Let Loose the Gods of War

June 17, 2010
Archive, OODA Original

Listen bro; you don’t ask to see Santa Muerte unless you are going to buy one. She is the real deal and I could get in trouble. It’s very Catholic here, (Cozumel) and illegal for me to sell it. I’ll show you if you are serious, but it will cost you one way or another in pesos or bad luck. ”

This was one of the responses I received from a young man during my eight day trip to the Cancun area of Mexico. The farther I traveled from the concentrated tourist parts of Cancun, Cozumel, and Playa Del Carmen, the more I would hear very candid responses regarding my questions regarding her emergence. I was asked several times if I believed in her. Each time I responded: “No, just curious.” Some looked at me with intrigue and gave more information about her, others gave me a rebuke with a stern warning not to “mess with her; she’s a devil!” I came away with one primary conviction, there is a religious revival in Mexico, and it’s a dark one.

I’ve mused and stated since 1993 that cults and extremism were on the rise. Curiosity gave birth to study and later confirmation. The world has witnessed the emergence of new versions of faith coupled with bloodthirsty gods of war and vengeance. They will remain with us far into the foreseeable future according one eminent scholar.
Martin van Creveld stated:

In the future, war will not be waged by armies but by groups whom we today call terrorists, guerrillas, bandits, and robbers, but who will undoubtedly hit on more formal titles to describe themselves. Their organizations are likely to be constructed on charismatic lines rather than institutional ones, and to be motivated less by “professionalism” than by fanatical, ideologically-based, loyalties. While clearly subject to some kind of leadership with coercive powers at its disposal, that leadership will be hardly distinguishable from the organization as a whole; hence it will bear greater similarity to “The Old Man of the Mountains” than to institutionalized government as the modern world has come to understand that term.

He, unfortunately, was right.

My research defines extremism as one symptom of the fissuring and fracturing of traditional capital cohesion (the ability of leaders to maintain influence and sway over their followers). Mexico is a perfect example of this and corruption at all levels fuels the unraveling of the state apparatus. Scholars such as John Sullivan, Adam Elkus, Robert Bunker, Pamela Bunker, David Ronfeldt, and Max Manwaring have kept a careful eye on visceral violence in this country for some time. All agree that the rule of law must be restored if Mexico is going to stabilize at anytime in the near future. In recent years extremism has added fuel to this movement. Life and death issues and the thrill of battle and bloodshed, coupled with spirituality, can prove addictive for some. Extremist movements that call for violence against the state will have no shortage of willing participants. Not only are the new leaders of these movements skilled in the art of violence; they are charismatic preachers and their followers are zealously fighting against members of different faiths.

La Familia has its version of Christianity. Los Zetas and other cartels deify Santa Muerte. Some prefer the Aztec gods of war. The ideology creates followers and binds them to a higher power than the immediate leader. In February of 2009 I wrote these words and I think they are worth revisiting:

A familiar pattern is forming; criminal soldiers are creating disciples among a disaffected Hispanic population. It’s the latest craze in radicalization. Shrewd criminal networks and gangs are now acting upon the tenets of the Saint of Death in hopes of creating an even stronger bond with their members and solidifying their claims to authority by adding religious identity. Mexico and the state of Texas are the most fertile grounds for an expanding movement toward Santisma Muerte. The new preachers may soon pose a greater threat to international security by promising a holy death to their recruits and filling them with fervor unmatched by typical criminal orgs and gangs.

The fervor has helped push the death toll pass 23,000 and Holy Death has welcomed many into her bosom.

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3 Responses

  1. Jose Angel de Monterrey

    August 29, 2010, 10:13:29

    That’s a good interesting article about some misterious cults in Mexico. These are deeply sectarian cults for criminals and are not accepted by the greater mayority of Mexicans. Religious and sectarian fanatism take place in all societies in the world.

