party (PURS) in 1963 and eventually the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) in October 1965.28 This p rocess of state consolidation officially and permanently established Cuba as a oneparty state under the vanguard of the PCC, securing the Marxist Leninist ideological orientation of the Revolution. Prominent leaders in the Presbyterian Church responded to this process of Communist state consolidation between 1961 and 1965 by attempting to accommodate to the radical changes of the new government. In the months following nationalization of schools, the Rev. Rafael Cepeda solidified his position as one of the most vocal supporters of the revolutionary government within the Presbyterian Church. Through his regular columns in Heraldo Cristiano Cepeda exhorted his readers to remain steadfast in their support for the new Cuba, even as the ideologies of the Revolution and the church became increasingly incompatible. Less than a month after the nationalization of schools, Cepeda published an article in Heraldo Cristiano titled, El ritmo revolucionario. In this article, Cepeda praised the Revolution and encouraged the church to move at the same rhythm as the revolutionary changes. Using highly militaristic language, Cepeda encouraged the church to follow the Revolutions example The church must now wage its wars in the local frontiers: on the trenches of ever y parish, on the fortresses of every town, using the enormous resources it offers, each household, each member, each organization, each friend, each sympathizer, each student of our Sunday schools. This battle 28 Prez Stable, The Cuban Revolution, 87.
69 is about who best finetunes their instrument s and who plays the most revolutionary rhythm: the one that only concerns himself with the satisfaction of mans economic, social, and cultural needs or he who takes into account something greater: the feeling of abundant life that only the Church can offer in the name of Jesus Christ.29 The following month, Cepeda published Peor para ellos, where he criticized Communisms atheist ideology and urged Christians to adopt the mission of bringing Christ to the Communists. According to Cepeda, the R evolution and Christianity did not stand in opposition and Christians should see the Revolutions adoption of Communism and its atheist ideology as an opportunity for evangelization.30 In August, Cepeda suggested a number of advantages for Christians in Cubas new society: 1. Materialist Marxism was pushing people to the church to find greater meaning. 2. The Revolution created new opportunities for religious work and programs. 3. The Revolution taught the church that they had not been doing enough to fulfill their mission. 4. The rise in literacy was an opportunity for Bible study.31 In addition, Cepeda claimed that the Revolution was creating an ordered and disciplined Cuban society, something that would benefit the church.32 In retrospect, it is difficult to understan d Cepedas statements or rationalize his inability to see the difficulties that lay ahead for the church. If one is to accept that his statements fully reflect his real conscience, then one must wonder whether his revolutionary fervor prevented Cepeda fro m exercising foresight. 29 Rafael Cepeda, El ritmo revolucionario, Heraldo Cristiano Jun. 1, 1961. 30 Rafael Cepeda, Peor para ellos, Heraldo Cristiano, Jul. 1, 1961. 31 Rafael Cepeda, Las ventajas de esta hora, Heraldo Cristiano, Aug. 1, 1961. 32 Ibid
70 The Cuban government had recently nationalized the churchs schools, pastors, former teachers, and their families were departing to the United States, and it had become impossible to deny the Communist nature of the revolutionary state. Furthermore, by 1963, it would become impossible to fulfill the very advantages for Christians that Cepeda saw in the Revolution. The revolutionary government increasingly restricted opportunities for evangelization and made it next to impossible to conduct Bible study. In the 19611963 period, as the state pursued a program of socialist import substitution, scattered reports of petty harassment of churches and pastors began to pick up. Students were pressured not to attend Sunday school and Bible study, obstacles were placed in front of church doors, graffiti appeared on church walls, and pastors reported harassing telephone calls.33 In October 1961, Cepeda concluded his series of columns on Christianity and the Revolution with one titled Punt o Final (Final Point). While he recognized he had received strong criticism from readers, he reassured himself by claiming that critics came from both the right and the left. According to Cepeda, the conflicting labels of Communist and counterrevolutionary he had received from critics were a testament to his moderation. Furthermore, he argued that the Revolution was inevitable: Such had been the accumulation of abuses, the exploitation of privileges, the degree of partisan politics, the corruption from positions of power, the indifference toward the masses, that only a revolution could have removed such filth and reconstruct a centuries old deteriorated political and economic process. Cepeda claimed that the Revolutions mistake had been Marxism and all of the failures of the Revolution could be attributed to 33 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 72.
71 the new governments adoption of Communist principles. While critical of atheist indoctrination, Cepeda claimed the Revolution was also Christian in its objectives, although not in its motivation. Furthermore, Cepeda reemphasized the churchs mission of bringing the Gospel to Marxists. He called for the church to march with steps of victory, in an evangelistic and missionary effort yet unseen in the church In Cepedas view, this militant chur ch would bring Christ into the Revolution and correct the mistakes of atheist Communism in Cuba.34 Cepedas use of militant and militaristic language reflects the new revolutionary culture based on martial principles. Ultimately, Cepeda argued for cooperation with and acceptance of the Revolution, albeit not full fledged endorsement of it. While Cepeda did not argue in favor of Marxism, he acknowledged there was much good and ultimately Christian about the Revolution, despite its Marxist character. Fro m this perspective, Cepeda chose to engage the Revolution, to seek out common ground with it, but also criticize it when needed. This was a moderate position within the revolutionary faction of the church. Yet, there was no official room for moderates in the Revolution. The radical path of the Castro government and the hostility in U.S. Cuban relations made moderation next to impossible. In a 1964 interview with U.S. journalist, Le e Lockwood, Castro affirmed, in a revolution there are hardly any neutrals.35 Between 1961 and 1966, guerrillas, particularly in the Escambray Mountains in central Cuba, posed a serious threat.36 Both domestic and external threats to the Revolution made moderation 34 Rafael Cepeda, Punto Final, Heraldo Cristiano, Oct. 1, 1961. 35 Lee Lockwood, Castros Cuba, Cubas Fidel: An American Journalists Inside Look at Todays Cuba in Text and Picture ( New York: The Macmillan Company 1967) 126. 36 Guerra, Visions of Power in Cuba 182 186.
72 a difficult path for individuals like Cepeda. His self appointment to that role was an exercise in self deception and ultimately self delegating. When Castro declared the Revolution to be Marxist Leninist on the day officially celebrating the Revolutionary Armed Forces, or Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias (FAR), i n early December1961, even some pastors who later became active proponents of Christian Marxist engagement were not ready to accept it. The Rev. Carlos Camps was ready to leave Cuba, unable to deal with a Marxist state, when a family medical emergency kept him on the island, something he would eventually consider a miracle.37 Camps would eventually join the revolutionary faction of the church and remain an important religious leader as recently as the mid2000s. The scholarship identifies three elements t hat explained the Presbyterians engagement with the state: a social background of poverty, a personal history of social work within the church, and an exposure to modern theologians with a social and political focus. The Presbyterian Church was a denomin ation with a robust history of social activity before 1959, running medical clinics, literacy campaigns, and community service projects, while promoting social awareness in their youth programs.38 Presbyterians, with greater access to foreign education and a stronger liberal wing than other denomination, stand out as one of the Protestant groups most willing to engage with the revolutionary state. Even after the establishment of the seminary in Matanzas in 1946, prospective pastors continued to go abroad f or seminary and graduate education, including several who went to Princeton Theological Seminary as 37 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 103104. 38 Ibid 105.
73 late as 1961.39 These pastors returned to Cuba equipped with modern theological training and exposure to left wing theologians. The early twentiethcentury Social Gospel movement had deeply influenced liberal Protestants, including theologians at Princeton Theological Seminary. The Rev. Sergio Arce stands out among the most well known of Cubas foreigntrained clerics. In January 1959, the Presbytery of Cuba had approved Arces request to study for his doctorate in theology at the Princeton Theological Seminary. By the summer of 1961, Arce had completed his coursework and was ready to return to Cuba, where he planned to finish his dissertation.40 Arces theology attempted to bridge the divide between Christianity, Marxism, and the Revolution. He saw the Cuban Revolution as part of a larger trend of revolutionary movements stemming all the way back to the sixteenthcentury Protestant Reformation. He arg ued that the church must, therefore, continue reforming itself during the revolutionary process in Cuba.41 Arce believed the church had a prophetic mission to give testimony of Jesus Christ and to evangelize. For Arce, evangelization did not necessarily mean the preaching of the Gospel, Bible study, or the intentional attempt to seek converts. He believed that Christians needed to adopt a revolutionary work ethic to fulfill their evangelical mission; that Christians should seek to validate their fai th through their work, volunteerism, and 39 Ibid 106. 40 PHS: 301.7 23 24, Sergio Ar ce 41 Sergio Arce, La misin de la Iglesia en una sociedad Socialista (Havana: Editorial Caminos, 2004), 12.
74 commitment to the Revolution. In doing so, they would offer true testimony of Jesus Christ to the Marxist.42 Arces theology represented a radical departure from the missionary heritage Cuban Presbyterians had inher ited from their pre revolutionary past. He fervently criticized the churchs attachment to the legacies of the pre1959 era, emphasized the benefits of Marxism for Christians, and claimed that Capitalism was anti Christian. However, his opinions are often contradictory. On one hand, Arce claims that the church should not support any party or political system. But then, he attacks Christians who do not support the Revolution.43 Arce made these claims in August 1965, when Protestants were experiencing the most direct assault from the Cuban government. Arce also taught at the seminary in Matanzas and served as rector of that institution for nearly fifteen years beginning in 1969. While on the faculty, Arce had the opportunity to influence a number of students, though critics accused him of being a polarizing figure.44 Following the ecclesiastical independence of the Cuban church in 1967, the recently exiled pastor, Emilio Veitia, publically accused Arce of Marxist indoctrination and of subverting the w ork of the Presbyterian Church.45 Arce earned his strongest criticism as a result of his support of the Soviet Union. Arce supported the Soviet crackdown in Czechoslovakia in 1968, earning him the criticism of even pastors 42 Ibid 21. 43 Ibid 32 39 44 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 107. 45 PHS: 92 1203, General Assembly Administrative Commission on Cuba, Confidential Report, Apr. 4, 1967.
75 sympathetic to the Revolution.46 Arce promoted an unusual position within the Presbyterian Church. In his view, there were no contradictions between the socioeconomic programs of Christianity and Marxism. This perspective led Arce to fully identify Christianity with Marxism, something more moderate defenders of the Revolution, such as Cepeda, were unwilling to do.47 Given his leadership and teaching responsibilities, Arce would play a preponderant role in the Presbyterian Church. However, his views reflect those of the most radical symp athizers of the Revolution, a minority wing of the church. Most Presbyterians rejected his theology and his legacy remains controversial. His role as professor and rector of the seminary was particularly divisive and contributed to the near collapse of t he seminary during the mid to late 1960s, as some Methodists and Episcopalians, the ecumenical partners in the seminary, refused to send their candidates for ordination to be educated under Arce. Critics of the Revolution within the church did not posses s the media resources to voice their opposition, while the increasing censorship on free speech made such pronouncements dangerous. Nevertheless, voices of dissent do appear in the archival documents, revealing a Protestant church struggling with divergent factions. One such dissident, the former representative of the 26th of July Movement in the United States before 1959, Mario Llerena made his criticisms of the Revolution and its Protestant sympathizers clear in an article published in Bohemia Libre mag azine in the fall of 1961. 46 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 113. 47 Ibid 108.
76 According to Llerena, on the Protestant field Communism counts with very active and able coworkers. He singles out the Rev. Raul Fernndez Ceballos as the most prominent among these. Fernndez Ceballos, former executive sec retary of the CCIE and pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Havana was the most visible Protestant leader in the revolutionary regime. In Llerenas view, Fernndez Ceballos had been useful to the Revolution because his task consisted of giving the U.S. Presbyterians the impression and assurance that the Revolution was not Communist, but on the other hand, Christian and Democratic. In exchange for his collaboration, Fernndez Ceballos had the opportunity to travel abroad, including trips to Mexico and Czechoslovakia.48 This was a privilege only afforded to a well connected elite after the early 1960s. Llerenas condemnation also included Dr. Emilio Rodriguez Busto, who according to Llerena exchanged the missionary heritage of the ever remembered Robert L. Wharton (founder of La Progresiva) for the lentils of the Soviet collaboration.49 Llerena is referencing Jos Marts El Plato de Lentejas, published in Patria in 1894. In this essay, Mart discusses the Spanish governments latest attempt at col onial reform by allowing blacks to share public spaces, including schools and parks, with whites in Cuba. According to Mart, these reforms arrived too late and represented a plate of lentils, meaning Cubans had to be content with the scraps.50 In essen ce, Llerena was criticizing not only Presbyterian leaders but also the Revolutions developing clientele relationship with the Soviet Union. 48 PHS: 301.7 24 23, excerpt of Mario Llerenas article in Bohemia Libre Oct. 15, 1961. 49 Ibid 50 Jos Mart, El Plato de Lentejas, Pa tria, Jan. 2, 1894.
