By Sam Quiñones, A Reporter’s Blog
I guess it was only a matter of time, but …Nazario Moreno, deceased leader of La Familia Michoacana, the narco-Catholic drug cartel now finding itself on hard times due to his death and that of others in the structure, has apparently been “canonized” as a folk saint.
Folk saints are nothing new to Mexico. Juan Soldado is the unofficial patron saint of migrants. Toribio Romo, a priest from Jalisco, holds a similar position. Jesus Malverde, who likely never lived at all, began as patron saint of the poor mountain folks in Sinaloa who became, in turn, the drug traffickers who made the state famous and turned Malverde into the patron saint of narcos.
Michoacan has also been fertile ground for strange religious movements — witness the community of New Jerusalem under excommunicated Padre Nabor in another part of the Tierra Caliente. (I wrote about New Jerusalem and Malverde in my first book, True Tales from Another Mexico.
Moreno, though, was particularly bloodthirsty, and considered a messiah by his followers. One of his nicknames was “El Mas Loco” — The Craziest One. Who knows? Maybe in Apatzingan, Michoacan — an area known for violence, heat, and dope — that’ll be what recommends him to the faithful.
This article was first published in A Reporter’s Blog.
Sam Quiñones has been a working reporter for 25 years, including 10 years in Mexico as a freelance writer. He is the author of two books, and many stories about immigrants, gangs, drug trafficking and more.[Photo by Sam Quiñonez]