These Santería Stories From Miami Took Sad And Dark Turns For Everyone Involved

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Miami is famous for its beaches with crystal clear water, partying nightlife—and an active Santería religious community. The religion has its origins in the Caribbean as a religion that was brought over by the enslaved Yoruba people.

Once in Cuba, enslaved people kept aspects of the religion and also mixed it in with some elements of Roman Catholicism. It is practiced throughout parts of Latin America and in the United States as well, specifically in the Cuban-influenced city of Miami.

Like any religion, there are some bad apples that ruin the meaning of the religion for some people. Here are some stories about how some folks in Miami took Santería to disturbing places.

1. Injured chicken found by Parks Department employee in South Beach.

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Y tú sabes cómo atender a orumila ??????🤔🤫 Para atender a orumila no hay un día especifico es tu deida y orisha así que lo puedes atender cualquier día lo recomendable es , bien temprano en la mañana, para atenderlo es necesario no haber mantenido relaciones sexuales por lo menos cuarenta y ocho (48) horas previas, no puede estar disgustado, ni haber tomado bebidas alcohólicas previamente, esto es de estricto cumplimiento, porque resulta peligroso y ofensivo para Orula. Las mujeres no pueden estar menstruando para poder atender a este Santo. Si llegara a caer este Santo al piso debe recogerse con la boca para que no se sienta despreciado o que lo botaron intencionalmente. El día que se atiende este Santo debe ponérsele algo que a él le gusta (Addimú) y dejarlo alumbrado con dos (2) velas que se colocan en 2 platos o candelabros. Sele unta un poco de corojo y sele da nuestro aliento al atenderlo 🗣🗣🗣 Los Addimú (Ofrendas) que se le pueden ofrendar a Orula son los siguientes: Ñame: Entero o picado, crudo, sancochado, en bolas, torre, puré, frito. Granos: Cocidos o sancochados. Frutas: Enteras o picadas. Vegetales: Crudos o sancochados, enteros o picados. Arroz Amarillo: Con camarones, pescado o carne. Pescado: En cualquier forma preferiblemente enteros y con salsa, básicamente pargo. Dulces y Confituras: Todo tipo, caseros e industriales, preferiblemente de almíbar o capuchinos o que contegan almedras. Flores: Rojas, girasoles 🌻 entre otras pueden ser cuatro (4), ocho (8) o dieciséis (16). NOTA: Todos los alimentos deben probarse delante de Orula. 🌍 (Ifa todo lo contiene )🙏🙏 De nosotros es la responsabilidad de formar valores en nuestros hijos y ahijados Ashe iboru iboya ibosheshe saludos – – siempre pidiendo la bendición de bogbo “orisha”🕯🙏 – #osha #santeria #orisha #santerosdelmundo #yoruba #new #chile #italia #barcelona #olodumare #venezuela #eleggua #laroye #panama #nyc #instagood #italy #yemaya #shango #oya #oshun #obatala #oggun #oshosi #jimaguas #ifa #palomayombe #paleria #eggun #usa

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In 2013, a Parks Department employee was walking in South Miami Dade and found a chicken in an injured state. The Miami New Times got ahold of the email that was sent to the city’s parks department that details a family photo was pulled out of the live chicken as well as artifacts that were sewn onto the chicken. Someone or some family cut into a live chicken and stuffed artifacts inside and sewed him shut.

2. Dead chickens in the streets.

In a recent article from the Miami Herald, Miamians are seen as the second-most annoying neighbors in the country out of 24 cities. Miamians voted so themselves.

One of the main reasons Miamians have issue with their neighbors is because of the mess left behind from some Santería rituals. Miamians have reported seeing the bodies of dead chickens littering the streets and sidewalks after such rituals.

3. Looking to adopt a pet in Miami? Try rescuing a rooster.

Payo the rooster got a second chance at life with the help of a caring Miami family who persuaded a Santería priest to sacrifice another animal instead of him. However the neighbors aren’t feeling like they’re lucky and are starting to hate Payo.