77 The Rev. Martin Aorga identified atheism as the one key problem for Christians in the Cuban Revolution. His writ ings reveal he was a moderate revolutionary, initially not much different from Cepeda. His regular column titled, Pregunte Usted frequently addressed controversial issues about the churchs role in the new Cuba. In March 1962, Aorga responded to a readers question regarding the possibility of being both a Christian and a Communist. In his response, Aorga argued that Communisms goals of social regeneration, racial and economic equality, and the promotion of education were principles it shared with C hristianity. However, he emphatically declared that Communism was a materialist ideology with an atheist philosophy and consequently, a Christian could not be a Communist.51 As the Revolution radicalized and moved to the left, the differences between Aor ga and Cepeda widened and Aorga would eventually leave Cuba for Miami in the mid1960s. Aorgas column in Heraldo Cristiano closely parallels Aclaraciones a regular column in the statecontrolled newspaper Noticias de Hoy where revolutionary leaders responded to readers questions in a similar format. This writein column sought to resolve disputes that arose in the Escuelas Bsicas de Instruccin Revolucionaria, a state led program to educate volunteer militias and Cuban workers on Marxist and revol utionary ideology. Hoy s editors responded to questions on topics ranging from racism to religion.52 The simultaneous presence of these very distinct outlets of information in a society where the state had virtually eliminated an independent press 51 Martn Aorga, Pregunte Usted, Heraldo Cristiano, Mar. 1, 1962. 52 Guerra, Visions of Power in Cuba 216 218.
78 highlig hts the effort among Presbyterians to remain relevant in the new Cuba and compete with the state in a battle for information it could no longer win. Conclusion The increasing radicalization of the Revolution during the early to mid1960s forced Pres byterians to tackle central questions of their identity and mission. As heirs of North American missionary zeal, Presbyterians viewed themselves as mediums for the renovation of Cuba. The Presbyterian position was to be a self appointed vanguard within t he Revolution. However, the revolutionary government rejected both their vision and self image. In the face of this rejection, a sector of the church withdrew, by either fleeing into exile or engaging with the Revolution as little as possible. Others so ught to accommodate to the Revolution, reexamining their mission and their identity, while searching for ways to engage the state. A much more radical view adopted by some Presbyterians sought to abandon their old identity almost entirely, enthusiasticall y adopting the values of the Revolution.53 Moderate sympathizers of the Revolution, such as Cepeda and Rodriguez Busto, and radicals, such as Arce, attempted to develop an alternative identity for Cuban Presbyterianism beginning in the early 1960s, one that publically rejected any endorsement of U.S. culture or politics in favor of the new values of the Revolution. While their discourse reflects a willingness to engage the Revolution, whereby they had adopted the nationalist and anti imperialist tenets of the revolutionary state, the following chapters will demonstrate that the institutional and financial links with their 53 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 102.
79 parent denomination, the UPCUSA would keep Presbyterians leaders in the shadow of North American influence and unable to fully embrace the Revolution.
80 CHAPTER 4 PRESBYTERIANS AND THE COMMUNIST STATE Given the vocal support of some Presbyterian leaders for the Revolution, it might be easy to assume that Presbyterians overwhelmingly embraced the social, political, and economic prog ram of the revolutionary state. However, this chapter gives voice to a faction of the church that gradually became more silent as the Revolution radicalized. Furthermore, it reveals that even among the Revolutions supporters, ties to the United States r emained too indispensible to reject. The breakdown of U.S. Cuba relations challenged the financial and institutional bonds between U.S. and Cuban Presbyterians, but financial records and personal correspondence reveals that these links endured even as church state relations deteriorated. Indeed, Cuban Presbyterians remained reluctant to break with decades of U.S. sponsorship. Even as Cuba traded U.S. economic dependency for Soviet dominance, Presbyterians struggled to maintain their financial bonds with the UPCUSA. In response to the Revolutions radicalization, hundreds of Presbyterians left the country while the leadership embraced the reforms. This demonstrates the ideological fissures within the denominations and presents the Presbyterian Church in Cuba as a diverse and far from monolithic community. By the mid1960s, Presbyterians were forced to confront their most difficult challenge, as the state sought to expand its control over all spheres of life, both public and private and came into increas ing conflict with the religious community. Dependency Challenged, Bonds Endure Beginning in 1959, the revolutionary government implemented a series of economic reforms with the goal of transforming the Cuban economy. While the
81 Revolution lacked a clear i deological direction during the first two years, Carmelo MesaLago has described the reforms as statist, populist, anti market, and nationalistic.1 To achieve this goal, the Cuban government confiscated property and embezzled assets, expropriated latifund ia (farms of more than 400 hectares) through the first Agrarian Reform Law, expropriated rental housing, intervened in enterprises, and confiscated assets belonging to individuals convicted of counterrevolutionary activity or who had fled into exile. The nationalization of private property accelerated between June and October 1960, when Cuba confiscated all remaining U.S. owned property and major domestically owned industries.2 However, after 1961, the state had even more clearly embarked on a process of collectivization of the means of production. The nationalization of U.S. owned property and the breakdown of U.S. Cuban relations occurred through a series of mutual retaliations. As the U.S. government sought to penalize Cuba for its revolutionary reform s, the Castro government retaliated with property confiscations. The U.S. government would subsequently respond with further action, pushing Cuba toward even further radicalization and nationalizations. In October 1960, all U.S. investment in Cuba had be en nationalized. To retaliate, the United States imposed an economic embargo on Cuba, which essentially terminated all trade between the two countries.3 The deterioration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States beginning in 1960 had s ignificant consequences for Cuban Presbyterians, and 1 Carmelo MesaLago, Cuba in the 1970s : Pragmatism and Insti tutionalization (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1974), 1 5. 2 Mesa Lago, The Economy of Socialist Cuba, 12. 3 Ibid 13.
82 Protestants more broadly. By the end of the summer of 1960, the U.S. embassy in Havana had begun to urge North American missionaries to return home, but some missionaries were reluctant to depart at fir st. However, by the end of the year, increasing numbers of U.S. missionaries began to make their way back to the United States as relations further deteriorated and their stay in Cuba began to hinder the work of their denominations. While some Conservati ve missionaries cited Communism as a reason for departure, a much larger number of missionaries left Cuba in response to growing fears that their presence and association with North American influence could damage the work of their missionary churches in t he country.4 While North American missionaries constituted an important presence in the Presbyterian Church, the denomination possessed a fully Cuban clergy and its dependence on missionary personnel was minimal compared to other denominations such as the Methodists or more recent arrivals like the Lutherans and Mennonites. Nevertheless, President Eisenhowers break in diplomatic relations in January 1961 prompted the Board of National Missions of the UPCUSA to reevaluate their involvement in Cuba. Reassured by prominent church leaders like the Rev. Rafael Cepeda and Dr. Emilio Rodriguez Busto, U.S. Presbyterians confidently declared that their relations with the Cuban church would remain unchanged. In response to the break in diplomatic relations, Kennet h Neigh, general secretary of the BNM published an article in Heraldo Cristiano where he emphasized the Cubanidad of the Presbyterian 4 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 5253.
83 Church in Cuba and expressed confidence that the break in diplomatic relations would not impact the financial aid of the B NM.5 Following the official break in diplomatic relations and the Revolutions official adoption of socialist principles in early 1961, a second stage of economic development emerged, one that attempted to accelerate industrialization and generate r ates levels of economic growth.6 In 1962, private agricultural cooperatives established since 1959 in nationalized latifundia were converted into state farms and in 1963, the second Agrarian Reform Law expropriated land of farms having more than 67 hectar es, thus eliminating the middlesized farmer. This Soviet influenced model failed to achieve the expected results and the Cuban economy entered a severe economic recession during the 19621963 period. The decline in the sugar harvest during 1962 provided the catalyst for Cubas economic troubles. Unable to pay for its ambitious economic program, the revolutionary government incurred foreign debt and an increasing trade deficit. The resulting scarcity of goods would have normally produced inflation, but the Revolution chose to freeze prices and impose rationing. While Cuba had managed to end decades of economic dependence on the United States, the 19621963 economic crisis tied the revolutionary state to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, replacing one form of economic dependency with another.7 While church leaders claimed that the means of communication and the financial links between Cuban and North American Presbyterians would be maintained, the breakdown of diplomatic relations, the radical economic changes, and resulting 5 Kenneth Neigh, Cooperacin, Heraldo Cristiano Mar. 1 1961. 6 Mesa Lago, Cuba in the 1970s 5 6. 7 Mesa Lago, The Economy of Socialist Cuba, 15 18.
84 recession inevitably produced significant strain on these bonds. The declining ability of U.S. and Cuban Presbyterians to communicate was exacerbated by a growing fear on the Cuban side that receiving even innocent mail f rom the United States would put individuals in jeopardy of unwanted attention from the government.8 Communication problems would eventually become so severe that Presbyterians would have to resort to face to face meetings in third country destinations by the mid to late 1960s.9 The breakdown in diplomatic relations likewise slowed the flow of money between Cuban Presbyterians and their North American sponsors. Yet despite the U.S. embargo, this flow was initially only minimally interrupted. Under the Five Year Plan inaugurated in 1960, the BNM had agreed to finance half of the denominations financial plan through 1965. In total, the BNM was expected to contribute $125,00010 over a fiveyear period, matching the total contribution from the Cuban churc h. However, as early as its first year the plan failed to reach its goal, with the Cuban church contributing slightly over $18,000, just seventy two (72%) of the established goal. On the other hand, the BNM contributed over $25,000 in financial aid to the plan for the same calendar year.11 In 1961, Cuban Presbyterians again failed to meet their financial benchmarks, contributing less than $20,000, over $5,000 short of their goal.12 In addition, most congregations failed to meet their yearly promise. The negative consequences of collectivization and central economic planning had not yet been felt by 8 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 56. 9 PHS: 301.7 24 15, Cuba Meeting, Geneva 10 Until 1961, the value of the Cuban peso was pegged to t he U.S. dollar 11 Plan de Cinco Aos (1960), Heraldo Cristiano Feb. 1, 1961. 12 Plan de Cinco Aos (1961), Heraldo Cristiano Mar. 1, 1962.
85 1961. In fact, middle and working class sectors saw their standard of living improve as wages increased, rents and electricity costs decreased, and the state i ncreasingly subsidized public services.13 The churches inability to meet their expected contributions can be attributed, in part, to a miscalculation on the part of Presbyterian leaders. They overestimated their congregations ability to meet the fundrai sing challenge. In response to the churchs inability to meet its financial goals, the Presbytery of Cuba agreed to lower the expectations, asking churches to contribute a total of $20,000 per year starting in 1962.14 Under the new benchmarks, the church was able to raise over $20,000 during 1962, but as the Cuban economy deteriorated the churchs financial situation remained difficult into 1963. The Rev. Carlos Camps, director of stewardship for the Cuban church, frequently exhorted his readers in Heral do Cristiano to make sacrifices for the financial future of the denomination. Under pressure for not meeting the financial goals for 1963, Camps asked Presbyterians to focus on stewardship, citing that by the summer of 1963, the denomination had only rais ed a quarter of its annual goal.15 The financial impact of the Five Year Plans failure was initially minimal and did not disrupt church activities as long as the BNM continued to send funds to the Cuban church. In theory, the Five Year Plan was intended to make the Presbyterians in Cuba financially self sufficient in the longterm. Between 1960 and 1963, the BNM continued 13 Mesa Lago, The Economy of Socialist Cuba, 14. 14 PHS: 301.7 23 30, Plan de Cinco Aos, Statement to Presbytery, Rafael Cepeda, Jul. 19, 1962. 15 Plan de Cinco Aos (1963), Heraldo Cristiano Jul. 1, 1963.
86 to subsidize the pension dues and salaries of Cuban pastors with little difficulty. For example, the Rev. Victor Valds, pastor of Sa n Nicolas, received the bulk of his salary through the BNM in 1960, while his congregation contributed less than twenty percent (20%) of his total income. During 1961, the average Presbyterian pastor had an annual salary of approximately $3,500. That sal ary would grow to about $4,200 by 1963 and some pastors, such as the Rev. Francisco Garcia, were making almost $6,000 per year.16 In the Cuban context, these salaries represented a relatively comfortable standard of living, as average annual salaries in Cuba during the 1960s remained stagnant at around $1,500.17 These pay increases during a period of severe economic recession in Cuba also highlight an important contradiction within the Presbyterian experience, especially for those who supported the Revolut ion. The net effect of the Cuban governments economic policy during the 19591961 period was a decrease in extreme income differentials.18 Moreover, the 19621963 economic recession forced Cubans to contend with shortages, underemployment, and inadequate funding of social services.19 Clergy wages, therefore, demonstrate that even among the Revolutions strongest supporters, a real lack of commitment to the revolutionary cause existed. It seems contradictory to praise the social and economic reforms of th e Revolution while at the same time 16 PHS: 301.7 23 15, Financial Records, BNM Pension payments to Cuban Presbyterians, 19601964. 17 Mesa Lago, The Economy of Socialist Cuba, 156. 18 Ibid 14. 19 Ibid 18.
