MIAMI — Reports in three local newspapers have been focused on neglect and vandalism in some cemeteries here. Only one article stressed allegations of grave desecration involving Afro-Caribbean religions. Unfortunately, that paper has the largest circulation of the three. These problems are most severe at two black cemeteries that opened during the Jim Crow era. Neither cemetery has enough funds to provide proper security, upkeep, and maintenance, which increases their risk for vandalism.
The Miami New Times reports this week that Santero Carlos Valdes is pushing to have a violent stalking case prosecuted as a hate crime, which, if successful, would make it the first official hate crime charge involving anti-Santeria sentiments.
Santero Carlos Valdes performing a ceremony at his home. Prosecutors contend [Kellyd] Rodriguez has terrorized Valdes’s family for four years. It began with anti-Santería rants on the phone, Valdes says, and escalated into death threats, rock-throwing, drive-by shootings, and even heart-stopping phone calls to his young daughters’ schools. […] The oriate is also pushing prosecutors to charge Rodriguez with the first hate crime connected to Santería.