Posted by: becketfund | April 5, 2009

Mexico: Death Saint Shrines Demolished by Government

MEXICO CITY – About 200 worshipers marched on April 5 to protest the government’s destruction of “Death Saint” shrines, saying Mexico’s fight against drug cartels has veered into religious persecution, the AP reported on April 5. “We are believers, not criminals!” the protesters chanted as they marched from a gritty Mexico City neighborhood to the Metropolitan Cathedral downtown. The Death Saint is popular with drug traffickers, and soldiers often find shrines to the saint during raids on cartel safe houses. Mexican law enforcement won’t say that it is targeting the “Santa Muerte.” But last month, army troops accompanied workers who used back hoes to topple and crush more 30 shrines on a roadway in the city of Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas. The sect’s archbishop, David Romo, denounced the destruction as religious persecution and demanded a meeting with President Felipe Calderon. Roberto Sanchez, a 28-year-old carpenter, said he became a believer after praying to the Death Saint for the recovery of a sick nephew. He carried a sign reading “I believe in you Santa Muerte and I am not a narco.” “If we are not doing anything to them, they shouldn’t be doing this,” he said of the shrines’ destruction.

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