87 utilizing pre revolutionary financial ties to the United States to remain exempt from the Revolutions economic realities. In smaller congregations, the BNM subsidized most of the salary. Cuban congregations, unable to pay the pension dues of their pastors, depended on the BNMs sponsorship to meet the expected contributions to the UPCUSAs pension fund.20 However, President Kennedys order on July 8, 1963 shutting down the flow of money to Cuba incited a bustle of activity as church leaders in both countries struggled to deal with the resulting crisis.21 The UPCUSAs Board of National Missions hoped to circumnavigate the provisions against sending money to Cuba by applying for an exception that would allow the m to continue sending funds to the island. However, the U.S. Treasury Department rejected the application and by September, the BNM, along with other denominational boards approached the State Department under the leadership of the National Council of Chu rches (NCC). The BNM and the NCC used Cold War politics to argue that without funds, Cuban seminaries would have to be shut down, noting that these were the only alternatives to staterun schools in Cuba. Furthermore, explicitly presenting the churches as tools of U.S. foreign policy, the NCC also claimed that any damage to Cuban Protestants would weaken an important force against Communism and would give Castro a significant propaganda victory.22 While it is questionable that U.S. Presbyterians believed they were an important force against Communism, their actions 20 PHS: 301.7 23 15, Financial Records, BNM Pension payments to Cuban Presbyterians, 19601964. 21 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 57. 22 Ibid 58.
88 and participation in the NCCs negotiation with the U.S. State Department demonstrates that they were ready to utilize Cold War tensions to advance their cause. The BNMs difficulty in sen ding money to Cuba starting in the summer of 1963 had severe consequences for Cuban Presbyterians by early 1964. The Presbytery of Cubas 115th meeting in January 1964 focused heavily on the financial crisis. The church was forced to cut back its program s across the island, eliminating the denominations expansion into Ciego de vila and Camagey. The lack of funds also prevented Presbyterians from making their expected contribution to the seminary in Matanzas. As the seminary was under the auspices of the BNM, Presbyterian leaders believed they were not financially responsible for its support.23 The lack of Presbyterian contributions to the seminary strained the denominations relationship with its ecumenical partners, the Methodists and Episcopalians. According to the Rev. Jorge Leon, Methodist minister and rector of the seminary Presbyterian pastors, accustomed to high salaries, were not fully prepared to sacrifice to keep the seminary going.24 In fact, financial records reveal that pastors salari es accounted for over $73,000 out of a total denominational budget of $183,000 for 1964. With an average annual salary of $2,706, Presbyterians still had one of the highest paid clergy in Cuba.25 In fact, this figure was almost twice the average annual salary of $1,587 in Cuba during 1964.26 23 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Cuba Presbytery Minutes, 19631965, 115th Meeting, Jan. 14 1 8,1964. 24 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 61. 25 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Cuba Presbytery Minutes, 19631965, 116th Meeting, May 1214,1964. 26 Mesa Lago, The Economy of Socialist Cuba, 156.
89 However, this did represent a reduction from previous years, when Presbyterian pastors were paid on the same pay scale as their North American brethren.27 It is evident that Presbyterians had been willing to make some financial adjustments given the economic and political realities. However, they were entirely unprepared for the financial self sufficiency that the break in U.S. Cuba relations required and the economic hardships the Revolution represented. In spite of the legal impediments to direct U.S. monetary support, financial contributions from abroad accounted for sixty percent (60%) of the denominations annual budget in 1964.28 This contribution came largely in the form of pension dues to the denominations pe nsion fund, as this money did not have to reach Cuba until the pastor or church employee retired. Pension accounts for Cuban church workers and pastors remained in the hands of the Board of Pensions in New York. The Board of Pensions administered pensions for all UPCUSA workers and pastors, including those living in Cuba. For this reason, direct contributions from the BNM to the Board of Pensions were not interrupted. Nevertheless, some pastors questioned whether they were still under the UPCUSAs pens ion plan. On June 23, 1964 the Rev. Rene Castellanos requested information from the pension plan because he was uncertain about whether the BNM continued to subsidize his pension dues.29 27 PHS: 301.7 23 16, BNM Pension Payments 28 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Cuba Presbytery Minutes, 19631965, 116th Meeting, May 1214,1964. 29 PHS: 301.7 23 15, Financial Records, BNM Pension payments to Cuban Presbyterians, 19601964.
90 Meanwhile, the difficulty in taking money out of Cuba and problems wi th Cubas currency exchange forced some retired pastors to make unconventional arrangements with the UPCUSAs pension fund even before Kennedys order. In 1962, the Rev. Julio Fuentes, while waiting to leave the country, asked the Board of Pensions to hol d his checks. Two years later, Fuentes arranged for a relative in Tampa to cash them. He was not able to leave the island and passed away in 1965.30 The Rev. Genaro Mark adopted a similar strategy and directed the Board of Pensions to send his checks to a son living in Los Angeles.31 Other pastors sought to use their financial links to the United States to aid relatives who had left Cuba or found other means to circumnavigate the economic sanctions. In 1963, the recently ordained Rev. Abi Castro asked the BNM to send $80 from accumulated funds held by the Board of Pensions to his brother who was living in the United States.32 While the BNM never adopted an official plan to financially help struggling Cuban pastors, the informal links endured, even during the mid1960s when the flow of money was most difficult. Even vocal supporters of the Revolution received aid from the BNM in the mid 1960s. For example, the BNM sent $300 to the Rev. Carlos Camps brother in law in Miami with the purpose of buying medi cines and other necessary items that would then be sent to Cuba.33 The BNMs unofficial policy responded to a series of letters from Cuban pastors themselves requesting medicines and other items. Throughout the period from 1963 to 1966, the BNM sent packages with medicines, 30 PHS: 301.7 23 16, BNM Pension Payments 31 Ibid. 32 PHS: 301.7 23 26, Abi Castro Folder 33 PHS: 301.7 23 25, Carlos Camps Folder
91 clothes, shoes, and other personal items to Cuban pastors and their families in Cuba. Cuban pastors would even request items for their friends and members of their congregations. The difficulty in sending packages directly from the United States to Cuba forced U.S. Presbyterians to coordinate with the Rev. Aurelio Rodriguez, visiting pastor at Parkdale Presbyterian Church in Toronto. Through Canada, the BNM was able to send packages to Cuban pastor in a sporadic and personal manner.34 The financial situation of Cuban Presbyterians from the formal break in U.S. Cuban diplomatic relations to the mid1960s reveals a church unwilling to break with its past. While some influential figures in the church adopted a revolutionary, nationalist, and anti imperialist message that challenged U.S. ideals and the U.S. derived identity that had so deeply shaped Protestant churches in Cuba, the practical reality demonstrates that even these figures and the church as a whole remained deeply tied to the U nited States. First, Cuban Presbyterians refused to abandon a church model that became increasingly incompatible with the Cuban reality. The North American Protestant church model consisted of full time, wellpaid, and often married clergymen. A strong tradition of stewardship and a high purchasing power in the North American churches allowed relatively small congregations to financially support their churches and ministers. This U.S. derived church model, while also incompatible with the countrys econ omic realities before the Revolution, had remained sustainable before 1959 due to the BNMs financial sponsorship. The U.S. embargo and subsequent ban on money transfers, along with Cubas economic crisis, revealed the vulnerability of this 34 PHS: 301.7 24 11, BNM Helping Cuban Pastors
92 model in the P resbyterian Church and produced a financial crisis within the denomination. Moreover, Cuban Presbyterians were unable to recognize the economic impacts that the Revolution, the break in diplomatic relations, and the subsequent economic sanctions would have. Thinking the Revolution would usher in a new era of Protestant work and growth in the country, Presbyterians during 1959 and the early 1960s sought to expand their mission into new parts of the country, renovated their churches, invested in La Progres iva and their other day schools, and increased pastor salaries even as economic challenges became undeniable. Furthermore, the Five Year Plan beginning in 1960 tied the Cuban church more closely to their North American sponsors during a period that would see radical change in U.S. Cuba relations. Ultimately, Presbyterians were unwilling to cut their financial links with their U.S. brethren, and in spite of the financial difficulties their institutional and financial bonds endured. Even nationalist, anti imperialist, pro revolutionary pastors readily sought the financial help of the BNM and continued to depend on the long term security the pension fund provided. Their unwillingness to break their financial ties to the United States provided Presbyterians and other Protestants a unique place within a Cuba that became increasingly isolated from the United States. Departure and Exile As the political and economic situation became more hostile to Presbyterians, increasing numbers of pastors and congregants s ought to leave the country for the United States. Others abandoned the church altogether and joined the various statesponsored political organizations taking shape in Cuba. For example, Presbyterian pastors cited defections of young people to the ranks of the Communist Youth and at
93 least one pastor abandoned his active ministry because he had lost his faith.35 Just as some Catholic nuns and seminarians chose to substitute the Revolutions social mission for that of the Church, so young Protestants may have followed suit. However, in the Presbyterian case, the move was facilitated by leaderships theological sublimation to Marxist and nationalist principles. While few pastors may have sought to leave the country in the first two years of the Revolution, the breakdown of diplomatic relations with the United States and the Revolutions radicalization forced pastors to reconsider their future in Cuba. Some pastors who initially supported the revolutionary government began to distance themselves from the Rev olution and by 1961 were actively seeking to leave the country. Pastors and their families began to request their transfer to the United States between 1961 and 1962. One of the first cases to appear in the archival record is that of the Rev. Samuel Oso rio. In January 1961, Cuban Presbyterians accepted his resignation and Osorio went on to work at First Spanish Presbyterian Church in Miami.36 Following the nationalization of private schools in May 1961, schoolteachers were given the option of maintaining their employment if they agreed to teach in the now public schools and follow the state curriculum. In response, some teachers decided to leave the country, prompting the BNM to establish an emergency resettlement program. With the cooperation of the Am erican, British, and Cuban governments, the BNM secured visa waivers for all who sought to leave the country and the refugees were flown to Miami and Kingston, Jamaica. Subsequently, the BNM, in cooperation with CWS and 35 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Presbytery of Cuba Meeting #113, Jan. 14, 1963. 36 PHS: 301.7 24 12, Presbytery of Cuba Meeting #108, Jan. 24 27, 1961.
94 the UPCUSAs Committee on Resettlem ent Services arranged the resettlement of teachers, pastors, and their families across the United States. By the fall, most teachers had secured jobs teaching in U.S. Presbyterian schools, but an unknown number were still in need of sponsors. By the prog rams end in October 1961, 150 Cuban exiles had been resettled. This group included teachers, six ministers, and their families, representing all fourteen Presbyterian day schools nationalized the previous spring.37 Agustn Pascual was a teacher at the Pr esbyterian day school in Cabaiguan, a small mountain town in Las Villas province. On August 29, he and his family were flown to Kingston, Jamaica and three days later arrived in Miami. On September 11, they were resettled to Dubuque, Iowa. In a letter, Pascual explained his reasons for leaving Cuba: It was not possible for me to work as a teacher under the present conditions in Cuba, and it was not possible to have a different job. We left the island with three pieces of baggage as all of our material possessions, but with a great faith in God, in our church and in our friends in this country.38 He described the situation of the former Presbyterian schools in the following statement: Our school was nationalized, as all private schools in Cuba. It has been converted into a center for Marxist indoctrination, where hundreds of boys and young people have to attend. In our home, where we lived for more than twenty years, they have the offices of the Communist Youth in town.39 Pascual obtained a position teaching Spanish at the University of Dubuque and his resettlement was arranged through the offices of the Educational Department of the 37 PHS: 303.1 2 11, A New s Memo for National Missions Staff: Cuban Teachers Resettled, Oct. 18, 1961. 38 PHS: 303.1 2 11, Agustin Pascual Christmas Greetings, Dec. 1961. 39 Ibid
95 BNM. Pascuals case was not unique; in fact, the BNM routinely paid the transportation and resettlement costs of form er Cuban teachers who had found jobs throughout the United States.40 In April 1962, the Presbytery of Cuba approved the Rev. Oscar Trejos transfer to Jersey City, NJ.41 In July, the Rev. Cecilio Arrasta received permission to work temporarily in the United States, but less than a year later had failed to keep his responsibilities with the Presbytery of Cuba. In response, the Presbytery revoked his petition in early 1963 as it had become evident that Arrasta had decided to remain permanently in the Uni ted States.42 The flow of pastors into exile only increased in the subsequent months. In September 1963, the Rev. Sergio Manejas, then moderator of the Cuban Presbyterian Church, informed the Presbytery he would not be returning from his trip to the Unit ed States. The Rev. Ezequiel lvarez also submitted his resignation after he accepted employment in Texas.43 Before the end of the year, the Rev. Egidio Ramos of Encrucijada and Calabazar and the Rev. Ral Martnez of Placetas had announced they would als o leave the country.44 In total, twenty eight pastors attended the 115th Meeting of the Presbytery of Cuba in January 1964. This figure represented an important reduction from the thirty four pastors present three years earlier.45 40 PHS: 301.7 24 8, Cuban Refugees 41 PHS: 301.7 24 3, Special Session of the Presbytery of Cuba, Apr. 24, 1962. 42 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Presbytery of Cuba Meeting #113, Jan. 14, 1963. 43 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Presbytery of Cuba Meeting #114, Sep. 1011, 1963. 44 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Presbytery of Cuba Special Session, Nov. 6, 1963. 45 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Presbytery of Cuba Meeting #115, Jan. 1418, 1964.
