Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Latin American and Caribbean Studies

First Advisor's Name

Terry Rey

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Leonel A. de la Cuesta

Third Advisor's Name

Nadine Fernandez

Date of Defense



The Afro-Cuban Religious Complex (ARC), developed in Cuba, where the material used in their rituals was obtained trough different sources. However, the concept of a centralized store of religious goods, called bótanicas, for the ARC did not develop in Cuba alongside the religion. The reasons for the absence of these stores in Cuba until the early 1990s is explored via personal interviews with members of the ARC, participant observation, 200 questionnaires distributed in Cuba and Miami, and anchored in scholarly works about the psychology and economics of migration, as well as in those concerned with religious anthropology and sociology.

Results indicate that class and religious conflicts prevented the development of bótanicas in Cuba. The absence of these factors, a free market economy, and the ARC's appeal to non-Cubans, facilitated the proliferation of bótanicas in the United States.