17 de julio de 2019
ÚLTIMAS NOTICIAS:
Hispanic World

Mexico is fertile ground for proliferation of sects

By Ines Amarelo

By Ines Amarelo

Mexico City, Jun 23 (efe-epa).- Growing violence, widespread strong religiosity and ancestral and even supernatural beliefs are creating in Mexico a favorable environment for the proliferation of sectarian groups.

"Mexico is one of the countries where many sects are flourishing. This culture of the mythic and the magical as a pillar (of belief) allows destructive groups to play around with beliefs," Veronica Mendoza, the vice president of the Support Network for Victims of Sects, which operates mainly in Spanish-speaking countries, told EFE in an interview.

But besides groups linked with religious beliefs, sects have been evolving parallel to people's needs in the modern world.

Currently, there are emotional "coaching" groups offering professional development and success services to people who often find themselves in economic or social situations of isolation, and there are even pyramid companies that function as a refuge in an individualistic society.

The success of these groups "is linked with transformations in Mexican society. We're in a period of economic instability and a perceived lack of security. Besides, the development of cities leads people to feel alone, isolated and vulnerable," Luis Alberto Garcia, the coordinator of studies for the Panamerican University's School of Psychology, told EFE.

Neftally Beristain, an attorney for the Support Network who is currently studying for a Master's Degree in Humanist Psychotherapy, was a victim of Gnosis, a sect that claims to lead its members toward saving the world through meditation.

She told Efe that she came to believe that she could only do well within that belief system while if she strayed outside it she could "become dirty."

She discovered the existence of the group from a poster offering "meditation courses, perfect marriage," and she was curious, being a 21-year-old young woman with an interest in spirituality.

Initially, the group taught her how to meditate but later the teachers began to become more interested in her personal life and about people outside the sect with whom she had links.

The attention provided to her by the group members made her feel understood and accepted, but she also became more distanced from her other friends, who - the group members told her - were "blind."

The teachers, she said, caused her to enter into a type of collective psychosis, feeling afraid of dark places where they told her that insects were stealing her energy, or causing her to think she heard voices and saw unreal visions.

She began to have serious doubts about the group's belief system when they sent her out as a "missionary."

"Being a missionary is leaving everything behind," she said, adding that they sent her out to sell pastries on the street amid bad working conditions while the teachers ate in good restaurants and didn't work, she said.

"I thought why is this happening if they're teaching us that we're all equal? I began to question things," she said.

With the help of her parents and later the Support Network, where she now offers objective legal advice, she managed to overcome the "depersonalization" with which the group had inculcated her, but she is still dealing with other latent difficulties.

"Nowadays ... I have an aversion to religion in general," said Beristain, who now is seeking merely "to believe in myself."

Non-profit organizations like the Support Network are almost the only ones paying attention to this phenomenon that is affecting the "health" of the society more than might be apparent.

Garcia said that there is a significant link between sects and violence or criminal groups, something about which government are generally not aware or don't take seriously.

"They can create an unthinking society. It's the kernel of slavery in the 21st century. ... The leader (of the group) can use the lives of thousands of people as he wants," said Mendoza.

Garcia said that all these types of sects must be monitored, although in Mexico there is currently only a census of religious groups.

Histórico de noticias
Guatemalan migrants return from US with complaints re treatment in shelters

By Emiliano Castro Saenz

Ecuadorian women scientists slam gender gap in their profession

By Christian A. Sanchez

Trump refuses to criticize Turkey after Ankara buys Russian missiles

Washington, Jul 16 (EFE).- President Donald Trump on Tuesday refused to criticize the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Pentagon blocked...

Los Angeles, Jul 16 (epa-efe).- "Game of Thrones" on Tuesday racked up a record 32 Emmy Award nominations, thus becoming the series that has received the...

Mexican nature preserve could take 200 years to recover from fire damage

By Lourdes Cruz

Paraguay taxi drivers again at war with Uber

Asuncion, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of taxi drivers suspended their service this Tuesday to again drive through the streets of Asuncion with a long...

Dried-up Aculeo Lagoon shows the woes of climate change in Chile

By Alberto Peña

Trump doubles down on tweets against Democratic congresswomen

By Lucia Leal.

Princess Mako thanks Bolivia for 120 years welcoming Japanese migrants

La Paz, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Princess Mako of Japan thanked Bolivia this Monday for the welcome it has extended over the past 120 years to Japanese migrants...

Mexico rules out being safe third country for migrants despite Trump's order

Mexico City, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard on Monday ruled out that his country would become a "safe third country" for...

Salvadoran woman charged with abortion says she is innocent

Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Twenty-one-year-old Salvadoran Evelyn Hernandez said Monday that she is innocent of aggravated murder for...

Billionaire Buffett's real estate unit joins forces with Spain's LARVIA

New York, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, the real estate unit of billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. conglomerate,...

Residents of historic Panama neighborhood fight gentrification

By Maria M.Mur.

Pressure mounts for Puerto Rico governor's resignation amid scandal

San Juan, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Pressure is mounting in Puerto Rico for Gov. Ricardo Rossello to resign after the revelation of the contents of private online...

Trump says tariffs taking a toll on China's economy

Washington, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Monday that the tariffs imposed by his administration were taking a toll on China's economy,...

Barry weakens over Louisiana, but flooding alert remains in place

Washington, Jul 14 (efe-epa).- Tropical Storm Barry weakened to a tropical depression as it crossed the state of Louisiana on Sunday, heading...

San Juan Parangaricutiro, Mexico's Pompeii buried by Paricutin volcano

By Manuel Soberanes Cobo

Khya, a baby kangaroo being raised by humans in western Mexican city

By Mariana Gonzalez

Getting Florida coral to reproduce in captivity is big challenge

By Ivonne Malaver

Former FARC rebels turn to coffee growing in Colombia

By Claudia Polanco Yermanos

Mercosur to hold summit after long-awaited trade deal reached with EU

Natalia Kidd

Full-figured "Euphoria" star finding success while staying true to herself

Alicia Civita

Madonna, fervent fan of the life and works of Frida Kahlo

By Ines Amarelo

More and more reports of sexual abuse against minors in Panama

By Ana de Leon