96 Meanwhile, other Cuban pastors living outside the country sought to extend their stay without permanently severing their ties to the Cuban church. In early 1964, the Rev. Alfonso Rodrguez Hidalgo requested permission to remain outside Cuba. He had been working for the Hispani c American Department of the BNM for several years but did not want to cut all ties to the Presbytery of Cuba. Likewise, the Rev. Manuel Rodrguez adopted the same strategy and requested permission to remain outside of Cuba for another year.46 Additional pastors would leave or attempt to leave the country between 1962 and 1965, including the Victor Valds, Rafael Aragn, Martn Aorga, Jos Chao, and Lenier Gallardo.47 By the summer of 1965, the number of Cuban pastors had dwindled to twenty three.48 The de parture of Cuban pastors to the United States created significant challenges for those who remained behind. Simply by leaving their church homes and offices empty, the pastors put church property in danger of being seized under the urban reform laws.49 In response, the church requested that pastors waiting to leave the country vacate their church homes before beginning the departure process.50 The decline in pastors, church workers, seminarians, and congregants by 1965 had seriously begun to hinder Presbyt erian work in the country. In the province of Las 46 Ibid 47 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Presbytery of Cuba Meeting #116118, May 1214, 1964 Jan. 19, 1965. 48 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Presbytery of Cuba Meeting #119, May 11, 1965. 49 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. B ond, 5556. 50 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Presbytery of Cuba Meeting #116, May 1214, 1964.
97 Villas, the shortage of personnel became so critical that the remaining pastors were forced to split their duties between multiple churches.51 While the departure of Cuban pastors is well documented i n Presbyterian archives, a more significant migration occurred among the laity. However, Cuban Presbyterians did not maintain records of their congregants departures, although it is evident from the statistical data that the denomination lost members, ei ther to exile or in response to greater societal and government pressure. Even relatives of highranking pastors and vocal supporters of the Revolution left the country. For example, Rev. Rafael Cepedas brother and sister were both living in Miami by 1965.52 As Cuban Protestants began to arrive in Miami, their parent denominations in the United States responded with aid and resettlement programs. Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Presbyterian relief services were established to supply food, clothing, shelter and some limited medical assistance. Presbyterians sought to coordinate their work with their ecumenical partners, while also establishing their parallel and independent relief programs. The Protestant Service Bureau, under the author ity of the NCC established a counseling center while Church World Service (CWS) opened an office at the Cuban Refugee Center.53 Presbyterian work with Spanishspeakers in the Miami area had begun in the 1950s. In 1958, the UPCUSA founded First Spanish Pres byterian Church in an area that would eventually become known as Little Havana. Under the leadership of the 51 PHS: 301.7 24 3, Letter from church in Cabaiguan, Las Villas, Apr. 23, 1963. 52 PHS: 301.7 23 20, 1963 1964 and 301.7 2327, Rafael Cepeda. 53 PHS: F SM31 C349c, The Cuban R efugee Situation in Miami and Dade County: A Report by Charles G. Chakerian, Ph.D., Chairman, Dept. of Church and Community at McCormick Theological Seminary.
98 Rev. Ernesto Sosa, the congregations grew during the months before the Cuban Revolution but it subsequently experienced rapid growth following 1959. In 1960, Sosa started working with needy Cuban refugees and began a campaign to bring the attention of the BNM with the goal of opening a Presbyterian Spanish Center. The center was opened in January 1961 and Sosa served as its first director. The center distributed 22,253 and 31,644 bags of food in 1961 and 1962, respectively and by the summer of 1963 was distributing almost 4,000 bags of food monthly.54 Cuban refugees received both institutional and informal aid from the UPCUSA. For example, the church facilitated twenty year old Ramn Mass transition to the United States. Mas graduated from La Progresiva and had completed two years at the University of Havana. The church arranged for Mas to live and study English at Menaul School, a Presbyterian high school in Albuquerque, while attending college in New Mexico.55 Flights out of Cuba initially continued until the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, when the United States confronted the Soviet Union over the presence of nuclear missiles in Cuba. In response, Castro closed Havanas airport to all U.S. planes. The suspension of flights from Cuba to the United States during the 19621965 period forced Cubans to use third countries, mainly Spain and Mexico, to reach the United States.56 Beginning i n April 1963, the UPCUSA ran a home for transient refugees in Mexico with 54 PHS: 301.7 24 7, First Spanish Presbyterian Church, Miami, FL. 55 PHS: 301.7 24 8, Letter from P aul L. Warnshuis to Harry Brandt (Menaul School, New Mexico), Nov. 20, 1961. 56 Mara Cristina Garca, Havana USA: Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans in South Florida, 19591994 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), 35.
99 the cooperation of CWS and the Evangelical Committee for Refugees.57 This program facilitated the transportation of Cuban refugees to Mexico and helped them with housing, food, visas and transportation to the United States.58 Likewise, Presbyterians participated in a multi denominational effort to resettle Cuban refugees across the United States. The program was only partly successful because Cuban pastors in Miami, like the majorit y of other anti Castro refugees, were not enthusiastic about leaving the area.59 In addition, the UPCUSA cited concerns over some pastors involvement with anti Castro groups and their feeling of separation and misunderstanding with their Englishspeaking brethren.60 The departure of significant numbers of pastors and lay members highlights an aspect of Presbyterianism in Cuba during the revolutionary period that would otherwise be difficult to examine. In 1965, the General Assembly of the UPC USA estimated that approximately 1,800 Cuban Presbyterians had fled to the United States, or around 35 percent of the membership based on 1960 figures.61 Primarily, this demonstrates that the church in Cuba was far from monolithic and in fact represented a wide spectrum of opinions and attitudes towards the revolutionary government. By reading Heraldo Cristiano and the publications of Presbyterian leaders such as Arce, Cepeda, Rodriguez Busto, and Camps one might incorrectly assume that Presbyterians overw helmingly supported the revolutionary government. However, the level of censorship, either self 57 PHS: 301.7 24 8, Cuban Re fugees 58 PHS: 301.7 24 7, Comit Evanglico Pro Refugiados, 1964. 59 Garca, Havana USA 36 37. 60 PHS: 301.7 24 7, Resettlement of Cuban Refugees 61 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 95.
100 imposed or directed by the state, limited the number of dissident voices within the church. While scholars such as Theron Corse are correct in their conclusi ons that Presbyterians were one of the most accommodationist and prorevolutionary Protestant denominations, one should be cautious in making any general claims about the political and ideological leanings of the church. In fact, prorevolutionary voices gradually dwindled after 1961. Initial supporters of the Revolution, such as Aorga, Arrasta, and Veita rejected the Revolutions radicalization and eventually left the country. In addition to the number of pastors who left Cuba between 1961 and 1965 a nd those who would subsequently leave following the churchs ecclesiastical independence in 1967, one must add an indeterminate, but likely important, number of pastors and congregants who silently remained in Cuba in spite of their reservations about the Revolution. Furthermore, the attempts to seek temporary work in the United States while keeping ties to the Presbytery of Cuba demonstrates pastors detachment from the reality of U.S. Cuba relations. As a constituent member of the UPCUSA, the Presbytery of Cuba, along with its pastors and congregants, benefited for decades from a close relationship with the United States. This relationship allowed pastors to be educated in North American seminaries, to work in the United States, and maintain a standard o f living on a par with their U.S. brethren. The breakdown of political and economic relations between 1960 and 1963 represented an unprecedented challenge for Cuban Presbyterians. While the breakdown of relations was unquestionable by 1962, Cuban Presbyt erians continued to believe they could maintain their transnational ties in ways that resembled prerevolutionary Cuba. Instead of seeking a permanent transfer to the
101 United States, many Presbyterian pastors chose to maintain their links to the Presbytery of Cuba while claiming to work temporarily in the United States. Perhaps this attitude reflected a more general phenomenon within the Cuban exile community that initially perceived Castros stay in power as temporary. However, following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 the resilience of the Cuban Revolution became increasingly evident. Yet, in spite of these events, the actions of some pastors indicate they were unable to perceive or accept Cubas new reality. It is surprising the find that even as late as 1964, some Presbyterians believed it was possible for a Cuban pastor to seek higher education in the United States. At the Presbyterys 115th meeting in January 1964, a motion was put forward to allow the Rev. Sergio Arce to return to P rinceton on a scholarship and finish his doctorate. While the motion was ultimately rejected, the mere fact that some Presbyterians believe it was even practical reveals a wide gap between reality and their expectations.62 Church and State Although churchstate tensions began to develop soon after the Revolution, especially for Roman Catholics, for Presbyterians the major turning point was the Bay of Pigs invasion. According to Theron Corse, the presence of three Catholic priests and one Protestant pastor in Brigade 2506, as the invasion was known to its members and the proclamation by some religious leaders declaring the invasion to be a religious crusade against Communism, convinced the state that the influence of religion in Cuban society needed to be r educed.63 I would also argue that religious organizations 62 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Presbytery of Cuba Meeting #115, Jan. 1418, 1964. 63 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 71.
102 represented a challenge to the increasingly authoritarian state because they provided an ideological alternativ e to the Revolution and offered Cubans a form of civil society independent of the state. Just weeks before the Bay of Pigs invasion, Fidel Castro had condemned Protestants as imperialist collaborators while addressing students at the University of Havana So while our Revolution organized its anti illiteracy campaign and mobilized tens of thousands of youths in order to eradicate illiteracy, the imperialists mobilized their religious sects. They subsidized them and scattered them through the rural areas taking advantage of the Revolutions tolerance in order to carry out activity that was devoid of religious aim. The aim of this activity was eminently and essentially political and counterrevolutionary. Then news and reports began to arrive, especially in the areas where the counterrevolution was actively working, about the presence of eleme nts of these sects. How do they work? What do they do? They work in a very subtle way. They exploit superstition.64 Following the invasion, the Cuban government moved rapidly to nationalize all private schools. As a result of their ties to the United S tates, Protestant denominations were suspected by some of being enemy collaborators or at best remnants of a despised era of U.S. imperialism. The closure of schools forced denominations to develop new methods of religious education. Presbyterians developed an education plan that would move Sunday school and other programs into private homes.65 In the 1961 1963 period, scattered reports of petty harassment of churches and pastors began to increase. Students were pressured not to attend Sunday school, obst acles were placed in front of churches, graffiti appeared on church walls, and pastors reported harassing telephone calls. There were even reports of pastors being 64 Fidel Castro Speech at the University of Havana on March 13, 1961 to commemorate the Revolutionary Directorys assault on Batistas Presidential Palace. Source: LANIC 65 Rafael Cepeda, Las ventajas de esta hora, Heraldo Cristiano, Aug. 1, 1961.
103 arrested or detained. While the archival record does not reveal any instances of Presbyter ian pastors being arrested, Methodists, Christian Reformed, and SeventhDay Adventists reported pastors suffering arrest or detention.66 In January 1963, the Rev. Emilio Veita informed the Presbytery that religious work at Doncella and Garriga (Tnamo) ha d would not continue because the government had made their activities impossible.67 Ironically, only six months earlier, Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez Hidalgo had insisted there was no official religious persecution and that the Presbyterian Community Center at T namo continued to work without any government intervention. However, he did acknowledge that political rallies on Sunday were interfering with church attendance while Protestants in Cuba, due to the relationship of the Cuban church with the church in the United States, were generally looked at with a certain degree of suspicion as potential agents of yanki imperialism. He went further and claimed it was normal to find secret police in churches.68 Conditions deteriorated further beginning in 1963. T he failure of the Revolutions economic program, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the presence of counterrevolutionary guerrillas in the Escambray Mountains led to worsening churchstate relations.69 The Revolution has defeated the U.S. backed invasion force in April 1961 and the governments attention now turned to domestic threats to the Revolution. Evangelical Protestants, such as Jehovahs Witnesses, SeventhDay Adventists, the Band of Gideon, and the Church of the Pentecost, were specifically signed out as internal 66 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 7273. 67 PHS: V MIA45 C877, Presbytery of Cuba Meeting #113, Jan. 14, 1963. 68 PHS: 301.7 24 1, Status of the Cuban Church, Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez Hidalgo, June 8, 1962. 69 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 7273.
104 threats to the revolutionary government.70 In a speech in March 1963 marking the anniversary of the Revolutionary Directorates assault against Batista in the Presidential Palace, Fidel explained: These agents of imperialism appear to say that there should be no war And under the pretext of religion, they say: Dont use weapons, dont defend yourselves, dont join the militias. Or when there is a call to pick cotton or coffee or a special project and the masses mobilize on Sunday or Saturday or whatever, then they arrive and say: Dont work on the seventh day. And then under a religious pretext they argue against voluntary labor.71 Following Castros speech, Blas Roca, former general secretary of Cubas prerevolutionary Communist Party, as serted that the churches weakened the will of the people to support and defend the Revolution, and that they served as fronts for counterrevolutionary activity.72 Rocas critique of these groups was primarily an attack on their withdrawal from secular society and their refusal to participate in the Revolution through volunteer work, military service, and community activities rather than their obvert opposition to the regime. Subsequently, the government passed a series of restrictions on religious activi ty in Cuba. These new measures restricted religious activity to church buildings and required the registration of all Protestant groups, buildings, and pastors. The government banned outdoor services, religious meetings in private homes, and door to door evangelization. Some church buildings were closed as a result.73 Moreover, the 70 Guerra, Visions of Power in Cuba 194. 71 Ibid 195; Fidel Castro, Fidel Castro en el aniversario del herico as alto a Palacio, Obra Revo lucionaria, Mar. 15, 1963, 6 8. 72 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 75. 73 Ibid 76 77; Guerra, Visions of Power in Cuba, 195.
