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Latino Religions and Civic Activism in the United States$
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Gastón Espinosa, Virgilio Elizondo, and Jesse Miranda

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195162271

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162271.001.0001

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Pray for Elián: Religion and Politics in Miami

Pray for Elián: Religion and Politics in Miami

(p.249) 15 Pray for Elián: Religion and Politics in Miami
Latino Religions and Civic Activism in the United States

Miguel A. De La Torre

Oxford University Press

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

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

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