24 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
Juan Diego Florez, Luis Fonsi warm up to inaugurate Lima Pan-Am Games

Lima, Jul 23 (efe-epa).- Peru's Juan Diego Florez and Puerto Rico's Luis Fonsi on Tuesday began warming up for their participation in the inauguration of...

US tells Maduro he has little time left to resign

Washington, Jul 23 (efe-epa).- The United States this Tuesday told Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's inner circle that he has little time left to leave...

Trump on Boris Johnson: He will be great as UK prime minister

Washington, Jul 23 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Tuesday hailed the election of conservative Boris Johnson as Great Britain's prime minister,...

Bank of Mexico's printing plant draws visitors interested in money

By Mariana Gonzalez

IMF reduces global growth forecast to 3.2 pct. due to political risks

Santiago, Jul 23 (efe-epa).- The trade war between the United States and China, the uncertainty created by Brexit and the tensions affecting the price of...

Intermittent blackouts continue as Venezuela recovers power supply

Caracas, Jul 23 (efe-epa).- The electric power supply in Venezuela, controlled by the state-run Corpoelec firm, as of Tuesday morning had been working for...

Possible New York Legislation Restrict Use of Cell Phone Location Data

New York, Jul 23 (efe-epa).- A bill to ban the sale of cellphone users' geo-location data to marketers was presented for debate to the New York City Council...

Intermittent blackouts continue as Venezuela recovers power supply

Caracas, Jul 23 (efe-epa).- The electric power supply in Venezuela, controlled by the state-run Corpoelec firm, as of Tuesday morning had been working for...

Lula's native region showcases the essence of Brazilian folklore

By Nayara Batschke

Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris would legalize marijuana across the US

Washington, Jul 23 (efe-epa).- US senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA) presented this Tuesday a bill for legalizing marijuana...

Power blackout hits most of Venezuela

Caracas, Jul 22 (efe-epa).- A new power blackout left much of Venezuela without electricity on Monday starting at 4:40 pm, and the state-run Corpoelec,...

Trump pursues closer ties with Pakistan

Alfonso Fernandez

Demonstrators, artists once again demand resignation of Puerto Rico governor

San Juan, Jul 22 (efe-epa).- Tens of thousands of demonstrators, headed by Puerto Rican artists and athletes, on Monday once again demanded the resignation...

Iguacu, 1,300 km of hidden paradise among 6 hydroelectric plants

By Ana Paula Chain

Trump: I'd win Afghan war in a week but only by wiping out too many people

Washington, Jul 22 (efe-epa).- US President Donald Trump said Monday he could win the Afghanistan war in a week, but added that he doesn't really want to...

Trump praises Xi for showing restraint with Hong Kong protests

Washington, Jul 22 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Monday that his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, had shown restraint in the face of the mass...

Argentine fintech company Ualá hits 1 mn issued cards

Buenos Aires, Jul 22 (efe-epa).- Ualá, the Argentine financial technology company founded by young entrepreneur Pierpaolo Barbieri, said Monday that it had...

NASA develops MHS spaceship to fly over Mars

By Ivan Mejia

Thieves steal $25,000 in cash, property from actor Del Toro in San Juan

San Juan, Jul 22 (efe-epa).- Thieves stole $17,000 in cash plus other personal property worth thousands of dollars over the weekend from the San Juan...

US acknowledges Mexico's progress on migration strategy

Mexico City, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday acknowledged Mexico's progress on increasing immigration enforcement, noting...

Puerto Rico governor announces he won't run for re-election, amid protests

San Juan, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello Sunday that he will not run for re-election in 2020, his announcement coming amid an...

Pinto says he won't coach Panamanian national soccer team

Bogota, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- Jorge Luis Pinto, who has been at the helm of the national squads of Honduras, Costa Rica and Colombia, said Sunday he had no...

Trump: Squad congresswomen should apologize to US, Israel

Washington, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Sunday once again unloaded on the four Democratic congresswomen known as "The Squad" after sparking...

Ecuador makes big push into large-scale mining with Chinese-backed project

By Fernando Arroyo Leon