U.S. Protestant Missions in Cuba
From Independence to Castro

Jason M. Yaremko

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"In addition to a superb analysis of the role of Protestantism in Cuba, [Yaremko] provides an excellent analysis of life in Cuba during the first half of this century."--Luis Martínez-Fernández, Rutgers University

Following the end of the Spanish-Cuban-American war in 1898, the U.S. Protestant Church embarked on a religious mission in Cuba that evolved into a zealous secular crusade to reconstruct Cuban society. The church’s collision course with Cuba’s revolutionary nationalism is the focus of Jason M. Yaremko’s cultural history.

Under U.S. military rule after the war, various Protestant denominations began to work with Cubans who were disillusioned with the old colonial church. Mission schools--eventually supported by mission boards and North American corporations--became centers both for spreading the word of the Gospel and for "civilizing the natives," and Protestantism became the spiritual justification not only for converting Cubans but also for the expansion of North American business.

Though initially reluctant to be associated with U.S. capital or the military, the missionaries’ worldviews, and later their policies, more readily converged with those of their countrymen than with the views and policies of the Cubans. From the Protestant churches to the United Fruit Company, Yaremko argues, paternalism toward Cuba in political, social, and commercial terms helps explain the U.S. "blind spot" toward Cuban desires for independence. Far from being a conspiracy, Yaremko says, what emerged was a convergence of religious and secular U.S. interests concerning the form of the new Cuba, one that paralleled the convergence of political conflicts between Cuba and the United States.

This book, drawing on previously unexplored church archives, will be the definitive work on Protestantism in pre-1959 Cuba. It offers striking implications for the study of education as transmitter of a foreign worldview and of religious and cultural elements of U.S. foreign relations.

Jason M. Yaremko, a research associate and historian at the University of Manitoba, has written articles on Cuban nationalism.

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"an excellent contribution to Cuban Protestant history. His diligent research makes this book an indispensable source for any serious missiological and historical analysis of Protestant mission in Cuba." - International Bulletin of Missionary Research
--International Bulletin of Missionary Research

"U.S. Protestant Missions in Cuba is an admirable contribution to a relatively new field of study for Latin America."
--The Americas

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