His name with his neighbors? El terrorista (the terrorist) because he sticks his chest out to demand for food, attacks dogs, cats and even people, and also crows very loudly very early in the morning. Payo might be shipped off to a neighboring farm if his owner doesn’t get him to be a more considerate rooster.

4. Murder, Santería and fleeing to Argentina.

In one of the most Miami-esque stories, a jeweler named Hugo Quesada was determined to be a Santero. He claimed he asked for the help of a father and daughter duo of Santería followers, but when they refused, he strangled them and stuffed the father’s body in a shed.

He also pleaded guilty to the murder of the man’s wife as well. Quesada fled to Argentina until he was found by Argentine agents and extradited to Florida.

5. Slaughtered horses are “not uncommon” in the area.

In January of this year, a woman was walking around Northwest Miami-Dade and found the body parts of 20 slaughtered horses. The crazier part? Rachel Taylor of the Animal Recovery Mission said “It’s not uncommon in this area.”

Investigators are having a hard time figuring out who committed the heinous act and why. Taylor said the horses could have been slaughtered for horse meat or also for Santería rituals, which complicates the search for answers.

READ: 10 Folk Religions You Didn’t Know Existed In Latin America And The Caribbean

Are you a Miami native that has heard of some chilling Santeria rituals? Let us know in the comments below and share this article with your friends.

This Queer Colombian Muralist Is Changing The World One Wall At A Time


This Queer Colombian Muralist Is Changing The World One Wall At A Time

@jessicasabogal / Instagram

Jessica Sabogal is a Colombian muralist adding her unique beauty to walls from the Bay Area to Canada to nationally distributed posters. Sabogal begins each project by researching the neighborhood her work will be showcased. Then, she decides what la gente need to see to disrupt their daily lives. Her work has commemorated trans lives lost, showcased queer women taking up space, and exalted immigrants as “greatness.”

Primero, meet Jessica Sabogal.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Sabogal was born and raised in San Francisco, born to Colombian immigrants who narrowly escaped Pablo Escobar’s pervasive violence and terror in their community. They came for education and they gave their daughter a college education.

Sabogal graduated from UC San Diego in 2009.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

She became politically active during her undergraduate career and majored in Political Science. By the time she graduated, however, she couldn’t imagine putting on a suit and tie and working in politics. So she put on a gas mask and got some spray paint instead.

 Sabogal started with stencil spray painting.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

She wanted to make political statements on a larger scale, and, shockingly, the mere mirroring of Latinx culture is a political statement. Soon, her stencil art started to go viral.

This image of Chicana writer and theorist, Cherríe Moraga, is one of her first viral works.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Since then, she’s started the “Women are Perfect” campaign, which depicted different portraits of her feminist icons. Some critics have claimed that this campaign sets an impossible standard for women, and that women don’t have to be perfect.

Sabogal’s message is that women already possess perfection, without having to try.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

She aims to portray real women in her lives. Indigenous women from her homeland in Colombia. Her intern. Her neighbors, educators and other activists in the community. These women make up “Women are Perfect.”

Soon, she started being commissioned to paint entire walls.

CREDIT: @Buzzfeed / Twitter

She’s making sure that White America can see Brown and Black America. That White America doesn’t forget their privilege, and the power that comes with it to dismantle white supremacy.

Sabogal’s art is la lucha against gentrification.

CREDIT: @Buzzfeed / Twitter

This mural went up in Salt Lake City as part of the city’s mural project. In an interview with Slug Magazine, Sabogal explained her goal for this specific work of art:

“My work always has two intentions. If you see it and you get it, it’s for you. I hope it’s validating and grounding for you. For the folks that feel anything else, if they feel uncomfortable or [question] why it’s in Spanish, or don’t immediately understand its importance, it’s for [them] too. My goal is to make you curious about your apprehension to the work, to sit in it and have the uncomfortable conversations about it.