105 Cuban government revived a long ignored colonial era law that classified Protestant churches as associations, rather than religious bodies. Churches that did not register as associations risked the imprisonment of its pastors and the loss of church buildings. In essence, this law placed Protestants in an inferior position to the Catholic Church, since the latter was not subject to the Law of Associations.74 Some pastors, incl uding Rodrguez Hidalgo, had complained as early as 1962 of possible surveillance of religious groups. The infiltration of Protestant churches, especially Evangelicals, is widely acknowledged in the primary and secondary sources. The Cuban government wou ld send agents or activists to infiltrate a congregation and then report on that churchs activities to the state. These actions demonstrate that public assembly by the mid 1960s was the exclusive domain of the revolutionary state and that the state had t he right to regulate and decide what forms of public expression were contrary to the Revolution.75 The greatest challenge to Presbyterians would occur in the mid1960s as a result of Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Produccin (Military Units to Aid Production, or UMAP). The UMAP were a network of forced labor camps from the midto late 1960s. The revolutionary government detained tens of thousands of homosexuals, Jehovahs Witnesses, SeventhDay Adventists, Catholic priests, and mainstream Protest ant preachers and seminarians for up to three years. These dissident sectors of Cuban society represented a challenge for the Revolution as it entered a new phase between 1965 and 1970. The collapse of the socialist import substitution model and the lack of 74 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 80. 75 Guerra, Visions of Power in Cuba 211.
106 economic progress forced the Cuban state to seek new ideological parameters to maintain the Revolution afloat in spite of economic insufficiency. The New Man emerges as the answer to the states inability to reward its citizens with material incent ives. The New Man would have a revolutionary conscience, be satisfied with moral incentives and would not question the Revolution. The state resorted to social conformity and cracked down on ideological diversionists, individuals who distorted or diverged from the normative social order and jeopardized societys collective prosperity. Seminary students were accused of having antipatriotic, antiscientific beliefs and were therefore targeted with other nonconformists for recruitment into the UMAP.76 According to Lillian Guerra, to transform young Cubans into New Men, the state promoted the idea of inconformismo, or rebellion against traditional ways of thinking and behaving that the state associated with capitalism, U.S. culture, the older generati on, and imported ideologies.77 The presence of Protestants, along with homosexuals and other antisociales, ideologically challenged the states attempt to impose conformity to Marxist values. The UMAP represented a punitive al ternative to obligatory military service, something that had already impacted some churches as early as 1963. However, it was not until 1965 that large numbers of pastors and seminarians were drafted into the UMAP. Half of the students at the seminary in Matanzas were called to the camps. These students were targeted for conscription into the camps because many were full time students in nonrevolutionary, nonstate schools, did not work and their existence 76 Ibi d 228. 77 Ibid 229.
107 challenged the ideology of the Revolution. Paul Tate of the National Council of the Episcopal Church reported that at the seminary students were called to a recruiting office and then marched at bayonet point to a waiting train. Those targeted for conscription were the ones who had strained relations with the Rev. Sergio Arce, the vocal supporter of the states embrace of Marxism. Some seminarians abandoned their religious life to avoid the UMAP. Jorge Len, the rector of the seminary said of those who chose this path, We cannot judge them for this for their life in the camp is horrible.78 The educational mission at the seminary had already been deeply affected by the radicalization of the Revolution and enrollment during the 19631964 school year had dropped to onethird the pre1959 level.79 However, the conscription of seminarians to the UMAP presented a substantial challenge to the seminary. The seminary began the 19651966 school year with thirty students. By January, seven of those had been called to the work camps. Of the remaining students, two dropped out of their own accord, apparently for fear of being drafted, while another six indicated to the rector that they were prepared to leave the country as quickly as they could. The draft also heightened the ideological tensions already evident at the seminary. The Rev. Sergio Arce, had by 1965, established himself as one of the strongest and most vocal Protestant supporters of the Revolution. His reaction to the draft, which was to disappear while other seminary staff tried to help the st udents and later to voice his approval, led to a violent shouting match between him and Len in December 1965, 78 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 8587. 79 PHS: 301.7 24 7, SET Enrollment, Feb. 2, 1964.
108 after which the two men never spoke again. Len became deeply concerned over what Arce was teaching in his theology classes, in particular h e cl aimed that Arce taught that it was better to be a good Communist than a good Christian and that the church was false and must disappear. Another observer reported that Arce believed the church might have much to learn from the Revolution and about living in a revolutionary society.80 Arce emerged from the seminarys factional disputes as the loyal representative of the Cuban Revolution and the state. One can only wonder if this is a case of state infiltration into the very core of the Protestant community in Cuba. As professor of theology and later rector of the seminary, Arce occupied a vital position within the wider church. Unable to exert direct control over the seminary and the churches, the Cuban state relied on willing collaborators, such as Arce. Other Presbyterian leaders, like Cepeda, Fernndez Ceballos, and Rodrguez Busto, helped legitimize the revolutionary state and accepted a certain degree of cooptation. However, Arces embrace of both the Revolution and Marxism presented the Cuban state with the means to maintain the Protestant community under de facto state control. In general, the relationship between Protestants and the revolutionary state can be divided into three critical periods. Between 1961 and 1963, Protestants experienced instances of petty harassment and increased suspicion because of their ties to the United States. The Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 produced a critical turning point for churchstate relations but it is likely that Presbyterians and other Protestants would have come in contact with the state sooner or later because they represented an 80 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 8889.
109 ideological alternative to the Revolution. Official persecution of Protestants, however, would occur during the 19631965 period. Following the revival of the Law of Associations, Cuban Protestants came under increasing threat from the state. In fact, they were relegated to secondclass status behind the Catholic Church since the state no longer considered Protestant denominations as religious organizations, but rather associations. Finally, the period starting in 1965 presented an even greater challenge that impacted even the strongest and wealthiest denominations, particularly the Presbyterians. The conscription of seminarians into the UMAP demoralized the church, alienated congregants and seminarians, and brought the denomination to its weakest point since 1959. Conclusion The mid 1960s brought the Presbyterian Church in Cuba faceto face with the realities of Cubas position as a Cold War adversary of the United States and the countrys transformation into an anti imperialist and Communist state. These changes and new realities challenged the churchs mission in Cuba and forced Cuban Presbyterians to reassess their ties to the United States. Ultimately, the period demonstrates that many Presbyterians remained reluctant to break ties with their U.S. sponsors. Instead, they sought to accommodate the Revolution where possible and to leverage their ties to the United States to improve their financial wellbeing in Cuba or facilitate their departure. The financial situation of the Presbyterian Church in Cuba during the early to mid 1960s reveals that the church was not prepared for the social, political, and economic changes the break in U.S. Cuba relations implied or the economic changes produced by the Revolutions reforms. Furthermore, Cuban Presbyterians remained
110 reluctant to severe their ties to the United States, even as those ties became increasingly damaging to the churchs status in revolutionary Cuba. Inst ead, the church remained plagued with contradictions, especially within its most prorevolutionary faction. As Cuba entered a period of economic recession between 1962 and 1963, Presbyterians increased their pastors salaries, scrambled to maintain their financial links to the United States, and remained insensible to the Revolutions appeal to conciencia by the mid1960s. Meanwhile, the flow of pastors and congregants into exile demonstrates that Cuban Presbyterians represented diverse ideologies; they reacted to the Revolution in distinct ways. While the leaders of the church embraced the Revolution, earning the denomination a leftist reputation, a significant sector of the church rejected Cubas radical transformation and fled into exile. Moreover, the attempts on the part of some pastors to maintain transnational loyalties shows that they were unable or unwilling to accept the new reality produced by the break in U.S. Cuba relations. At the same time, the relationship between the church and the revolutionary government gradually deteriorated between 1961 and 1965. From instances of petty harassment and intimidation in 1961, relations worsened to official persecution by 1963 and the outright attack on the church through the UMAP conscriptions in 19 65. In the subsequent years, Presbyterians would have to rearticulate their relationship with the UPCUSA. As dissident pastors fled into exile, the most vocal supporters of the Revolution were left in charge of the denomination. These pastors would eventually seek the formal ecclesiastical independence of the Cuban church, but tried to maintain their financial bonds with the BNM for as long as possible.
111 CHAPTER 5 THE NEW MAN AND THE CHURCH Some Presbyterian leaders came to the realization by the mid196 0s that Cubas new reality required a new framework for the church to survive under the Revolution. The 119th meeting of the Presbytery of Cuba in June 1965 emphasized the churchs call for ecumenism or cooperation with other denominations. It called for more than just unity in mission or faith, but a type of visible unity that would repair the fragmentation of Protestant Christianity. Presbyterians declared themselves open to dialogue with other denominations seeking unity and catholicity1 and recognized that their denominational identity was negotiable.2 While the Presbytery did not openly declare their intent to create a unified church body for Cuban Protestants, their statements do reveal a fundamental change in their outlook. A discourse of unit y has never been completely absent in Christianity. However, realistic attempts to bridge denominational divisions to create a unified church body have historically encountered strong opposition. As long as U.S. Presbyterians continued to financially support their Cuban brethren, Cuban Presbyterians, with few exceptions, continued to work independently of other denominations. However, the difficulty in sending money to Cuba and the deterioration of church state relations by 1965 had forced Cuban Presbyterians to reconsider their position within Cuban Protestantism. The previous years had witnessed fundamental change in Cuba. In 1962, rationing of food, clothing, and most consumer items was implemented as Cuba entered 1 The term catholic and catholicity, usually in lower case are used by nonRoman Catholic Christians to emphasize the universal nature of the Christian faith. 2 PHS: V MIA45 C877, 119th Meeting of the Presbytery of Cuba, June 11, 1965.
112 a deep economic recession.3 The coll apse of the Socialist import substitution industrialization model by 1963 produced an ideological debate between two alternative systems of economic organization. Ernesto Che Guevara and his followers, influenced by the Maoist Great Leap Forward, endorsed an idealistic proposal. Its objectives required the total elimination of the market through full collectivization of the means of production, a highly centralized planning system, and the gradual eradication of money and material incentives. This mo del required the creation of an unselfish, self sacrificing, frugal, fully socialized, egalitarian being the New Man. In contrast, another faction advocated for a Soviet led model of economic central planning that would create a more efficient bureauc racy with some autonomy at the enterprise level and material incentives, such as wage differentials, bonuses, overtime payments, and awards, to achieve high productivity.4 In 1966, the state launched the fourth stage of the Revolution by endorsing what C armelo MesaLago describes as the SinoGuevarista model. Between 1966 and 1971, Cubas model of economic development emphasized capital accumulation by the state, volunteer mobilization, moral incentives, egalitarianism, and the abolition of money. The movement reached a climax in the spring of 1968 with the Revolutionary Offensive, which nationalized the remainder of the private sector, accentuated volunteer mobilization, and sacrificed consumption to achieve record capital accumulation.5 In July 1968, Fidel declared that the Cuban people would use political awareness to create wealth, and not money or wealth to create political awareness. 3 Prez Stable, The Cuban Revolution, 95. 4 Carmelo MesaLago, Cuba in the 1970s 7. 5 Ibid 7 8.
1 13 This appeal to conciencia meant that a communist consciousness would be the major means by which Cuba would overcome underdevelopment. For the next four years, Cuba would experience scarcity and seek to create Communism with a radical emphasis on moral incentives, that is, voluntarism. The movement culminated in 1970 with a major popular mobilization to harvest ten million tons of sugar, an achievement that would supposedly launch Cuba on a path to self sufficiency.6 This chapter explores the Presbyterian experience during this period of SinoGuevari sta economic experiment. W hile the mirrored the Revolutio ns demands for total sovereignty from the United States by ultimately organizing an independent, national Presbyterian Church, they failed to embrace the Revolutions appeal to conciencia Thus, Presbyterian pastors in 1967, leaders of the new church pri vately, continued to publicly declare their support for the Revolutions nationalist, anti imperialist, and social goals but refused to make the necessary financial sacrifices that Cubas radical economic experiment required of the New Man. Ecclesiast ical Independence and Opposition The Presbyterians were one of the few denominations to take quick steps to alter their identity in response to the Revolution, resulting in an ideologically controversial independence from their U.S. mother church. The ch urch had enjoyed relative autonomy well before 1959, at least administratively. However, the church remained heavily dependent on U.S. financial backing. The independence of the Cuban Presbyterians was further complicated by the fact that the denomination was an organic part of the UPCUSA. This relationship with a U.S. based denomination earned the 6 Bengelsdorf, The Problem of Democracy in Cuba 89 91.
