Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Other Jesus

(Semana Culiacana enters its third week, a testament to that Mexican efficiency we're always talking about...)

Culiacán is home to the shrine to Jesús Malverde, a legendary, possibly fictional, Robin-Hoodesque bandito who is basically the secular saint of the narco business. (You can read more about him here. No, sorry... here.)

Anyway, Malevrde is not really a saint, per se, but a lot of people here pray to him and ask him for stuff. Inside the shrine is another, smaller shrine, like a Russian nesting doll or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where people go to kneel and... well, whatever they're saying is between them and St. Jesús.

"Don't check my bags, if you please, Mr. Customs Man..."

Those who can't make it in person can send a surrogate to leave a candle or a photo or a scrap of paper like at the Wailing Wall.  JM works in mysterious ways.

But the Malverde shrine isn't all about saying please, it's about saying thank you as well.  The walls are covered with appreciative testimonials to the Big Guy's miracle-workings.

"Thanks for getting me out of jail!" - Francisco Javiar Loaiza

Querétaro in da house!

The caretakers of the shrine insist it has nothing to do with drug trafficking, and that's probably true in a lot of cases - Malverde's sort of the saint-of-last-resort for a lot of people who have been failed by the celestial elite. But there are more than a few offerings there like this one, which seems to be begging for, or celebrating, a bountiful harvest.

At least they don't do fireworks at sunrise.


Anonymous said...

This is all very, very interesting. And no doubt it makes for very colorful television. But once the drugs get north of the US border, they don't get distributed on fairy wings of magic. It is so sad, and strange to me that so many Americanjournalists and TV shows and for that matter, movies, have so much to say about Mexican narcotraffickers and yet remain largely silent on what's going in the major US cities. It's just enormously hypocritical. Hmmm, maybe if someone wrote about drug sales in, like, Milwaukee, they might, like, maybe, um, end up in the trunk of someone's car at the bottom of um, Lake Michigan.

Burro Hall said...

This reporter is so screwed...

Charles Pergiel said...

Is smuggling a sin?

As for the Milwaukee residents: they should have known better than to use the US mail. Ship by bus!

Head Scratcher in Huixilucan said...

How about drug sales at a somewhat higher level than a bunch of dumbos sending baggies through the mail? Any reporting on that?

Burro Hall said...

Sorry H, our Milwaukee Bureau was closed down during the latest round of belt-tightening.