BUENAVENTURA, Columbia (ChurchMilitant.com) - The drug and violence saddled city of Buenaventura will get an exorcism this weekend.
On July 14, Bp. Rubén Darío Jaramillo Montoya is expected to administer the rite of exorcism over the city of Buenaventura on the Pacific coast of Colombia so that "God's blessing comes and gets rid of all the wickedness that is in our streets."
Montoya said in an interview, "We have to drive the devil out of Buenaventura, to see if we can restore the peace and tranquility that our city has lost due to so many crimes, acts of corruption and with so much evil and drug trafficking that invades our port."
He continues, "We want to go around the whole of Buenaventura, from the air, and pour holy water on to it to see if we exorcise and get out all those demons that are destroying our port, so that God's blessing comes and gets rid of all the wickedness that is in our streets."
Human Rights Watch maintains Buenaventura is one of the most violent cities in Colombia, rampant with kidnapping, torture and murder.
A report titled "The Crisis in Buenaventura: Disappearances, Dismemberment, and Displacement in Colombia's Main Pacific Port" reveals criminal gangs are present throughout the city, terrorizing its residents. They have "chop-up houses" where victims are tortured to death, being dismembered and thrown into the ocean. Residents report hearing victims screaming for mercy from their murderers who are often associated with drug cartels.
Montoya announced the exorcism following the discovery of the body of 10-year-old Diana Rodriguez, who had been tortured and sexually abused by her uncle.
Other Latin American bishops have had exorcisms in an attempt to fight against what is being described as increasing evil in the world.
In 2015, a grand exorcism — reserved for nations and dioceses — was performed in Mexico by Cdl. Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, archbishop emeritus of Guadalajara, along with multiple exorcists, including renowned Spanish exorcist José Antonio Fortea.
It was conducted due to the massive rise in satanism, ritual murders and violence. Fortea remarked that "abortion, satanism, corruption, the cult of 'holy' death and the legalization of sexual aberrations undoubtedly have caused a great satanic infestation throughout Mexico," adding that every bishop in Mexico should conduct an exorcism in his own diocese.
Satanism has been closely tied to gang and drug cartel culture. A Federal Bureau of Investigation report released in 2013 notes that "enough ritualistic behaviors, including killings, have occurred in Mexico to leave open the possibility that a spiritual insurgency component of the narcotics wars now exists."
MS-13, a gang with over 10,000 active members in the United States, has roots in satanism. Although it began in Los Angeles, California, MS-13 was made up almost exclusively of young people from El Salvador escaping the Salvadoran Civil War.
It operates mainly in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador with brutality virtually unmatched by other gangs.
An article by analysts Robert Bunker and John Sullivan says, "Beyond its journey from a local street to a transnational power-seeking gang, the overlapping ideological themes and cultural narratives underlying [MS-13]'s evolution have been built upon a foundation of Satanism, occultism, brutality and torture, and rampant criminality."
It goes on to note that while many gags are secular or "view Satanism and occultism from more of an ideological perspective," MS-13 embraces "violent magico-religious cosmology in a sense becoming 'true believers' that now adhere to amoral or even evil spiritual values that invite sacrifice and torture."
Members worship Satan under the guise of "Santa Muerte," a god of death worshipped by many people in Mexico.
In February 2017, the body of a 15-year-old girl, known only as "Genesis", was discovered in Houston, Texas. Two MS-13 members, 22-year-old Miguel Alvarez-Flores — whose nickname is "Diabolical" — and 18-year-old Diego Hernandez-Rivera, admitted to raping and torturing Genesis and another teenage female victim.
The other unnamed female escaped and told police detectives Genesis disrespected the gang members' shrine to Satan, destroying it and angering them.