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Latin America

Persecution Type

Organized crime and corruption



Persecution Level

Very High






Federal presidential republic


President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

Profile of Persecution

Violence 12.6/16.7
Church Life 10.3/16.7
National Life 10.8/16.7
Community Life 12.5/16.7
Family Life 8.3/16.7
Private Life 10.3/16.7

What does persecution look like in Mexico?

In Mexico, criminal groups struggle for territorial control. Christians are perceived (and rightly so) to be against criminal operations and violence, and are therefore at constant risk of being targeted for elimination. In rural indigenous communities, anyone who turns from traditional religious beliefs can face rejection and punishment in the form of fines, imprisonment, and forced  displacement. As Christians hold fast to traditional, biblical views on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, parental rights and religious liberty, they become less tolerated in the public square. Non-discrimination laws mean that any links between Christian faith and politics are placed under very strict legal scrutiny.

Meet Pastor Imeldo

When Pastor Imeldo returned from a few years living in the U.S., he was welcomed by his home village. He created a Bible study that grew to need a church building, which he built on family land. But when Christians came into town to meet at the church, officials closed it down and arrested Pastor Imeldo. After two days, the town’s assembly ordered him to leave. He recalls someone telling him that day: “Imeldo, you have to understand that we want to preserve our customs, we don’t want what you bring because then our traditions will disappear.”

What has changed this year?

Mexican criminals were able to take advantage of the socio-political instability surrounding the COVID-19 crisis to reinforce and increase their territorial dominance, generating greater vulnerability (and increased violence) for Christians. The COVID-19 context also encouraged the indigenous community authorities to act more harshly against those Christians refusing to adhere to traditional customs. Additionally, it’s becoming more difficult for Christians to find a chance to express their viewpoints in the public square.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Criminal networks that have spread throughout Mexico act as drivers of persecution wherever the church is perceived as a threat to their interests. Mexico’s southern states are the main areas for clan oppression, violating the rights of Christians inside indigenous communities. Church buildings have been vandalized by those who have a radical commitment to secularism and are opposed to any Christian values.

What does Open Doors do to help?

Open Doors is engaged in research and communication to raise awareness about the persecuted church in Mexico and to help the church cope with persecution. We also encourage advocacy to help address root causes of persecution at the local, federal and regional levels, as well as raise prayer support from the worldwide Church for persecuted believers. Finally, we develop training to help the Mexican church be aware of and respond biblically to persecution.

Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2021).

Pray for Mexico

  • Pray for believers who face difficult choices when confronted with organized violence in their communities. Ask God to give them wisdom and courage to confront it in a Christ-honoring way.
  • Lift up those who come to faith in Christ in indigenous communities and find themselves ostracized as a result. Pray for their positive influence to turn the tide of this persecution.
  • Pray for open minds in Mexico when Christian voices speak out about social issues. Pray that people would listen and move toward God.

Stories from Mexico

May 6, 2022

Evicted for Jesus in Mexico

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February 22, 2022

The Olympics are over—but our prayers can’t be

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February 10, 2022

30 prayers for suffering Christians in Olympic countries

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