(Maurice Marcellin/Wikimedia Commons)
Santa Muerte (literally "Saint Death") is a deity worshipped by millions of people in Mexico. According to an article in The Economist, Santa Muerte has become something of a patron saint in the nation's drug underworld.
(Santa Muerte) accepts offerings of beer and tequila, and is thought by believers to protect criminals and the law-abiding alike and to be amenable to all petitions. "Death to my enemies" is inscribed on the candleholders in Mr Romo's church. She is very popular in jails. She is sometimes portrayed smoking a joint.
Mexico's Catholic bishops have denounced Santa Muerte as a satanic cult that promotes violence. The government withdrew official recognition from Mr Romo's church after he incorporated her into its rituals. Last March the army destroyed some 30 Santa Muerte altars in the northern state of Nuevo Laredo, saying they were linked to drug traffickers. In response, devotees staged rallies in Mexico City demanding religious freedom, and insisting that they come from all walks of life. Indeed, some police and soldiers fighting the narcos ask Santa Muerte to bless their weapons.
Santa Muerte (Wikipedia)