Betty Sanchéz, MA

On May 13, 2019, the court of Guaduas in Cundinamarca, Colombia, pronounced the guilty verdict against the supposed “taita” and connoisseur of “yajé,” Edgar Orlando Gaitán Camacho, for three cases of sexual abuse of minors with disabilities. He was reported by nine women in Villeta and five women in Medellín (where the criminal case has not advanced). Some of these sexual abuses were performed in yajé ceremonies at Finca El Sol Naciente in la Vega Cundinamarca, Colombia. This criminal process has been in process since 2013. I was an expert witness during the trial. Six years after the allegations, the condemnatory decision was pronounced by a national judge. This is a milestone for a new form of crime happening during yajé ceremonies in which certain individuals present themselves as “taitas” with knowledge of the use of plants such as yajé, as “spiritual guides,” indigenous doctors, and “new messiahs.” In many cases, these characters are abusers; rapists of women in contexts of supposed “traditional” therapies… continue reading.

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