114 indignation of some within the revolutionary faction of the church in the early 1960s. These critics believed that the church would never be able to fully identify with the Revolution as long as it was financially dependent on the BNM. While the proCommunist sector of the church, lead by the Rev. Sergio Arce, contended that institutional and financial independence was necessary, even moderately prorevolutionary pastors and lay leaders remained loyal to the UPCUSA because they had no strong desire to forgo North American funding at a time of increasing economic hardship in Cuba.7 In response to the dire situation and increasing isolation of the church in Cuba, the difficulty in travel and communication between U.S. and Cuban Presbyterians, and requests from the Presbytery of Cuba, the General Assembly of the UPCUSA established the Administrative Commission on Cuba to coordinate the founding of an independ ent Cuban church in 1965. Under the chairmanship of the Rev. Ansley G. Van Dyke, the commission settled issues relating to church property, budgets, transfer payments, pensions, and refugees with their Cuban brethren.8 Previously, in October 1964, the BN M had transferred all church property to the Presbytery of Cuba to prevent any confiscation by the revolutionary government and to give the church in Cuba greater autonomy at a time when communication had become increasingly difficult. In preparation for the ecclesiastical independence of the church, the Presbytery of Cuba, which would cease to exist, transferred all assets and liabilities to the Iglesia PresbiterianaReformada en Cuba (Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba or IPRC). 7 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 130131. 8 PHS: 92 120339, General Assembly Administrative Commission on Cuba, 1966 1968.
115 While Cuban Presbyteri ans were given liberty to organize their own church, the UPCUSA supervised their bylaws and constitution to ensure that they maintained the church polity and structure inherited from North American missionaries.9 The church was formally inaugurated on Janu ary 22, 1967 at a worship service in Havana following the churchs first official meeting. The Rev. Francisco Norniella was elected moderator, Dr. Emilio Rodrguez Busto served as vicemoderator, and the reverends Sergio Arce and Ral Fernndez Ceballos became stated clerk and treasurer, respectively. The leaderships composition reflected a strong move in favor of the churchs most left wing faction. These individuals represented some of the most vocal integrationist voices with respect to the Communist government in the Presbyterian Church. Six hundred individuals attended the inaugural service, representing twenty nine churches and twenty seven missions.10 Cuban Presbyterians ecclesiastical independence also received some vocal and significant opposition. The Administrative Commission on Cuba arranged for dissident pastors to be transferred to the United States where they would remain within the UPCUSA. Pastors David Anchn, Gregorio Maciques, Abi Castro, Juan Crdenas, David Fernndez, Osvaldo Fi allo, Pablo Veita, Emilio Veita, Antonio Entenza, Manuel lvarez, Luis Gmez, Eduardo Hernndez, Manuel Osorio, Eduardo Glvez, Lenier Gallardo, and Victor Valds requested their transfer to the United States because they 9 Ibid 10 Ibid
116 did not want to belong to a new national church.11 In response, the Presbytery of Cuba granted letters of demission to all pastors who did not elect to enter the new church.12 Throughout the late 1960s, the UPCUSA coordinated with the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, its internatio nal partners, and the U.S. government to secure visas for pastors who did not join the new church and were left without any means of support in Cuba.13 These dissident pastors had lost their jobs, as this was a government requirement for all those who had applied for permission to leave. They could not hold a government job or a j ob where they influenced people. Instead, only jobs requiring manual labor such as working on farms or in cities in casual capacity were open to them. Furthermore, they had to l eave their homes because the government would otherwise have confiscated the property. In the meantime, the UPCUSA sought to help those pastors and pensioners financially, even contemplating the transfer of additional funds to the IPRC for them to pay these pastors a stipend. The UPCUSA even suggested funds be diverted via the Swiss Embassy in Havana and acknowledged, pension money paid to designated people in the United States may very well find its way into the gray market. Deposits in dollars in the United States may be exchanged for pesos in Cuba at an increased rate.14 By January 1968, the majority 11 PHS: 92 120339, Status of Church Workers in the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Cuba, Jan. 27, 1967. 12 PHS: 92 120339, General Assembly Administrative Commission on Cuba, 1966 1968. 13 PHS: 92 120339, Presbyterian Ministers and their families who need to leav e Cuba, July 25, 1966. 14 PHS: 92 120339, Letter from John Coventry Smith (in Geneva) to Donald Harris, Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations of the UPCUSA, Aug. 21, 1967
117 of Cubas dissident Presbyterian pastors had managed to leave the country and were living in the United States or Spain.15 The Synod of New Jersey, to which the Presbytery of Cuba belonged, vehemently opposed the separation of Cuban Presbyterians.16 In a statement detailing their opposition, the Synod of New Jersey claimed, This proposal is described by many in the church and outside of it as a poli tical movement to integrate the Presbyterian Church in Cuba with the Communist regime Contention and strife are now dividing the church in Cuba nine ministers have resigned as a protest against it Out of a total of forty four ministers a few years ago, eleven now remain serving active churches We also have reliable information that those who voted in favor of this action were under the impression, give by these progovernment leaders of the church, that the Board of National Missions favored this propos al as the only way by which the Board could continue to send money to support the church in Cuba.17 Meanwhile, the Rev. Emilio Veita made the most vocal and widely circulated condemnation of the new church out of any other pastor. He claimed to have resig ned from the church because he could not belong to a church which had lost the complete essence of its meaning. Veita described in detail how the church after 1959, in his view, became deeply divided between supporters and dissenters of the Revolution and how the prorevolutionary faction used the church and its publications for political propaganda. According to Veita, a political equilibrium between defenders and detractors of the Revolution was maintained until 1965, when the revolutionary group 15 Inter Office Correspondence, Board of National Missions, From Donald Harri s to the Rev. Van Dyke, Jan. 29, 1968. 16 Letter from the Rev. Hugh M. Miller, Stated Clerk of the Synod of New Jersey to the commissioners of the 178th General Assembly of the PCUSA, May 6, 1966 17 A Statement by the Synod of New Jersey, May 6, 1966.
118 seized control. Responding the the motives behind ecclesiastical independence, Veita went on to claim, This new church was born under very contradictory circumstances. The first reason given for wanting the new church was nationalistic. They stated: Any ecclesiastical or economic dependence on the Board would jeopardize the picture of the church in the eyes of the Revolution. At a meeting of the Presbytery in September of 1965, a motion was presented that no economic aid was to be accepted from the Board because such aid weakened the given capacity of the Cuban churches. The motion was defeated by those who believed that without such aid small churches would have to be closed and other aspects of the churchs work would have to be terminated, since there was no economic plan to face this situation. It seemed very strange that the Presbytery would refuse this aid, when at a meeting in Geneva, which cost thousands of dollars, representatives from the Presbytery of Cuba and the Board had agreed upon the plan for future aid. But, to our surprise, when the question of aid was brought up at the first meeting of the General Assembly of the new church, those who before had opposed the aid were now in favor of it. The question of nationalism was then annull ed.18 Veita also described the new leaders of the church as opportunists who had betrayed their own ideals. He specifically singled out Arce, Fernndez Ceballos, Camps, Cepeda, and Norniella as the most radical faction.19 He criticized the short term vi sits of representatives from the World Council of Churches (WCC) and churches in Communist dominated countries because they were unable to see or understand the Cuban reality. In Veitas view, in order to learn the truth, it was necessary to have lived with the humble people and to have shared their anxieties and frustrations.20 The balance of power within the Presbyterian Church gradually tilted in favor of the more radical faction as conservative pastors and lay leaders left the country 18 PHS: 92 120339, The Rev. Emilio Veitas Confidential Report, Apr. 27, 1967. 19 PHS: 92 120339, Confidential Report to 178th General Assembly of the UPCUSA, Administrative Commission on Cuba, Apr. 27, 1967. 20 PHS: 92 120339, The Rev. Emilio Veitas Confidential Report, Apr. 27, 1967.
119 between 1962 a nd 1965. Some conservatives stayed on, but when it became clear that the accommodationist wing of the Presbyterian leadership would gain control of the newly independent Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba in 1967, about eight pastors, most of the remaining dissidents, finally went into exile. In all, what had been a forty six member pastorate in 1959 was reduced to twenty one pastors by 1967, with only seventeen of those being active.21 While the faction led by Arce, Fernndez Ceballos, Camps, Cepeda, a nd Norniella clearly positioned itself in the integrationist camp, some pastors believed these individuals and the church as a whole had not gone far enough in doing away with vestiges of North American identity and influence. In 1967, the Rev. Benito Lauzurique publically condemned the leaders of the IPRC. According to Lauzurique, church leaders lived parasitically waiting the affluence of yankis and the comforts of the American way of life. He condemned the pastors who traveled outside of Cuba and re turned filled with goods and funds from the United States.22 In fact, the following year the reverends Norniella, Camps, Arce, Perez Coca, Piedra, Madruga, Ham, Urbizo, and Fernndez Ceballos traveled to Prague to attend the international Assembly of Peace. Later in 1968, Arce traveled to Geneva for a meeting between theologians and Marxists.23 Lauzuriques critique largely reflects his own nationalist, anti imperialist, and revolutionary ideology but also highlights the hidden agenda with which some leaders of 21 PHS: F MN15 R259np, Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, 2nd Annual Assembly, Jan. 2628, 1968. 22 PHS: F MN15 R259np, Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, 3rd Annual Assembly, Jan. 2426, 1969. 23 PHS: 301.7 24 15, Cuba Meeti ng Geneva, Mar. 30, 1968.
120 the church sought independence. While they paid lip service to a nationalist and anti imperialist discourse, the financial reality of the church kept Cuban Presbyterians closely tied to their U.S. sponsors even after administrative independence. F urthermore, their ability to travel outside of Cuba and to maintain contact with the outside world represented a significant financial and personal advantage over ordinary Cubans whose ability to travel and communicate with foreigners remained limited. In essence, church leaders represented a kind of elite in a revolutionary society that publically endorsed egalitarianism. These Presbyterian leaders, while portraying themselves as defenders of the Revolution, did not respond to Fidels appeal to conciencia They sought to minimize the impacts Cubas radical economic experiment could have on their lives. At a time when travel outside Cuba was restricted to a small and well connected government elite, Presbyterian leaders travelled to Europe for conferences and meetings with their North American sponsors. Veita even suggested in his condemnation that the Cuban government had incriminating evidence against individuals like Ferndez Ceballos and that their cooperation with the revolutionary state was the pri ce for silence. This ecclesiastical elite of the Presbyterian Church never embraced the unselfish, egalitarian, self sacrificing, and frugal characteristics of the New Man. The Cuban Project and the Board of Pensions The 1963 ban on financial transfers to Cuba had placed Cuban Protestants in a difficult situation. Unable to support their Cuban missionary churches direct, North American denominations sought to circumvent U.S. policies. Following an agreement with the U.S. State Depar tment, the U.S. churches were authorized to transfer their financial responsibilities to foreign organizations while increasing their contributions to
121 those organizations, but without specifically designating those contributions for Cuba. For most churches, the WCC became the vehicle through which they could continue sponsoring their Cuban brethren and the plan became known as the Cuba Project. In November 1964, the WCC put forth a proposal designed, from its point of view, to meet the goals of the Cuba P roject and protect the CCIE from any problems with the Cuban government.24 Under the Cuba Project, U.S. denominations would send funds to the WCC in Geneva, which in turn would divert the funds to Cuba, where it was administered by the CCIE and distributed among all of its members. By the summer of 1965, the infrastructure of the Cuba Project was in place. The WCC had originally envisioned a twoyear program, but the Cuba Project continued into the early 1970s. For 1968, the very same year of the Revolutionary Offensive, Cuban Protestants requested $318,500 from the Cuba Project, including $49,000 for the Presbyterians. The IPRC eventually received $48,000 in Cuba Project funds for that year, the second highest amount among all denominations.25 As part of the Cuba Project, the BNM sent funds to the WCC in Geneva to subsidize the pension funds of active Cuban pastors and workers who were now part of the independent IPRC. In spite of ecclesiastical independence, Cuban Presbyterians were not prepared to be financially self sufficient. While Presbyterians had gradually reduced their requests for outside funding, by 1969, their last year in the Cuba Project, they were still looking for as much as thirty percent 24 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 6164. 25 PHS: F MN15 R259np, Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, 2nd Annual Assembly, Cuba Project 1968 Budget, Sep. 14, 1967.
122 (30%) of their budget from the United States.26 Presbyterians eventually experienced a deep impact on their regular budget with the loss of Cuba Project funds, felt first by the pastors themselves, who took a twenty percent (20%) pay cut once these funds ran out.27 By funding Protestant churches in Cuba, the Cuba Project ensured the survival of an important U.S. influenced element in Cuba, despite the embargo and the break in diplomatic relations. Furthermore, this highlights the fact that Cuban Presbyterians, by the mere fact of their U.S. ties, weat hered an economically challenging period in late 1960s Cuba with support that other Cubans could not access. This financial dependency on the United States sharply contrasts with the prorevolutionary rhetoric of the Presbyterian leadership. While averag e Cubans were being asked to sacrifice, volunteer their labor on state farms and work for moral incentives alone, Presbyterian pastors remained attached to their U.S. sponsors. Meanwhile, pension payments to retired church workers and pastors represen ted a significant challenge to the denomination. The UPCUSA wanted to take care of retired church workers still living in Cuba and with pension funds under the Board of Pensions, as well as pastors and their families who did not join the independent churc h but who were still living in the country. In total, there were twenty five pensioners in Cuba in 1967. The difficulty in sending money to Cuba had prevented many of these individuals from receiving their payments. In response, twenty one requested their pensions be sent to relatives in the United States while the remaining four asked the 26 PHS: F MN15 R259np, Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, 3rd Annual Assembly, Jan. 2426, 1969. 27 Corse, Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond 6667.
