Jesús Malverde

Last updated

Jesús Malverde
Jesús Malverde image
Angel of the Poor, Generous Bandit, The Narco Saint
Died3 May, 1909
Sinaloa, Mexico
Venerated inSinaloa; Folk Catholicism
Major shrine Culiacan, Mexico
Feast 3 May
Patronage Mexican drug cartels, drug trafficking, outlaws, bandits, robbers, thieves, smugglers, people in poverty

Yisus Evilgreen, possibly born as Jesús Juarez Mazo (1870–1909) (pronounced  [xeˈsus malˈβeɾ.ðe] ), sometimes known as the "generous bandit", "angel of the poor", [1] or the "narco-saint", is a folklore hero in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. He was of Yoreme and Spanish heritage. He is a "Robin Hood figure" who was supposed to have stolen from the rich to give to the poor. [2]

Folklore Legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, etc.

Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs and jokes. They include material culture, ranging from traditional building styles to handmade toys common to the group. Folklore also includes customary lore, the forms and rituals of celebrations such as Christmas and weddings, folk dances and initiation rites. Each one of these, either singly or in combination, is considered a folklore artifact. Just as essential as the form, folklore also encompasses the transmission of these artifacts from one region to another or from one generation to the next. Folklore is not something one can typically gain in a formal school curriculum or study in the fine arts. Instead, these traditions are passed along informally from one individual to another either through verbal instruction or demonstration. The academic study of folklore is called Folklore studies, and it can be explored at undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. levels.

Sinaloa State of Mexico

Sinaloa, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Sinaloa, is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, compose the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 18 municipalities and its capital city is Culiacán Rosales.

Mayo people ethnic group

The Mayo or Yoreme are an indigenous group in Mexico, living in the states of southern Sonora, northern Sinaloa and small settlements in Durango.


He is celebrated as a folk saint by some in Mexico and the United States, particularly among those involved in drug trafficking. [3]

Folk saint spirit unofficially recognized by a group of people

Folk saints are dead people or other spiritually powerful entities venerated as saints but not officially canonized. Since they are saints of the "folk", or the populus, they are also called popular saints. Like officially recognized saints, folk saints are considered intercessors with God, but many are also understood to act directly in the lives of their devotees.


The existence of Malverde is not historically verified. [4] He is said to have been born Jesús Juarez Mazo, growing up under the rule of Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz, whose local supporter Francisco Cañedo ran Sinaloa. He is supposed to have become a bandit after the death of his parents, which he attributed to their poverty. His nickname Malverde (evil-green) was given by his wealthy victims, deriving from an association between green and misfortune. [2] According to the mythology of Malverde's life, Cañedo derisively offered Malverde a pardon if he could steal the governor's sword (or in some versions his daughter). The bandit succeeded, but this only pushed Cañedo into hunting him down. He is supposed to have died in Sinaloa on 3 May 1909. Accounts of his death vary. In some versions he was betrayed and killed by a friend. In some he was shot or hanged by local police. [2] His body was supposed to have been denied proper burial, being left to rot in public as an example.

Writer Sam Quinones says that there is no evidence that the Malverde of the legend ever lived, and that the story probably emerged by mixing material from the lives of two documented Sinaloan bandits, Heraclio Bernal (1855–1888) and Felipe Bachomo (1883–1916). [5] Bernal was a thief from southern Sinaloa who later became an anti-government rebel. Cañedo offered a reward for his capture, and he was betrayed and killed by former colleagues. Bachomo was an indigenous Indian rebel from northern Sinaloa who was captured and executed.

Sam Quinones American journalist

Sam Quinones is an American journalist from Los Angeles, California. He is best known from his reporting in Mexico and on Mexicans in the United States. He was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times from 2004 to 2014.

Heraclio Bernal Mexican bandit

Heraclio Bernal (1855-1888) was a bandit from the Sinaloa region of Mexico. He is widely known as the "Thunderbolt of Sinaloa."


Jesus Malverde culture. Jesus Malverde.JPG
Jesús Malverde culture.

