And as part of this secular censorship, propaganda, and repression of religious freedom, there is virtually no mention of the Cristero War in the history books, films, and other media of Mexico, the U.S. or elsewhere. Indeed, both most Mexicans and Americans have been utterly unaware of this story in which 90,000 people were killed (out of only a population of 15 million), and only now with the film with Andy Garcia are they able to learn vital lessons of their own history with more than obvious relevance for us all today.
Of special interest to all freedom lovers is the sweeping, new, epic, independent film directed by Dean Wright, written by Michael Love and starring Andy Garcia, For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada, that has just been released in theaters across the U.S. This story is one with particular interest to Garcia, the Academy Award-nominated, Havana-born actor, director, and producer, who has produced two major films depicting the terror and oppression of communist rule in Cuba (For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story and The Lost City). For his brilliant and courageous work in defending liberty, the Independent Institute presented him with its Alexis de Tocquevile Award at A Gala for Liberty in 2008. (Here are the presentations by Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa and Andy Garcia at the event.)
Headlining a superb cast in For Greater Glory that includes Eva Longoria, Peter O’Toole,
Santiago Cabrera, Eduardo Verástegui, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Rubén Blades, Oscar Isaac, and Bruce Greenwood, Garcia portrays Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, the retired army general who from 1927 to 1929 transformed an unorganized, minimally armed, indigenous insurgency into The Cristeros, a powerful, country-wide rebellion against the government of Mexico that had embarked on a campaign to rid the country of Christianity beginning with the persecution of Catholics and ban of public religious practice. When widespread peaceful protest, petitioning of the government, and an economic boycott resulted in 1926, the militant Marxist (i.e., atheist) Mexican president Plutarco Elías Calles denounced the dissent as treasonous and responded brutally with repression, torture, hangings, firing squads, and mass murder by federal troops. In 1927 the National League for the Defense of Religious Liberty recruited Gorostieta to lead the Cristeros against the government forces of Calles, who incidentally was publicly supported in the U.S. by the Ku Klux Klan.