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MatanzasThe Cuba Nobody Knows$
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Miguel A. Bretos

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813038100

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813038100.001.0001

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Nightmares and Cold Sweats

Nightmares and Cold Sweats

(p.204) 14 Nightmares and Cold Sweats

MIGUEL A. Bretos

University Press of Florida

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

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

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