Cults in Latin America

Alfredo Silletta
Argentinean Foundation for the Study of Cults
Buenos Aires, Argentina

       Vol. 11, No. 1, 1993
       Cultic Studies Journal
 

Abstract
The author estimates that more than 5,000 religious groups operate in Argentina, with as many as 50,000 sects and cults throughout Latin America. First are the "destructive cults," which demand total submission from their followers and utilize thought-reform techniques. Second are "controversial groups," which take advantage of the misery and marginality in the Latin American continent by playing to the population's alienation from the mainstream culture and need for simple, authoritative answers. Third are "risk groups," or the New Age movement. These groups, which promise personal peace and oneness with the cosmos, are most commonly found among the middle class, which often feels alienated from the Catholic Church and the evangelical-pentecostal pastors who cater to the lower class. The Argentinian Foundation for the Study of Cults (FAPES) was founded to help combat this problem. Between March and November of 1993, FAPES received more than 1,000 telephone calls and gave lectures attended by more than 15,000 people.

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