Cuba′s Santeria priests foresee migration and unrest in 2016 | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 02.01.2016
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Cuba's Santeria priests foresee migration and unrest in 2016

The clerics of the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria have published their annual reading of future events for Cuba and the world. They warn of a rise in terror attacks, migration, and social unrest in the year ahead.

The priests, also known as babalawos, said that the near future would bring larger foreign investments and better understanding among countries, while presenting their divinations in Havana on Saturday.

The official association of the Santeria clerics did not specify which of their predictions concerned Cuba itself and which applied to the rest of the world.

Many Cubans eagerly await the babalawos' yearly divination and observe elements of the obscure religion, which originated from a mixture of West African traditions and Catholicism.

'Desperation' driving refugees

On Saturday, the Santeria priest foresaw an "explosion" of migration and "social unrest provoked by desperation."

"The predictions of Ifa (divination system) warn world leaders that if no action is taken, we may lead our people to a massive migration provoked by different things, desperation among them," priest Lazaro Cuesta told reporters.

War, terrorism and economic difficulties were also driving people to leave their countries, according to Cuesta.

"When you are in your room and it's really hot, desperation makes you run out of the room," Cuesta said. "If we give you an air conditioner, you stay put."

Fear of the diplomatic thaw

Cuba is currently facing a migration crisis, with the number of Cubans leaving the country rising 80 percent since the thaw with the US began in late 2014. Many Cuban migrants fear that improved relations between Havana and Washington would make it harder for Cubans to get US asylum.

The communist nation is also struggling economically, with the average salary below $30 (27.6 euros) a month.

In their address, priests urged a balance between salaries and the high cost of living, as well as "favorable accords" on migration.

There might also be a "dangerous rise in terror strikes" during 2016, according to Cuesta.

dj/bk (Reuters, EFE)

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