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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Devotees of Sinaloa's Narco-Saint Flocked His Chapel To Celebrate His 112th Death Anniversary

"MX" for Borderland Beat

In this article, Borderland Beat will cover Malverde's recent 112th death anniversary celebration and provide a background on the legend of narco-saint

People say he was an outlaw. A man who robbed from the rich and aided the poor. Over the years, the cult of Jesus Malverde - the "narco-saint" - has provoked controversy and veneration by many.

This past Monday was his 112th death anniversary. Thousands of his devotees flocked his chapel in Culiacan, Sinaloa, to pay him a visit. Banda sinaloense musicians played as people lined up one-by-one to walk into the chapel. They left candles, flower bouquets, alcoholic beverages, and other offerings.

Malverde, a Robin Hood-type figure, is believed to have lived from 1870 to 1909, although his historicity is debated till this day.

Whether he existed or not, Malverde, sometimes referred to as the "generous bandit" or the "angel of the poor", has countless of followers in Sinaloa and across Mexico.

Jesus Manuel Gonzalez Sanchez, son of the founder of Malverde's chapel and its current administrator, told a news website that people began arriving early on Monday to venerate Malverde despite Covid-19 restrictions set by the government.

Compares to previous years, fewer people paid their respect to Malverde this year, but there were still more than 3,000 in attendance. 

“The truth is that because of Covid-19, we thought that not so many people would come, but they have a lot of faith. … They come to thank [Jesús Malverde] and leave their candles,” González said.

Many people believe Malverde does miracles. One man, Juan Ignacio, has been visiting the chapel for the last 25 years. He said he is thankful that Malverde helped his son walk again after he was paralyzed as a result of a seizure. He said that his family prayed for Malverde to help his son, and "thanks to Malverde, he now walks".

Maria Luisa Alvarado Valdes, another long-time devotee whose son was paralyzed during a car accident, told about a similar story. She said that not only did Malverde help her son walk again, but blessed him with a family of his own. 

Karla Celeste Robledo traveled from the US state of Florida to pay her respects. She said she wrote a corrido (ballad) about Malverde called La Reyna de Sinaloa (The Queen of Sinaloa).

“… I left Sinaloa when I was very young. I just bought my first statue [of Malverde]. … It’s not something bad [to be a devotee of him],” she said.

Despite the pandemic regulations, worshippers of the outlaw narco-saint Malverde flocked his chapen in Culiacan, Sinaloa, on Monday.

Borderland Beat Analysis

The legend of Malverde depicts the myth of a late-nineteenth century social bandit in Sinaloa. The image of Malverde reflected the asymmetrical power relationships in Sinaloa during the Porfiriato era, a term given to the period when General Porfirio Díaz ruled Mexico as President in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This era was marked by a policy of "order and progress" where there was huge foreign investment and tremendous changes in economic, technological, industrial, and social structures across Mexico.

But the huge class and wealth disparity, in addition to an unclear line of succession in Mexico's presidency, led to turmoil, and eventually, a revolution.

The legend of Malverde was born out of a collective desire to represent those worst affected by what was oftentimes seen as an unjust and exclusive system.

In the 1970s, Sinaloa was embroiled in an anti-drug military operation known as Operation Condor, in which the Mexican Army was dispatched across the Golden Triangle to target the region's smugglers and drug producers.

But the operation took a different shift.

Soldiers went into rural areas attacking farmers and destroying their plantations and killing their livestock. Many people went missing or were killed. Others were displaced and had to abandon their homes and left to the cities.

The event ended up reshaping Sinaloa's view of authorities and the culture of illegality. Malverde soon flourished within drug trafficking circles and was adopted as a narco-saint.

Sources: Milenio; El Debate; Linea Directa; Borderland Beat Analysis

35 comments:

  1. How popular is he outside of Sinaloa? I feel like the veneration is mostly in sinaloa but not sure.

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    1. I’ll tell you what, I still don’t know what to think when I saw a shrine statue of him in one of the most famous and long-standing Mexican restaurants in California, USA..

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    2. Drug busts happen all over the usa, because when the driver is pulled over, he has some stupid malverde doll attached to his dashboard... then they find 100 kilos in the trunk smh lol

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    3. Not popular at all.

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    4. 12:45 pues si guey thats cause is a restaurant from a sinaloan! I guess the question should of bee other than sinaloans how popular is it with out of staters?

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  2. Note: There was a mistake in the lead paragraph but it has been fixed. I meant to say he robbed from the rich and aided the poor, not the other way around.

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  3. Animo Sicarios !
    El Señor will be giving every Gente Nueva Special Forces Tier 1 Operator a gold encrosted 24k gold Malvedre dog tag.

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    1. Good for you

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    2. Animo doctors!
      Sicario006 forgot to take his medicine. Again!

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    3. I’m lost... who is “El Senor”

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    4. 😂🤣😂

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    5. El Senor was Chapo Guzman the big boss

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  4. Gracias BB. Sinaloa has been particularly unique in the culture of criminality. I also think Tamaulipas has been the same, although heavily understudied. Smuggling families have been around for decades, and they are home to the oldest group to date: Cartel del Golfo.... saludos desde Houston, Tx

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    1. Correct. It's different in Tamaulipas, but organized crime activity (specifically contraband) has been around for years. I found some old sources that mention some smuggling families in La Frontera Chica (Miguel Aleman/Roma) back in 1860s or so. The Matamoros/Brownsville area also had a lot of smuggling since the American Civil War, then during the Prohibition as well. Juan N. Guerra's empire came later, sometime in the early 1940s, when Mexico had a closed economy (i.e. import substitution industrialization).

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    2. My family is from Miguel aleman and mostly devoted to santa muerte. Since I could remember the 60s…

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    3. Richard King, founder of the King Ranch, was a riverboat captain and partner in a steamboat company based in Brownsville before he went into ranching. He made a fortune during the civil war smuggling cotton from Texas to Mexico.

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    4. Incognito, have you ever heard of a "Weston C"? Many years ago the Wikipedia article for the Gulf Cartel stated that person along with Juan Nepomuceno Guerra founded the cartel. Weston C's name was removed long ago and I haven't been able to find who he was.

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  5. He was a theif NOT a DRUG TRAFFICKING capo
    Over the years his story GOT out of hand but he is far FROM a saint 😆

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  6. MX Could you please post some more articles on behalf of the frontera chica and moros/browntown. Anything dating back as old as you can find. Thanks, your work never is overlooked.

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  7. Shows the ignorance of Sinaloas!!!

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  8. Do people really believe in malverde? That’s ridiculous. People have a hard time believing in Jesus Christ but not malverde?

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  9. Sinaloenses are ridiculous

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  10. Read Melverde helped people , today the Cartel kill innocent people. Maybe they should follow his example and really help people, bring peace to Mexico

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    1. Saint Nikolas aka Santa Claus helped people also. So did Mother Teresa like it or not.
      These idiots from Sinaloa worship crime not good deeds!

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  11. Malverde was poor , cartels are billionaires

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  12. There is No HUMAN BEING worthy of BEING labeled a saint yet Catholic CHURCH is FULL of THEM.. SMH

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  13. Pinchu gente estupida huevona ignorante sin que hacer.
    Vayan a misa y dejen de estupides!

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  14. In Mexico, they believe in la llorona, el chupacabra, Kaliman, el mal ojo, aluxes, brujas, hechizados, diablos, fantasmas, santos, idolos, virgins, naguales, Santa Muerte, and even weirder shit.

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  15. He’s very popular in Chicago.
    Oh Poncho!
    Oh Cisco!

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