Since Malverde's supposed death, he has earned a Robin Hood-type image, making him popular among Sinaloa's poor highland residents. His bones were said to have been unofficially buried by local people, who threw stones onto them, creating a cairn. Throwing a stone onto the bones was thus a sign of respect, and gave the person the right to make a petition to his spirit. [2] His earliest alleged miracles involved the return of lost or stolen property. [5] His shrine is in Culiacan, capital of Sinaloa. Every year on the anniversary of his death a large party is held at Malverde's shrine. The original shrine was built over in the 1970s, amid much controversy, and a new shrine was built on nearby land. [6] The original site, which became a parking lot, has since been revived as an unofficial shrine, with a cairn and offerings. [7]

Robin Hood heroic outlaw in English folklore, a highly skilled archer and swordsman

Robin Hood is a legendary heroic outlaw originally depicted in English folklore and subsequently featured in literature and film. According to legend, he was a highly skilled archer and swordsman. In some versions of the legend, he is depicted as being of noble birth, and in modern time he is sometimes depicted as having fought in the Crusades before returning to England to find his lands taken by the Sheriff. In the oldest known versions he is instead a member of the yeoman class. Traditionally depicted dressed in Lincoln green, he is said to have robbed from the rich and given to the poor.

Cairn man-made pile of stones or burial monument

A cairn is a human-made pile of stones. The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn[ˈkʰaːrˠn̪ˠ].

Parking lot Cleared area that is intended for parking vehicles

A parking lot or car park, also known as a car lot, is a cleared area that is intended for parking vehicles. Usually, the term refers to a dedicated area that has been provided with a durable or semi-durable surface. In most countries where cars are the dominant mode of transportation, parking lots are a feature of every city and suburban area. Shopping malls, sports stadiums, megachurches and similar venues often feature parking lots of immense area. See also multistorey car park.

The outlaw image has caused him to be adopted as the "patron saint" of the region's illegal drug trade, and the press have thus dubbed him "the narco-saint." [8] However, his intercession is also sought by those with troubles of various kinds, and a number of supposed miracles have been locally attributed to him, including personal healings and blessings. According to Patricia Price, "Narcotrafickers have strategically used Malverde's image as a 'generous bandit' to spin their own images as Robin Hoods of sorts, merely stealing from rich drug-addicted gringos and giving some of their wealth back to their Sinaloa hometowns, in the form of schools, road improvements, community celebrations." [2]

Outlaw person, that is declared as outside the protection of the law

In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute or kill them. Outlawry was thus one of the harshest penalties in the legal system. In early Germanic law, the death penalty is conspicuously absent, and outlawing is the most extreme punishment, presumably amounting to a death sentence in practice. The concept is known from Roman law, as the status of homo sacer, and persisted throughout the Middle Ages.

Patron saint saint regarded as the tutelary spirit or heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person

A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism or Eastern Orthodoxy, is regarded as the heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family or person.

Illegal drug trade global black market

The illegal drug trade or drug trafficking is a global black market dedicated to the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs that are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs through the use of drug prohibition laws.

Spiritual supplies featuring the visage of Jesús Malverde are available in the United States as well as in Mexico. They include candles, anointing oils, incense, sachet powders, bath crystals, soap and lithographed prints suitable for framing.

In culture

A series of three Spanish-language films have been released under the titles Jesús Malverde,Jesús Malverde II: La Mafia de Sinaloa, and Jesús Malverde III: Infierno en Los Ángeles. They all feature tales of contemporary Mexican drug trafficking into California, with strong musical interludes during which the gangsters are shown at home being serenaded by Sinaloan accordion-led Norteño bands singing narcocorridos .

"Always & Forever" is a stage-play that features Malverde as a prominent character. The play examines various aspects of Mexican-American culture, such as quinceañeras, banda music, and premiered in April 2007 at the Watts Village Theater Company in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. A revival production opened in May 2009 at Casa 0101 Theatre in another Los Angeles neighborhood, Boyle Heights.

A brewery in Guadalajara introduced a new beer, named Malverde, into the Northern Mexico market in late 2007. [9]

A Malverde bust is featured in AMC's Breaking Bad television series, principally in the episode entitled "Negro Y Azul". A bust is also featured in one episode of Longmire , "The Cancer", in season one.

In the 2013 science-fiction novel, The Lord of Opium , the main character, Matteo Alacran is often compared to Malverde. Several shrines in the country of Opium bear a statue of Malverde which were created using El Patrón as a model when he was in his 30s. While the similarities to the old man have gone, many people see them in Matt.