Sabogal has continued her family’s legacy of prioritizing education first.

CREDIT: @Buzzfeed / Twitter

Her work has moved her parents. Her mother, Regina Otero-Sabogal has described Jessica as someone who doesn’t ever give up, and it shows.

She has committed herself to raising awareness and combatting violence against the trans community.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Chyna Gibson was a black trans woman murdered in Sacramento earlier this year.

Caption: “The death of Chyna Gibson, the death of Stephon Clark, the deaths of the countless names we hear every day on the news, were not isolated incidents. As the artists responsible for memorializing Chyna Gibson’s legacy, we could not do so without pushing the viewer to draw connections to broader structural issues of oppression and violence. We can not talk about racism without taking about whiteness. We can not talk about Black lives matter without talking about Black Trans Lives. We can not look at problems at the individual level when they affect our families and communities as a whole. So we urge you that stand here today, to ask yourselves the question, what will you do to protect our trans community?”

Her campaign has garnered the attention of powerhouses like Laverne Cox.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Because women are perfect, and Jessica Sabogal is one of them. She’s currently actively seeking queer, trans, women of color in the Bay Area for her next project. If that’s you, slide into her DM’s, it’s all welcome.

Showcasing lesbians and queer folks has proven controversial.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

The above mural was created in Montreal during the annual Decolonizing Street Art Convergence, and critics have spoken out about it. In an interview with Xpress Magazine, Sabogal said, “Why is it a big deal for me to produce a big lesbian mural in Canada? I am discovering it is a big deal because it is still not being talked about.”

Though she has received wide, positive reception, even commissioning the walls of Facebook headquarters.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

“Muralism for me is the beginning of a creation of my own political system—my own way of bringing about the most change I possibly can,” she told Slug Magazine. “In a way, they are small “advertisements” created in the name of my own people instead of trying to target us to buy something. They bring validation instead of trying to take something from us.”

Her murals say what we all want to, and it cannot be ignored.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Sabogal makes a huge effort to put indigenous people at the center of her work. No white person can argue with that statement, and it’s too true for so many in our community.

Her murals have been so powerful that some people have defaced the work.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

Sabogal, joined with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh and Melinda James, together called When Women Disrupt, traveled the country creating murals on college campuses. This one was defaced in Los Angeles, at USC. It was restored.

“I will not mourn the decline of whiteness in my America.”

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

“Liberation is not white,” “White supremacy is killing me,” “America is Black,” and other statements have captured the attention of so many, and of course given some white folks some strong opinions.

When Women Rebel have defended their work.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

On its website, the feminist collective wrote, “By confronting communities in the public space with art that uplifts the voices and sacredness of people whom history has often rendered invisible and less than human, WWD’s intention is to provoke greater discussion and thinking about the institutionalized and everyday systems of power and representation that reinforce racism, patriarchy, and inequity.”

In a medium that is male dominated, just by creating her work, Sabogal is breaking glass ceilings.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

You might have recognized much of her work as part of Shepard Fairley’s “We The People” Public Art Campaign. I’m shocked if you haven’t screenshotted any of these images to your IG story.

You can buy her prints on her website.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram is home to all of her work, in highest resolution, along with a shop of her available work. Want to support a queer Colombiana while making your home modern and welcoming AF? Here’s you chance.

And bring your truth to life all around you.

CREDIT: @Buzzfeed / Twitter

Here we are, in all our glory. Her latest campaign is called “Our Existence Will No Longer Be Silenced.” It goes onto say that “we require no explanations, apologies, or approvals.”

Whatever you do, follow her work.

CREDIT: @jessicasabogal / Instagram

You can follower her on Instagram @jessicasabogal, support her artistry at or just go right ahead and add her work to your IG story already. She lifts us all up. Vamos a dar lo mismo.

READ: You’re About To Want All Boricua Elizabeth Barreto’s Illustrations Tattooed On Your Body

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