Santa Muerte.
Mexico, This Week in Latin America

Mexico Detains Leader Of Santa Muerte Cult On Kidnapping Charges

January 6, 2011 By Staff

A procession carrying an image of La Santa Muerte.

Today in Latin America

Top StoryMexican authorities announced the detainment of the leader of the Santa Muerte cult and eight other members on charges kidnapping and extortion in Mexico City.

David Romo Guillén, leader of the Traditional Catholic Church that is also known as the Santa Muerte, and the other suspects were arrested between December  18 and 20, but the arrests were not made public until this week.

Mexican authorities also allege that Romo and the eight others disguised themselves as members of the Zetas drug gang to kidnap two elderly people for ransom money. All nine members detained were placed under a form of house arrest for 30 days pending investigation.

Romo said the arrests were politically motivated and said he was tortured.

“In this pre-election time, they are moving (against) a lot of innocent people, to fill their quotas,” Romo said, adding that he didn’t even know some of the other eight suspects, The Washington Post reports.

Santa Muerte fuses elements of pre-Columbian indigenous practices and African customs with Catholicism. It has become very popular throughout the country, especially among Mexico’s drug cartels, who ask La Santa Muerte for her protection as they commit their crimes.

“While it is true that narcos and thieves and others worship her, not everyone who worships her is a criminal,” said Eva Aridjis, director of the documentary “La Santa Muerte,” according to The New York Times. “What I encountered was many sick people or people who were in danger of dying or lived in dangerous environments. Drug addicts and prostitutes but also policemen and taxi drivers.”

The Roman Catholic Church condemns the cult and La Santa Muerte is not a recognized saint, nor is Romo a recognized bishop.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America


Central America

  • A female gang member was arrested in connection with the bombing of a bus in Guatemala City that left seven dead, authorities said.
  • In aiming for higher educational levels among the population, the Nicaraguan government set as its main goal in 2011 ensuring that all children graduate from the sixth grade.
  • Panamanian authorities seized 1,025 kilos (2,257 pounds) of cocaine in the Caribbean province of Colón, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of the capital, a senior prosecutor said Tuesday.
  • A cathedral in El Salvador’s capital continued to be occupied on Tuesday by a group of veterans wounded in the 1980-1992 Salvadoran civil war, who demanded an increase in their pensions and incorporation into the pension system for parents of former combatants.


  • Supporters of a former Lima mayor who is among the front-runners in Peru’s presidential race spent Wednesday fending off allegations that one of his party’s two vice presidential candidates paid to get the nomination.
  • Bolivian President Evo Morales was “emboldened” in his effort to nationalize his country’s energy sector by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who pledged technical assistance and other aid for the effort, according to leaked U.S. cable.
  • Spain’s Repsol-YPF has joined an oil-exploration project in Colombia whose other partners include the local unit of Brazil’s Petrobras and Colombian state oil firm Ecopetrol, the latter company said in a statement Wednesday.
  • Philip Morris International Inc. has officially ended its $452 million bid to acquire privately owned cigarette maker Productora Tabacalera de Colombia, or Protabaco, after a filing deadline with regulators in Bogota came and went.

Southern Cone

Image: David Velazquez @ Flickr.

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1 Comment

mari says:

i dont usnderstand all this, all my life as far as i can remember i have used La Santa Muerte but only to help others! i am so tired of this badness that is bieng said about her! She is not the only saint that has been used for bad, and if she was so bad why are these people that are using her this way getting caught? I pray to our Father God everyday for others, and i ask my Muerte to help if its Gods will with Gods help to help those i can but only through God first is anything possible, but yet these people use her for bad and look at them but you all judge her without knowing, really, i have my clients to back me up and we all have our beliefs whos to say or judge us ! Did God make anyone the judge of us? No, so why is everyone judging? only God knows! Everyone just tries to blame others for the paths others have taken, yet because of her appearence shes mocked, do u all not see clearly what is in front of u, because other saints have been used in these rituals as well, she is supposed to be used for injustices,for those that have been wronged,for families and marriages, for children,to help and to heal, shame on u all not everyone that uses her does bad!

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