Violent Cult Emerges in Panama

Violent Cult Emerges in Secluded Panama Town


Scene of the horrific rituals in Panama (courtesy of AZ Family).

Taylor Shively, Assistant-Editor-In-Chief

El Terron is a small town that is nestled in the jungle of the indigenous town on Panama’s Caribbean coast. It’s home to about 300 people that are mostly Roman Catholics. The town lives by growing and selling yuca and rice. As the new year begun, one of the villagers returned from being abroad and began sharing new beliefs. As he shared these beliefs, a cult began to form; they became known as ‘La Nueva Luz de Dios,’ or ‘The New Light of God.’

The cult is made up of indigenous people who claimed to be chosen by God to sacrifice non-believers. The cult quickly turned violent when one of the members confessed he had a vision that everyone in the village had to repent their sins or die. On the weekend of January 11, cult members began dragging victims into an improvised church. There they ordered the villagers to close their eyes and pray. Those who didn’t submit would get beaten with sticks or slashed with machetes (Daily Beast).

A survior of the night, Dina Blanco, had gone to the church before to pray with her peers. However, this night she didn’t go willingly, as her neighbor, Olivia, told her she had to come whether she liked it or not. Upon arriving to the church, she did as the cult members ordered and prayed. According to New York Post, Blanco was with her father, 15-year-old son, and 9-year-old epileptic daughter. As she was praying, she felt something hit her in the head. When she awoke, she was ordered not to move or open her eyes. She could hear screams and cries, but didn’t see what was going on. Blanco stated that some people were ordered to strip and walk across glowing embers.

Blanco’s father and 15-year-old son escaped. However, her daughter was not so lucky. Late on the night of January 14/early the next morning, one of the cult members came and told Blanco that her daughter had died, and that the birds of the fields would dispose of her body. Blanco stated that her greatest pain was not the brusies or the slashes, but losing her daughter, whom she spent a lot of time caring for. Along with her daughter, Blanco’s pregnant neighbor and five of her children had also been killed in the rituals (ABC News).

Josué González, the husband of the pregnant woman and father of her kids, wasn’t dragged to the church, but went in order to try and save his family. According to The Washington Post, He was only able to recuse two of his children, a five-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy. His 15-year-old son also escaped the cult on his own. Since the town of El Terron is so isolated, González couldn’t get to the authorities in time. When they did show up, they found the wife and her five children, among other victims, decapitated and buried.

The next day, 14 more victims were found bound and beaten in a temple. Authorities arrested at least 9 of the cult members and they have been charged with murder.