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The political instability of late 1950s Cuba occasioned many anguished appeals to the Virgin. As Fidel Castro’s rebels took up positions in the mountains of eastern Cuba to combat Batista’s army, El Cobre was the site of some skirmishes, damaging the Virgin’s shrine. Cuban political discord and civil war often transpired in the streets: the Batista regime alternately compelled, and then cancelled, carnival; urban guerillas fomented insurrection there; in reprisal, Batista’s police killed opponents and dumped their bodies in city streets and rural roadways; Archbishop Enrique Pérez Serantes decried the violence in Santiago’s now sinister, near-empty streets; the funeral procession...

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