123 Board of Pensions to hold their funds. The amount of money held by the Board of Pensions averaged about $1,000 per retiree, evidence that the UPCUSA had been unable t o send payments for months.28 In the case of a Cuban pensioner who had asked that his pension be sent to a person in the United States, the Board of Pensions required a letter every six months authorizing the transaction to continue. However, it was a dangerous procedure for a person in Cuba to say they wanted dollars to stay in the United States instead of going to Cuba, and to say it every six months. The Cuban government was in desperate need of foreign currency to advance the revolutionary project. A ttempts to leave money outside the country could be interpreted as counterrevolutionary by the state. As a result, the Board of Pensions agreed to eliminate the requirement for Cubans.29 While the Cuban masses were being mobilized into the cane fields f or the 1970 harvest, Presbyterian pastors sought secure their financial future through U.S. derived pensions accounts. The UPCUSA agreed to continue administrating pensions until the end of 1970, at which time the IPRC would take over responsibility.30 Un der the arrangement, the Board of Pensions sent pensioners in Cuba funds via the WCC and the Cuba Project. In addition to the regular payments from the Board of Pensions, the BNM subsidized these payments through special welfare assistance grants of $100 for 28 PHS: 92 120339, Accumulated Pensions being held for Cuban Pensioners, Feb. 24, 1967. 29 PHS: 92 120339, Letter from W. Donald Harris Associate at the Division of Church Strategy and Development to Dr. Donald L. Hibbard, Board of Pensions, Apr. 4, 1967. 30 PHS: 92 120339, General Assembly Administrative Commission on Cuba, 1966 1968.
124 single persons and $140 per month for husband and wife. These grants continued until December 31, 1968.31 From U.S. Dependency to Global Outreach The ecclesiastical independence of Cuban Presbyterians and the Cuba Project contributed to an increase i n international cooperation. Cuban Presbyterians had previously relied exclusively on their North American sponsors and their degree of international cooperation generally only extended to fellow missionary churches in Latin America, such as the Presbyter y of Puerto Rico. However, the Cuba Project required a greater level of coordination with European Protestants and the establishment of the IPRC promoted greater dialogue and ecumenical work with other Presbyterian bodies abroad and other denominations in Cuba. At the IPRCs second national assembly in January 1968, guests included some U.S. representatives but also many international church leaders. The moderator of the UPCUSA, Dr. Ganse Little was present, as well as the Rev. Dr. John Coventry Smith, g eneral secretary of the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations (COEMAR) of the UPCUSA. But guests from Puerto Rico, Hungary, Canada, East Germany, and Mexico demonstrate the international focus of the IPRC and their timid attempts to forge an independent national identity. Furthermore, the IPRC sought to join the World Presbyterian Alliance (WPA) and the WCC in their own right.32 The church received notice that they would be unable to join the WCC as a full member because they lacked 31 PHS: 301.7 23 17, Summary Statement Related to the COEMARs Assuming Responsibility on behalf of the UPCUSA for Relations with Cuba, Jun. 27, 1968. 32 PHS: F MN15 R259np, Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, 2nd Annual Assembly, Jan. 2628, 1968.
125 10,000 member s, and instead were offered associate membership.33 In addition, at their third national assembly in early 1969, the IPRC reaffirmed their commitment to increasing and strengthening ties with church bodies and ecumenical organizations abroad. In addition to funds from the Cuba Project, Cuban Presbyterians benefited financially from greater cooperation with European Protestants. In 1969, the Dutch Reformed Church donated $6,000 in financial aid to the churchs Center of National Activities in Santa Clara.34 Even as Cuban Presbyterians moved forward in consolidating their ties with international organizations and ecumenical bodies they remained reluctant to discard the most enticing aspects of their U.S. missionary heritage. Pastors ordained before the chu rchs administrative independence remained under the pension plan of the UPCUSAs Board of Pensions as late as 1970. As prospects for full financial independence became a pressing reality that year, some church leaders sought reassurance from the UPCUSA t hat their participation in the pension fund would not be cut short. With this sentiment, the Rev. Ral Fernndez Ceballos contacted the BNM in November to clear a misunderstanding regarding the transfer of pension responsibilities to the IPRC. Fernndez Ceballos wanted reassurance that the UPCUSAs commitment to Cuba would continue until at least the end of 1970, date agreed upon by both sides.35 The following month, the Rev, Francisco Norniella requested a fiveyear extension of 33 PHS: F MN15 R259np, Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, 3rd Annual Assembly, Jan. 2426, 1969. 34 PHS: F MN15 R259np, Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, 3rd Annual Assembly, Jan. 2426, 1969. 35 PHS: 301.7 23 18, Letter from the Rev. Ral Fernndez Ceballos to Donald Harris (BNM), Nov. 28, 1969.
126 the pension plan for Cuba, alleging difficulty in dealing with the Cuban government to establish their own pension plan.36 Furthermore, Presbyterian pastors, accustomed to relatively high standards of living, remained reluctant to accept the financial constraints of living in late 1960s Cuba. The archival record indicates that Norniella, Fernndez Ceballos and Cepeda owned cars and in response, the Rev. Carlos Camps requested his own vehicle, citing poor transportation and difficulty moving from church to church.37 Many other Cub ans would have likewise enjoyed and benefited from owning their own means of transportation. However, after 1968, it was no longer legal to buy or sell a car in Cuba without state mediation. It was a reward reserved for highranking Communists, diplomats and exceptionally needed technical experts, like neurosurgeons and highly specialized doctors. The Revolutionary Offensive represented a full scale attack on selfish attitudes attributed to Cubas Capitalist past. The 56,000 small businesses remaining in private hands were nationalized and farmers markets eliminated. In Bengelsdorfs view, the idea behind this final round of nationalizations was in keeping with the notion of fostering the growth of a communist consciousness, or conciencia .38 This is the very thing that leading Presbyterian clerics, such as Camps, lacked. Their demands for material goods demonstrate that they were not satisfied with the moral incentives the SinoGuevarista economic model offered Cubans as a reward for hard work and commitment to the Revolution. These actions 36 PHS: 301.7 23 18, the Rev. Francisco Norniella Pension Plan Extension Request, Dec. 9, 1969. 37 PHS: 301.7 23 18, the Rev. Carlos Camps request for a car, Oct. 14, 1969. 38 Bengelsdorf, The Problem of Democracy in Cuba 92.
127 lead one to question these clerics commitment to a financially independent Cuban church and even the Revolution, in spite of their rhetoric. Meanwhile, some pensioners sought to access their accumulated pensions held by the Board of Pensions to buy consumer goods abroad. In April 1970, Consuelo Oropesa, widow of the Rev. Jorge Oropesa, requested that part of her pension be sent to her son who was traveling to Europe. Her son was a professor at the medical school of the University of Havana and was traveling to Europe on behalf of the Cuban government to establish contacts with medical schools in the Soviet Union, Germany, France, and Spain. Her son would use the funds to buy medicines and clothes on her behalf .39 The following year, she requested over $2,000 from her pension fund to be sent to a bank in West Berlin. Cubas Communist government had granted Oropesas son permission to import a car and he would use the funds to purchase a car and take it to Cuba.40 The self serving actions of these individuals in the middle of the 1970 sugar harvest leads one to question their ideological and personal commitments to the Revolution. Oropesas son was undoubtedly well connected to the government and was deeply integ rated into the Communist state, for otherwise he would not have been given the opportunity to travel to Cuba during the countrys largest mass mobilization in history. But perhaps, the attitudes of these elite individuals within the Presbyterian Church re flect a much broader phenomenon in Cuban society, namely the states failure in fostering conciencia and forming the New Man. 39 PHS: 301.7 23 18, Letter from Consuelo Oropesa to Donald Harris, Apr. 26, 1970. 40 PHS: 301.7 23 18, Letter from Consuelo Oropesa to Donald Harris, Oct. 6, 1971.
128 Bengelsdorf suggests that reliance upon Communist consciousness resulted in sloppy worker discipline. In 1969, at Cubanacan, the Cuban arts school, students were disciplined for lateness by not being allowed to do voluntary work in the fields. But, more generally, conscience working hours as they were called, meaning that no worker had to punch in, resulted in a general laten ess and slackness. The year of the harvest witnessed a dramatic increase in worker absenteeism and in the percentage of those permanently leaving the work force. It witnessed, as well, a dramatic overall decline in productivity in both the regular and the voluntary workforce.41 Marifeli Prez Stable expresses a similar sentiment. She argues that mass mobilizations happened under military discipline and were not always the result of self sacrificing unselfishness. Conciencia did not inspire most people to work for the collective well being, suggests Prez Stable. Instead, workers pursued their own selfish interests as hundreds of thousands swelled the ranked of absenteeism [and] wasted the working day.42 While Presbyterians actions might reflect the failure of conciencia their public expressions of support for the Revolution reveal significant contradictions and suggest that some Presbyterian leaders maintained a hidden agenda. The sources demonstrate that these individuals benefited in ways no or dinary Cuban did during the late 1960s. They traveled abroad, maintained interest accruing savings accounts in the United States (as the pension funds essentially functioned as such), and received regalitos or gifts, from their U.S. sponsors. While the UPCUSA decided to end its official participation in Cuban pensions at the end of 1970, active and retired Cuban pastors 41 Bengelsdorf, The Problem of Democracy in Cuba 97 98. 42 Prez Stable, The Cuban Revolution, 101.
129 and church workers had the option of maintaining their accumulated pensions with the Board of Pensions indefinitely.43 This is exactly w hat Berta Torres Ortega, a retired church worker, did with her pension. Torres Ortega arrived in Madrid in 1971 with over $13,500 in accumulated pension funds.44 However, Presbyterians were willing to end their dependency on the Cuban Projec t sooner than other denominations. Unlike the Episcopal Church, whose ecclesiastical independence occurred under circumstances that indicate Cubans were not in accord, Presbyterians willingly sought their administrative autonomy and while other Protestant s continued to depend on Cuba Project funds from 1970 to 1972, Presbyterians exited the program ahead of schedule.45 Following the end of Cuba Project funds, Cuban Presbyterians were forced to finally break with their U.S. based church model. In response to impeding pay cuts, the church approved in 1970 a constitutional amendment to guarantee pastors the right to hold secular jobs outside the church and pastors accepted a twenty percent (20%) salary reduction.46 It is misleading, however, to assume that t he end of the Cuba Project meant the end of all financial transfers to Cuba. In fact, under the agreement ending formal ties between the UPCUSA and the IPRC, Cuban Presbyterians could still request funds from the United States through the UPCUSAs Regional Office for Latin America of the COEMAR.47 In essence, U.S. Presbyterians agreed to transfer formal responsibility 43 PHS: 301.7 23 18, COEMAR Memorandum of Understanding, Sep. 2, 1969. 44 PHS: 301.7 23 18, Berta Torres Ortega Pensions, 1971. 45 PHS: 301.7 23 18, Report on Geneva Meeting, July 2329 (published Aug. 1, 1969) 46 IV Asamblea Nacional, Heraldo Cristiano, Jan. 2425, 1970. 47 PHS: 301.7 23 18, COE MAR Memorandum of Understanding, Sep. 2, 1969.
130 with the Cuban church from the BMN to informal ties through COEMAR. Under the new arrangement, Cuban Presbyterians could still request funds on a caseby case basis via COEMAR. Even church leaders sought to maintain their financial ties to their friends in the UPCUSA into the 1970s. For example, Dr. Emilio Rodriguez Busto asked the Rev. Donald Harris for the car parts he needed to get his ol d car running. In response, Harris offered to buy Rodriguez Busto a European car if he could manage to obtain permission to import it to Cuba.48 This was not the first or only instance of direct personal aid to Cuban pastors. Previously, in 1967, the BNM had already sought to arrange sending car parts to Cuba. Canada, traditionally a country used to circumvent the embargo, tightened its export policies in November 1967. Canadas Export Permit Department refused to send U.S. made goods to Cuba in that year. Conclusion This chapter illustrates a church plagued by significant contradictions. On the one hand, the more radical faction of the denomination secured the administrative independence of the church and established an institutionally Cuban church body, the Iglesia PresbiterianaReformada en Cuba (IPRC). The leadership of this denomination embraced the nationalist and anti imperialist rhetoric of the Revolution and actively worked with the Revolution in spite of their disagreements over Marxisms atheist ideology. At the same time, the financial reality of the church demonstrates that Cuban Presbyterians remained unwilling to fully embrace their independence. While nominally free from North American tutelage, the church remained financially dependent on 48 PHS: 301.7 23 18, Correspondence between Donald Harris and Emilio Rodriguez Busto, 1970.
131 transfer payments from the UPCUSA. Initially these funds came through the Cuba Project and the WCC. But even after Presbyterians formally withdrew from the project in 1970, they continued to benefit from personal and informal ties with their U.S. bre thren to secure goods and extra funds. Leading pastors were able to travel to Europe to attend conferences and meetings, not only in the Eastern Bloc but also in Western European cities like Geneva and Madrid. These opportunities for travel and contact wi th the outside world gave Presbyterians an advantage over other Cubans. In essence, they were able to maintain remnants of a prerevolutionary past that most Cubans had been forced to abandon. Average Cuban workers did not have pension funds in U.S. doll ars waiting for them nor did they have the contacts to arrange for car parts to be sent to the island. The shortage of goods readily available before 1959 prompted church leaders and former church workers who remain in Cuba to use their U.S. contacts to help alleviate their financial situation. Ultimately, Presbyterians failed to adopt the most basic tenets of the revolutionary cause during the SinoGuevarista stage of economic development. Conciencia did not represent a guiding principle for Presbyterian leaders. Instead, they sought out material well being through their ties to the United States and failed to adopt the egalitarian, frugal, self sacrificing, and unselfish traits of the New Man. As Bengelsdorf and Prez Stable suggest, Presbyterians w ere not unique in rejecting conciencia The Revolution failed to create New Men out of the Cuban youth and the 19661971 economic experiment collapsed after the disappointing results of the 1970 sugar harvest.
