‘El Niño Huachicolero’, fuel thieves’ patron saint

Niño Huachicolero (Photo: excelsior.com.mx)

It is well known that in Mexico and other countries of the world, there is a custom of worshipping images of virgins, holy infants and saints. In fact the Holy Infant of Atocha or Santo Niño de Atocha is a Roman Catholic image of the Christ Child tremendously popular among the Hispanic cultures of Spain and Latin America.

And in the year 2019, fuel thieves have come up with their own “Santo Niño“, ‘El Niño Huachicolero‘.

During the religious holiday known as Día de la Candelaria (or Candlemas in English), celebrated on February 2nd (Groundhog Day in the United States), people in Mexico dress up figures of the Christ Child in special outfits and take them to the church to be blessed. They also get together with family and friends to eat tamales, as a continuation to the festivities of Three Kings’ Day on January 6.

In time, little baby Jesus has been dressed up in different clothing for Día de la Candelaria, and people in Mexico and other Latin American countries have added accessories such as collars, medallions, pins, hats, flowers, scepters, chairs, and even hammocks, depending on which part of the world they are located.

Little baby Jesus in hammock, Mérida, Yucatán

PHOTO: Mexican Colors Art


Taking this into account, people who are dedicated to stealing gasoline, better known as ‘huachicoleros‘, decided to create their own patron saint so that ‘someone upstairs’ back them up in their illegal activities.

That is how the ‘Niño Huachicolero‘, came to exist. The image is similar to “El Santo Niño de Atocha” but instead of holding a scepter and flowers, this one carries a gasoline drum and a plastic hose, the basic tools for any modern fuel thief.

Those involved in the illegal activity of Huachicoleo pray to him and ask him to protect them from being caught and arrested while they are ‘milking’ clandestine takeovers. They also petition the Santo Niño to keep them and their families from fires or explosions during their working day.

Drug traffickers worship “La Santa Muerte” (Photo: Archive)

Known as the patron saint of violent drug cartels for her relative tolerance, Our Lady of Holy Death (Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte) is perhaps one of the most popular religious images in Mexico.


The image of “El Niño Huachicolero” quickly went viral on social networks and news websites throughout Mexico and other parts of the world.

TYT Newsroom with information from excelsior.com.mx



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