Cannibalism has found a place in the rituals of certain religious cults linked to organized crime in Mexico, according to researchers. Several criminal groups, experts say, pay tribute to Santa Muerte.

In Mexico, ritual cannibalism is not a widespread phenomenon within all criminal organizations, but its presence in some groups has been documented and is a cause for deep concern.
These acts are carried out in occult ceremonies, where human flesh is consumed not out of necessity, but as a symbolic act of domination and control. This is stated by the anthropologist Claudio Lomnitz, in his book ‘For a political theology of organized crime’. The expert gave details of this phenomenon on BBC News.

The anthropologist stated that cannibalistic rituals in these cults are often shrouded in superstition. It is believed that by consuming the flesh of an enemy, cult members gain their strength, power, and bravery. Besides, These acts serve to reinforce group cohesion and loyalty towards the leader, creating an unbreakable bond between participants.

As Lomnitz told the BBC, cannibalism began in Mexico when “the so-called narcosatanics arrived in Matamoros, in 1989. Human sacrifice was done to build a relationship of complicity, to keep a secret. Then cannibalism begins to be used to recruit new members for organized crime, typically soldiers to work as hitmen.”

“They are given as proof that they eat a part of a person who has been murdered, usually from another (criminal) group, but it can also be from the same group. If they don’t, they are killed right there. It is the test to belong to the organization. At another moment, the most sinister of all, it is “when you dominate your territory so much that you put human meat on a plate,” he stated in the aforementioned medium.

The expert told the BBC that “A kidnapped Honduran who survived said in an interview in 2021 that they were fed human flesh while the ransom money arrived.”

He added that “there are also horrific and chilling examples of cannibalism among the Zetas (criminal group in Mexico) in which they kill a traitor and, as if they were butchers, have his meat cooked. We are not talking about ingesting a concoction with a little of the heart of a person in a ritual. We’re talking about cooking the legs, the meatiest parts, to put them in tamales. And these tamales are served at a banquet, at a New Year’s Eve party, where diners are invited to participate in the ingestion of human flesh.”


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