    You mentioned corruption at all levels in Mexico. I think that’s an exageration. Anyone who has been in Mexico knows that corruption occurs in local police forces.
    But our federal police has undergone radical changes in the last decade, they are highly trained, trained in the USA many of them, and they get better paid and are not corrupted, in general of course. Mexico is a democracy and we are little by little developing the checks and balances of a democratic republic, we have elections, we have supreme courts, we have a congress and our society participates more and more in the decisions of the country. Cleaning the police has been a demand of the Mexican people and the President and Congress have long discussed ways to end the corruption and the impunity.
    Our Police and our Mexican Army and Marines hunting down the zetas and other cartels, they have taken down the zetas leaders and many other cartel’s leaders one by one, Beltran Leyva, Oziel Cardenas, Nacho Coronel and many others have fallen either killed or imprisoned in Mexican and American prisons.
    As a Mexican, I live in a city with law enforcement, there are powerful cartels and there is the police and the army fighting them, but I am completely confident we will win this fight.

    Mexico is not a failed state and many want to portray it. We are the US second largest partner. Almost 10% of all American exports are purchased by Mexicans, we buy more american goods than any other nation in the world with the exception of Canada but we will soon surpase it as our middle class continues to expand. And I don’t know if you noticed in your trips to Mexico but Mexicans are fervient buyers of American goods, unlike Europeans and Asians who disdainfully leave american products on the shelves of supermarkets and shopping centers, we in Mexico prefer american products. You have be here to see it, it is our tradition to buy American and hundreds of thousands of american jobs depend on our purchases. Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Mercedez Benz, and many other car makers sell millions of cars in Mexico. I am sure you saw many new cars in your trip to Mexico. I am sure you saw a lot of poverty too, but Mexico is no poor central american or african nation, and certainly you probably saw a thriving society too, with a rich cultural heritage.
    Mexico is also the 11th economy in the world, and the largest and most dynamic manufacturing country in latinamerica, we export twice as much as Brazil and unlike Brazil, 80% of our exports are manufactured goods, cars, airplanes, high tech products, and many other goods. There are millions of Americans who have chosen to live in Mexico also, most of them retirees, and there are many americans who work at both Mexican and American firms. Many mexican firms hire Americans for their good management know-how. We share many things and we work and live together.

    There is law enforcement in Mexico, it is not a chaos. We have to quickly improve our security and President Calderon has turned several bills to Congress. You see we are a democracy here, unlike China or Cuba, we cannot take decisions overnight here, we have to discuss them first.
    If you noticed, there are many poor people in Mexico, but they have universal health care and small houses, small, but they have homes. Education is also free in Mexico, all the way to University. For the last several decades Mexico invested heavily on health care and education, now our congress has to allocate resources to security, to improve our police forces. One proposition being discussed is for Mexico to have one unique police for every state, there are too many different police forces in Mexico and each municipality has their own police, because the narcos have so much more financial funds than many municipalities, we need to eliminate those police forces and have only one powerful police per state. There are many options being discussed and the state is fighting the narcos.
    Also, more than 400 hundred thousand central and south american inmigrants cross our borders every year in route to the US border, not all the illegals crossing that border are Mexicans, in fact more than half are central and south americans. A lot of times many criminals from central and south american come with those imigrants, they add to the criminality and social problems we face in our country.
    It is a complex situation.

  2. jim

    December 11, 2010, 16:46:28

    Add a generous helping of funding from the CIA, a splash of Ford foundation dollars, and a smidgen of Bill and Malinda Gates foundation, with a devious sprinkle 0f anti American Soros, and you’ll have military trained,armed, evil, racist, communist, revolutionary, usurpers expecting a hand out in reparations of land, all ready to blend with the Vatican and Sharia law banking………mmmmmm delicious………..If you like the taste of totalitarian Sh_t!!!

  3. Scary_Larry

    December 13, 2010, 16:15:27

    These things are bigger yet smaller than you imagine. These mindsets span the globe and creep up every so often. The illusion has your mind. They are not simply criminals. they are unlawful enemy combatants and are committing crimes against humanity as well as crimes against peace. We have seen this many places before. The Mexican government and the U.S. advisors are just beginning the much needed zero tolerance policy. Prosecute if and when anybody is left after the order of battle. If this war begins in earnest these Mexican “unlawful enemy combatants” will be lucky to find a cartel body to behead. If they behead a government body it must lead to an artillery/missile barrage or air strike causing mass cartel casualties. Thus making beheading “unviable”.

    These bullies are nothing in the eyes of the real war machine. Mexico needs to enforce Government 101(airborne), We are the government and you are NOT! These genocidal maniacs present a “clear and present danger” to “the order of the new world”. Show them the business end of a missile strike, making cartel lifestyle a exponentially losing proposition….Nuff Said


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