Authorities Call For Regulations Of "Brujeria" (witchcraft)
It is unknown exactly how many fall victim to scams and cons by “brujeria” (witchcraft) in Costa Rica, only that in San José alone at least 10 criminal complaints are filed each year.
For this, the sub-director del Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), Francisco Segura, is calling on legislators to close the loophole in the law that allows the practice brujeria and the placing ads in the media that leads the public to be scammed.
The investigative unit that handles the complaints is the Fiscalía de Fraudes.
Segura says that this year alone the five complaints filed amount to some ¢40 million colones being scammed. But, the total loss could actually be much higher, assures Segura, as many do not report the scam mainly out of feelings of shame, while others fear reprisals or curses.
Scanning the pages of the local newspapers in Costa Rica one can find all types of ads, from increasing sexual potency, to recovering a lost love to winning the lottery.
Costa Ricans are bombarded with these types of ads for a quick solution to their problems. And that is where many fall easy victims to scam artists.
It is not unusual for a “brujo/bruja” to ask for a picture of a loved one for, in exchange for cold hard cash, magic can bring back that lost love.
In the barrios, like Hatillos, tarot card and palm reading costs only a few thousand colones and though there is no sign posted on the door, everyone one knows where the “magic” is performed. Some offer services of cleansing of one’s homes, office or business of evil spirits, while others use candles, incense and incantations.
Of course, there is the also the darker side of the magic, the side where the brujo/bruja can place a curse or conjure up spells, etc. However, there types of services are rarely announced in the ads.
Confusing to the public is the “genuine” article – though who truly believe they have a special gift and the scammers. The difference, for the most part, being that the genuine really believe in what they do.
The magic in Costa Rica comes under different names that include “sacerdotisas”, “shaman”, “diosas de la santería haitiana” and “santeros cubanos”.
According to Randall Céspedes of the Fiscalía de Fraudes de San José, his offices deals with between 10 and 12 complaints every year, “but nobody goes to jail”.
Céspedes added that there are cases of alleged brujos linked to sexual abuse.