The Experience of the SPES Foundation: Some Remarks on the Different Attitudes Toward New Religious Movements in Argentina and in Europe
Vol. 11, No. 1, 1993
Cults appear to be as active in Argentina as in most European countries. At the end of 1992, 2,986 distinct religious movements had been registered with the Ministry of Cults and Foreign Affairs. Although "cult" has a less pejorative connotation in Argentina than in the United States, many of these registered groups are probably cults according to the usual definition of the term in the United States. The SPES Foundation (Servicio Para el Esclarecimiento en Sectas) is a professional organization founded to help deal with this problem. In 1992 the SPES Foundation responded to 1,745 inquiries. Argentina's cult situation differs from that of Europe in three ways. First, in Argentina large numbers of "pentecostal" groups are so psychologically manipulative that they can be considered cults. Second, Argentina has had an influx of Afro-Brazilian cults not seen in Europe. And third, in Argentina there is much less understanding of the problem and more reluctance to take concrete action against it.