By Jeff Franks Fri. Aug. 4 9:37 AM
Miami-REUTERS-The bird has reason to be nervous, because the illness of Cuban leader has moved adherents of Santeria to appeal for divine help in hastening either Castro's demise or his recovery, depending on which side of the Florida Straits they live.
Santeria is the voodooish Afro-Cuban religion that uses animal sacrifice to communicate with the gods, which makes these tough times for favorite sacrificial creatures such as chickens, goats and, in this case, doves.
As many as 3 million people in Cuba and 60,000 people in Florida are believed to be involved in Santeria, according to religious experts.
Osorio said about 20 people a day are coming into his "botanica" in Miami's Little Havana section to buy birds, powders and jewelry for rituals in which they ask the gods to please finish off Castro so they can return home.
The white doves are most popular at the moment because, as traditional symbols of peace, their significance is as much political as religious.