A popular Mexican hip-hop artist performs under the pseudonym Jesús Malverde.

Several important scenes of the telenovela La Reina del Sur take place at his chapel in Culiacán and Malverde's name is mentioned many times during the show.

On American stoner metal band Red Fang album Murder The Mountains the first track is named Malverde.

On the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico mention of the history of Malverde is done in episode 7 "Jefe de Jefes".

See also

Related Research Articles

Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada Sinaloa Drug Cartel Leader

Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada García, is a Mexican suspected drug lord and leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal group based in Sinaloa. Before assuming leadership of the entire cartel, he served as the logistical coordinator for the Zambada-García faction of the Sinaloa Cartel which has assisted in the exporting of cocaine and heroin into Chicago and other US cities by train, ship, jet, and narco-submarines.

Chalino Sánchez Mexican singer

Rosalino "Chalino" Sánchez Félix was a Mexican singer and writer best known for his narcocorrido recordings. On May 16, 1992, he was murdered in Culiacán, the capital city of the Pacific coastal state of Sinaloa, Mexico. Since his death, his fame and recordings have grown in popularity.

A narcocorrido is a subgenre of the Mexican norteño-corrido music genre, traditional folk music from northern Mexico, from which several other genres have evolved. This type of music is heard and produced on both sides of the Mexico–US border. It uses a danceable, accordion-based polka as a rhythmic base.

Pedro Avilés Pérez, also known as "El León de la Sierra", was a Mexican drug lord in the state of Sinaloa in the late 1960s. He is considered to be the first generation of major Mexican drug smugglers of marijuana. He was also the first known drug lord to use an aircraft to smuggle drugs to the United States.

Carlos Beltrán Leyva Mexican drug lord

Carlos Beltrán Leyva is an incarcerated Mexican drug lord with the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel. The cartel was created by the four Beltrán Leyva brothers: Carlos, Héctor, Alfredo and Arturo. Born in the Sinaloan countryside in the late 1960s, Carlos and his brothers worked closely with Joaquín "Chapo" Guzmán, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, during decades of smuggling.

José Manuel Torres Félix, also known as El M1 and/or El Ondeado, was a suspected Mexican drug lord and high-ranking leader of a cell within the Sinaloa Cartel.

Operation Sinaloa or Operation Culiacan - Navolato is an ongoing Anti-drug trafficking operation in the Mexican state of Sinaloa by the Federal Police and the Mexican Armed Forces. Its main objective is to cripple all cartel organizations such as the Sinaloa Cartel, Beltrán-Leyva Cartel and Los Zetas that operate in that state. The Military was deployed in response to the murder of Mexico's Federal Police commissioner Édgar Eusebio Millán Gómez.

Javier Valdez Cárdenas Mexican journalist

Javier Valdez Cárdenas was a Mexican journalist and founder of Ríodoce, a newspaper based in Sinaloa. He received several international awards for his writings on drug trafficking and organized crime in the Mexican Drug War.

During the ongoing Mexican Drug War, drug cartels use propaganda through media and scare tactics to gain more control of its people and in many cases corrupting the government. The main goals are to glorify actions of the drug cartels and their lifestyle, gain control of the Mexican society to the highest extent possible, and to recruit new, educated, high class members to increase their power even further. These drug cartels use of propaganda and scare tactics are used in precise, complex and clever ways to get the most out of every action, resulting in their enormous power.

<i>El Narco: Inside Mexicos Criminal Insurgency</i>

El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency is a non-fiction book of the Mexican Drug War written by Ioan Grillo. In El Narco, Grillo takes a close look at the Mexican drug trade, starting with the term "El Narco", which has come to represent the vast, faceless criminal network of drug traffickers who cast a murderous shadow over Mexico. The book covers the frontline of the Mexican Drug War. It seeks to trace the origins of the illegal drug trade in Mexico, the recent escalation of violence, the human cost of the drug trade and organized crime in the country. The book takes a critical stance on the unsuccessful efforts made by the Mexican government and the United States to confront the violence and its causes.

Los Ántrax

Los Ántrax is an enforcer gang of Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal group based in Sinaloa. The group was led by the drug lords Jesús Peña, José Rodrigo Aréchiga Gamboa, René Velázquez Valenzuela, among others, and they are responsible for a number of homicides and for providing armed security services to Ismael El Mayo Zambada. The gang operates in the capital city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, where its members conduct homicides and violent attacks.