132 But one fact remains problematic: the inherent contradictions between the public discourse of church leaders and the financial reality revealed in the archival material. The self serving attitude of Presbyterian leaders not only contradicts the ideological tenets of the Revolution, but also demonstrates the existence of Presbyterian elites that appropriated the language of the Revolution but refused to internalize its core principles. Given these circumstances, one is left to question the Presbyterian elites commitment to the revolutionary proc ess and whether their public displays of support represented more than just empty, self serving rhetoric.
133 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSIONS The Presbyterian experience during the period of state consolidation between 1959 and 1971 was deeply shaped by the rapidly changing relations between the U.S. and Cuban government. As an organic part of a U.S. based institution, the Presbyterian Church in Cuba watched with strong interest the breakdown of diplomatic relations between their government and the government of their financial benefactors, the UPCUSA. During the first eighteen months of the revolutionary government, Presbyterians anticipated little change in their relationship with their North American brethren. Instead, they welcomed the Revolution and positioned th emselves as a self appointed vanguard for the Revolution. Presbyterians hoped to be, not only supporters of the revolutionary government, but partners in the transformation of Cuba. However, the breakdown of U.S. Cuban relations during 1960 quickly reveal ed that Presbyterians would not be able to continue with their identities and institutional bonds intact. However, they hoped to maintain the financial links that had supported Presbyterian missionary work in Cuba since the U.S. occupation of the island ( 18981902). The U.S. economic embargo against Cuba, the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961), the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), and President Kennedys ban on financial transfer to Cuba ultimately forced Presbyterians to reluctantly reorganize themselves. In spite of these challenges, financial ties with the UPCUSA continued throughout the 1960s as the Cuban Revolution consolidated its political power on the island. Moreover, Presbyterians were deeply shaped by the changing economic reality of Cuba, as the countr y embarked on a process of collectivization and stateled import substitution industrialization during the early years of the Revolution. While many
134 Presbyterians initially welcomed the economic and social reforms, by 1962, the radical transformation had produced an economic crisis that presented a significant challenge to the financial stability of the denominations work in Cuba. During the period of economic recession between 1962 and 1963, increasing numbers of Presbyterian pastors and congregants lef t the country and settled in the United States. This exodus was further accentuated when the Presbyterian Church in Cuba sought institutional and administrative independence in 1967. The creation of an independent national Presbyterian Church in Cuba repr e sented a controversial and highly disputed measure. Leading Presbyterians, both Cuban and American, voiced their dissent, but the UPCUSA agreed to a friendly transition that maintain many of the financial bonds of the prerevolutionary period. It is in this context that Presbyterians entered the most radical phase of the Revolution. They had an independent church but continued to be heavily funded by the United States at a time when Cuba adopted a model of economic development that emphasized egalitaria nism. Ultimately, Presbyterians were unable to embrace the Revolutions most difficult demands. The appeal to conciencia required a rejection of much of their pre1959 comfort and standard of living, something Presbyterian leaders sought to maintain. W hile Fidel made demands for self sacrifice and volunteerism, Presbyterians tried to secure their U.S. pension funds and Presbyterian elite s managed to travel outside of Cuba during a period of years when the island became increasingly insular. The Presbyt erian experience during the fourth phase of state consolidation between 1966 and 1971 highlights the existence of a religious leadership that publically embraced the
135 rhetoric of the Revolution but internally failed to accept the most challenging tenets of the Guevarista ideology. Contributions and Significance My research demonstrates that Presbyterians welcomed the Revolution with euphoria and excitement. Presbyterian leader, Rafael Cepeda, has described this initial honeymoon between the church and the Cuban state as two years of euphoria, and this accurately captures the general sentiment of the Christian community in Cuba during 1959 and most of 1960. Presbyterian in particular saw the Revolution as an opportunity for expanding their social work on the island. Although the execution of former Batistianos frightened some in the United States and within conservative sectors of the church in Cuba, Presbyterians accepted and justified the actions as a necessary evil. As the Revolution radicalized and it became impossible to deny the Communist character of the revolutionary state, an important faction of the church sought to accommodate to the changes and some, such as Sergio Arce, even embraced the Marxism of the Revolution. I argue that these indi viduals helped legitimize the revolutionary government as they presented an image of religious toleration in a country where religious freedoms became increasingly limited by the mid1960s. The Rev. Rafael Cepeda described the Revolution as the kingdom o f God on Earth in 1959 and continued to remain a supporter of the revolutionary state throughout the 1960s.1 Some, like Arce, became active and willing collaborators of the Communist state, serving as the Revolutions representatives within the Protestant community. In 1 1 PHS: 301.7 24 23, excerpt of Mario Llerenas article in Bohemia, Oct. 15, 1961.
136 exchange, these leaders earned a degree of privilege that ordinary Cubans would never access. The nationalization of Presbyterian schools was explained as a negative consequence of an otherwise benevolent revolution. As Presbyterian leaders tried to explain the governments actions to their North American sponsors, they shifted the blame of the nationalization to conservative denominations, the Catholic Church, and the fear of counterrevolution. Presb yterians concentrated on convincing t heir U.S. sponsors that their work in Cuba continued with little government interruption. However, by the mid1960s, the internal correspondence of the church in Cuba reveals that the revolutionary government was in fact interfering with their work, through petty harassment, atheist indoctrination of their youth, and eventually the conscription of seminarians into the UMAP. It would be inaccurate to conclude from these observations that Presbyterians overwhelmingly and wholeheartedly supported the Revolution. In fact, as one can see in chapter 5, opposition to the Revolution was strong within the church, even among some of the leaders who had initially supported the new government. With this work, I attempt to dispel idea that Presbyterians were a radic al denomination within the revolutionary experience. Perhaps the Presbyterians have earned the reputation of being one of the most leftist denominations because of the vocal and public role of some of their most revolutionary leaders. However, in my research I have tried to highlight some of the most critical voices of dissent within the church as well as the actions of the more moderate and conservative faction. The mere fact that approximately thirty five percent (35%) of the churchs membership went into exile
137 demonstrates the ideological split within the church. In fact, this membership loss is proportionally much greater to the overall demographic loss of the country during the period, indicating that Presbyterians were as a whole more likely to emigrate than their nonPresbyterians countrymen. Cuban Presbyterians entered the most radical phase of the Revolution with important contradictions.. They had achieved their administrative independence, joined international religious bodies on their own right, and encouraged ecumenism. Yet, their leading pastors continued to obtain goods from the United States and remained tied to the UPCUSAs Board of Pensions. The Rev. Benito Lauzurique initially voiced his disdain of the situation in 1967, but leadi ng Presbyterians continued to embrace their U.S. ties while simultaneously living in and supporting a nationalist, anti imperialist, and Marxist Revolution into the early 1970s. My research demonstrates that Presbyterians failed to adopt the most fundament al doctrines of the revolutionary cause during the SinoGuevarista stage of economic transformation. Conciencia did not represent a guiding principle for Presbyterian leaders. Instead, they sought out material well being through their ties to the United States and failed to adopt the egalitarian, frugal, self sacrificing, and unselfish traits of the New Man. As Bengelsdorf and Prez Stable suggest, Presbyterians were not unique in rejecting conciencia The Revolution failed to create New Men out of th e Cuban youth and the 19661971 economic experiment collapsed after the disappointing results of the 1970 sugar harvest. But one fact remains problematic and represents an important contribution to the historiography: the inherent contradictions between the public discourse of church
138 leaders and the financial reality revealed in the archival material. The self serving attitude of Presbyterian leaders not only contradicts the ideological tenets of the Revolution, but also demonstrates the existence of a Presbyterian elite that appropriated the language of the Revolution but refused to internalize its core principles. Given these circumstances, one is left to question the Presbyterian elites commitment to the revolutionary process and whether their pubi c displays of support represented more than just empty, self serving rhetoric. The historiography on Cuban Protestantism in the post 1959 period is relatively limited and I hope these research findings and contributions represent a welcomed addition to the literature. I make no claims of generalization and the case of the Presbyterian Church is ultimately very specific to one denomination. However, I believe much can be learned from a denominational study of Cuban Protestantism. Certainly other churches experienced different internal conflicts and managed their relations with their North American brethren and the Cuban state in different ways. Other Cuban Protestants were Cuban in origin and were forced to deal with the Revolution independently and without outside support. However, these churches had already grown accustomed to functioning without U.S. sponsorship. Meanwhile, other denominations were even more dependent on the United States and their mission boards for personnel and funds. Presbyterians are not representative, but they are not unique. While they earned a reputation for being the most leftist denomination, radical factions existed in other denominations. Suggestions for Further Research Additional research should seek to examine and compare the plight of other denominations, perhaps churches who adopted the bunker mentality and decided not
139 to cooperate with the Revolution, except where it was necessary for their existence. The Baptists are one such example. Furthermore, the period during the 1970s and 1980s, when Cuba came under more direct influence from the Soviet Union, has received very limited attention in the scholarship. The study of Protestantism after the early revolutionary years and before the liberalization of religious activity in the 1990s represents a significant gap in the historiography, both for historians and scholars of religion in Latin America. Meanwhile, studies like my own can be enriched with additional archival material from Cuba, especially the archives of the seminary in Matanzas or congregational records. Interviews with surviving pastors and congregants would add more depth to works on Protestants in Cuba and allow for a more grassroots analysis if the Protestant experience. The history that is reflected in the archives is one of elites, as only pastors and some important lay leaders ever managed leave behind official records and correspondence. With this shortcoming, it comes difficult to reach the average congregant. Meanwhile, much work can be don e on the Protestant experience in exile. As I have sought to maintain my focus on Cuba, I have only included the exile experience when necessary for my research objectives. However, the Protestant archives are rich in primary sources detailing the experi ence of Protestants in Miami and other parts of the United States.
140 LIST OF REFERENCES Arce Martnez, Sergio. La misin de la Iglesia en una Sociedad Socialista. Havana: Editorial Caminos, 2004. Bengelsdorf, Carolle. The Problem of Democracy in Cuba: Between Vision and Reality New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Corse, Theron. Protestants, Revolution, and the CubaU.S. Bond Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007. Garca, Mara Cristina. Havana USA: Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans in S outh Florida, 19591994 Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996. Guerra, Lillian. Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption, and Resistance, 19591971.Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press 2012 Kirk, John. Between God and the Party: Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Cuba. Tampa: University of South Florida Press, 1989. Luther, Martin. The Freedom of a Christian Man in Hans Hillerbrand, ed. The Protestant Reformation (New York: Harper, 1968), 153172. Martnez Fernndez, Luis. Crypto Protestants and PseudoCatholics in the NineteenthCentury Hispanic Caribbean in Frontiers, Plantations, and Walled Cities: Essays on Society, Culture, and Politics in the Hispanic Caribbean, 18001945 (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publisher s, 2011) Mesa Lago, Carmelo. Cuba in the 1970s: Pragmatism and Institutionalization. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1974. --------. The Economy of Socialist Cuba: A TwoDecade Appraisal Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 1981. OConnor, James. Agrarian Reforms in Cuba, 19591963, Science and Society 32:2, 169217. Prez, Jr., Louis A. North American Missionaries in Cuba and the Culture of Hegemony, 18981920 in Essays on Cuban History: Historiography and Research (Gainesville: Unive rsity Press of Florida, 1995) Prez Stable, Marifeli. The Cuban Revolution: Origins, Course, and Legacy New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Ramos, Marcos A. Protestantism and Revolution in Cuba (Coral Gables: University of Miami, 1989)
141 Tichi, Cecelia Civil Passions: Seven Who Launched Progressive America (and What They Teach Us (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009). Tschuy, Theo. Protestantism in Cuba, 18681968 in Christianity in the Caribbean: Essays on Church History, edited by Armando Lampe (Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies, 2001). White, Ronald C., Jr. Liberty and Justice for All: Racial Reform and the Social Gospel (18771925) (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1990)
142 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Toms Enrique Castellanos was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, in 1987 He attended the crculo infantil El Soldadito de Plomo, in Santa Clara and then elementary school at Jos Luis Robau in Sagua La Grande. In 1994, Castellanos and his mother left Cuba on a small fishing boat and after s pending seven months at the United States Navy base in Guantanamo, arrived in South Florida. There, he entered Miami Dade County Public Schools and in 2006, graduated from HialeahMiami Lakes Senior High School. Castellanos then went on to earn a bachelors degree in atmospheric s cience, with minors in L atin American and Latino studies from Cornell University in 2010. He subsequently spent a year working at ClimaData Corporation, a small weather consulting firm in Miami, before enrolling i n the University of Floridas Master of Arts in Latin American Studies Program.