Friday, April 1, 2016
On Folk Catholicism and Drug Trafficking
On Folk Catholicism and Drug Trafficking: In many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, certain aspects of Catholicism (especially sainthood) have meshed with particular elements of localized folk religions. Perhaps one of the most well-known "saints" in folk Catholicism is Santa Muerte (pictured above). In Mexico and parts of the American Southwest, Saint Death is worshiped on a cult level as a protector of souls making the transition to the afterlife. Although worship of her is considered heretical by the Catholic Church, she is particularly popular among drug traffickers (who live with the prospects of death all the time). Aside from Santa Muerte, drug traffickers also pay homage to a folk saint named Jesus Malverde. But unlike Saint Death, Malverde is believed to have been an actual person who lived in Sinaloa, Mexico, from the 1870s to the early 1900s. Growing up under the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, Malverde saw how impoverished the people of Sinaloa had become. And after both of his parents died in poverty, he became a "righteous" bandit committing robberies and smuggling illicit goods with a Robin Hood mentality in mind.