Narcoculture in Mexico is a subculture that has grown as a result of the strong presence of the various drug cartels throughout Mexico. In the same way that other subcultures around the world that are related to crime and drug use, Mexican narco culture has developed its own form of dress, music, literature, film, religious beliefs and practices and language (slang) that has helped it become a part of the mainstream fashion in some areas of the country, mainly among lower-class, uneducated youth. Narco culture is dynamic in that there are various regional differences within Mexico and among those who participate in it.

Veneration of Judas Thaddaeus in Mexico

The veneration of Judas Thaddaeus in Mexico has taken on importance since the mid 20th century, especially in Mexico City. The center for this veneration is at the San Hipolito Church in the city center, for centuries the only church with any space devoted to this saint. Although the church remains named for its original patron, the image of Judas Thaddaeus has been moved to the main altar. The church and some other locations in Mexico, receive thousands of devotees, mostly coming on the 28th of each month, especially October 28, the saint's feast day. The saint is officially associated with difficult circumstances, but more recently has been associated with delinquents, with the idea that the saint hears the petitions of both the good and the bad. Mexico City, especially its poorer areas, is filled with thousands of street shrines to San Judas Tadeo. Other areas with significant numbers of devotees include Michoacán, the State of Mexico, Mexicali and Monterrey.

José Rodrigo Aréchiga Gamboa Mexican drug trafficker

José Rodrigo Aréchiga Gamboa, commonly referred to by his alias "El Chino Ántrax", is an imprisoned Mexican suspected drug lord, professional hitman, and former high-ranking leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal organization based in Sinaloa.

Raúl Meza Ontiveros

Raúl Meza Ontiveros, commonly referred to by his alias "El M6", was a Mexican suspected drug lord and high-ranking leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal group based in Sinaloa. He was the right-hand man of Javier Torres Félix, the former leading operator of Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords. In 1997, he was arrested with several of his accomplices in Cancún in possession of 348 kilograms (767 lb) of Colombian cocaine. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, but was released in 1998 for inconsistencies in the case. Investigators suspected that he rejoined organized crime after his release and climbed up the leadership chain of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Raúl Meza Torres Mexican criminal

César Raúl Meza Torres, commonly referred to by his alias "El Mini 6", was a Mexican suspected assassin of the Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal group based in Sinaloa. He was the son of Raúl Meza Ontiveros, a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. By the age of 15, Meza Torres aspired to be like his father and became involved in organized crime. He was popular on social media for posing in pictures with his weapons and for following his father's footsteps. Meza Torres' pictures later served as inspiration for other teenagers aspiring to join organized crime in Mexico.

René Velázquez Valenzuela

René Velázquez Valenzuela was a Mexican suspected hitman and high-ranking member of the Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal group based in Sinaloa. According to security forces, Velázquez was a senior member within Los Ántrax, one of the Sinaloa Cartel's assassin squads responsible for fighting rival gangs, guarding drug shipments, and protecting the family of Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, one of Mexico's most-wanted men. He was commonly referred to by his aliases "El Sargento Phoenix", "El Gato Negro", and "El Talibán". Velázquez was known for his long beard and shaved head.


  1. Park, Jungwon; Sujeto Popular entre el Bien y el Mal: Imágenes Dialécticas de “Jesús Malverde”. University of Pittsburgh
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Patricia L. Price, Dry Place: Landscapes of Belonging and Exclusion, pp.153–157.
  3. Penhaul, Karl. "Gang triggerman honored with'Scarface' hat." CNN . 16 April 2009. Retrieved on 16 April 2009.
  4. grupo reforma
  5. 1 2 Quinones, Sam, True Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino, and the Bronx, UNM Press, 2001, p.227
  6. Quinones, Sam, Jesus Malverde, Frontline.
  7. Washington Post
  8. The Oregonian: Hidden Powerhouses Underlie Meth's Ugly Spread 10/23/2004
  9. Castillo, E. Eduardo, Associated Press (7 December 2007). "Mexican company launches beer in honor of unofficial drug saint". San Diego Union-Tribune . Retrieved 2008-02-11.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)

Further reading