Sandusky Register, 2/16/08: Santeria gains ground in Catholic Venezuela [Excerpts]--The man says he is possessed by a god. He shouts, his body trembles and he lifts a sacrificed lamb to his lips, drinking its blood from the jugular. This initiation ceremony...has become increasingly common in Venezuela, as the traditions of Santeria and other folk religions gain followers.
The rituals have become an attractive option for Venezuelans seeking a unique spiritual path....In Venezuela, many shops have sprung up in recent years selling animals to be sacrificed. [H]undreds of white-clad believers...recently crowded into a Catholic church, praying before a...manifestation of the Virgin Mary, who they said represents a patriarch in the pantheon of Yoruba gods.
Santeria was born in Cuba among Yoruba slaves from West Africa [who] fused their beliefs with Catholicism. Catholic leaders consider the rituals idolatrous, but have come to tolerate the popular practice.
"Santeria is on the rise because there are many people who need the help of higher powers to overcome their problems," said Belkis, a 51-year-old "santera."
[TBC: People indeed need help, yet few want it on the terms of the only true and living God. That makes them ripe for "seducing spirits and the doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy:4:1).]