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Disappearing acts: El Chayo and Marcial Maciel

13 December 2010

Two disappearances in the news today.

Not that it really matters if another gangster is dead, but it might be nice to have confirmation that he is dead. Nazario Moreno González, known as El Chayo or “the craziest” was no more an “indispensable man” than any of the other indispensable men who fill the world’s graveyards, but he was (or is) intriguing as “the ideologue of La Familia Michoacana and was a pastor who taught to the killers to respect to the population, but also ordered to eliminate his enemies ruthlessly”.

Having an ideological base beyond the nasty, brutish and short capitalism of Chapo Guzmán, La Familia — offering something beyond purely economic support to their communities and dependents (even Don Corelone did that)  — was (or is) a genuine threat to the Mexican state.  It is, of course, convenient for Chapo that El Chayo was eliminated and extremely convenient for the state that he disappears without coming to trial.

Of course, there are several groups who would like to stamp out El Chayo’s “alternative Christianity”.  Certainly, the Sinaloa Cartel, to whom it is an economic threat, the Roman Catholic Church to whom it is a ideological alternative to be stamped out, and the State which could conceivably co-opt much of La Familia’s program without much trouble.  While the present administration seems to have turned its back on the Revolutionary trends of the 20th century, La Familia’s communalism and disinterest in the affairs of others isn’t all that radical.  La Familia’s acceptance was based on its providing services to the local communities that the outside state was unable (or unwilling) to provide, creating economic opportunities for rural areas and defending “traditional values”.

The fact that La Familia’s business source is meth production doesn’t really change anything.  I’m not sure that the group’s business — meth production and distribution — is anti-Revolutionary or at odds with genericl Mexican Revolutionary  ideals.  As far as I can tell, Pancho Villa was the only Revolutionary leader to consider selling or producing exports  (in Villa’s case, opium) a problem.  PRODUCING cotton, henniquin, coffee, sugarcane.. not to mention minerals and oil … for export wasn’t  anti-Revolutionary.  What was Revolutionary was  putting the production into Mexican hands, and returning the profits to Mexican producers and workers …  something La Familia at least portrayed itself as doing.

But the religion?  El Chayo, presuming he is dead, isn’t the first religious leader to die, and religious movements usually manage to survive their founders’ death (or disappearance, which has its value when it comes to a religion’s survival. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of the apeothesis of Nazario Moreno González — if nothing else rebranded as a bandit-hero in future corridos and popular iconography, like the possibly fictional Jesús Malverde).

Not that I think the faith of La Familia, based on the Gospel according to El Chayo (based on the equally wacko “Focus on the Family” ideology emanating from the United States) should be propagated, any more than the wacko Catholicism of Legionaires of Christ, based on the teachings of serial pedophile, drug addict and con-man Marcial Maciel (based on the equally pernicious ideology of Falangism, emanating from Francisco Franco’s Spain and the ultra-reactionary Catholicism of Mexican synarchism) should.

Although I can’t say I’ve ever seen conclusive evidence that the old rogue is dead, it’s a certainty Maciel did die in Houston Texas 30 January 2008.  Like his fellow Mexican religious leader, Nazario Moreno González, Maciel died without creating the possible scandal a public trial would entail.  The difference between the two being that La Familia is pretty much a geographically limited movement, with limited economic and political power.  Marciel had world-wide ambitions and political ties, and — having been considered a “legitimate” enterprise for so long — the finances of what was basically a criminal enterprise is going to take years.

I doubt the Mexican state (or even Chapo Inc) will be able to force the faithful of la Familia to disappear their apostle completely, although the movement may be undergoing a forced restructuring, any more than the Roman Catholic Church, in the course of forceably restructuring the Legionaires, will lay to rest Maciel’s evil ghost, simply by ordering his disappearance from all Legioniaire propaganda and documents.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. alfredo permalink
    22 April 2011 9:12 am

    not to offent you. but you know knothing of drug runners. im from mexico. my government is shit, the people are shit, and if not member of a cartel you risk gettin killed and never found. its not like alot of people have a choice. and if they do its clear that workin for the mexican “police” or “army” means working for el chapo in the long run… El Chayo is a smart man who promised to cause hell in michoacan aka tierra caliente if ignored… enjoy future new about what he has planned. its not over, its never over. and on top of all it will get worse, way worse

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