SCI Instructors Robert Bunker and John P. Sullivan write in an article for the Small Wars Journal about the ideological and cultural narratives influencing the actions of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members. In “Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 8: Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) Links to Occult Rituals and Santa Muerte Veneration or Worship,” they explain trends and causes behind MS-13 occultism and torture killings. They write:
Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) as a street gang—as well as a group with prison gang attributes in Central America—has greatly evolved over the course of the last four decades. Starting out as a Los Angeles ‘stoner gang’ (Mara Salvatrucha Stoners—MSS), it then was directly influenced by the brutality of the El Salvadoran civil war with an influx of new members (losing the second S in the gang name in the process), became a vassal of the Mexican Mafia (with the addition of the 13 to its name—MS-13), was increasingly influenced by the Mexican cartels, and finally has come under the sway of darker Santa Muerte influences. Beyond its journey from a local street to a transnational power-seeking gang, the overlapping ideological themes and cultural narratives underlying Mara Salvatrucha’s evolution have been built upon a foundation of Satanism, occultism, brutality and torture, and rampant criminality. While some gang cliques and their members are still primarily secular in their orientation and view Satanism and occultism from more of an ideological perspective many others embrace a 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.
Read the full article.