Santos Malandros is Spanish for “Holy Thugs.”
The Associated Press says
These mystical figures are part of the two-century-old cult tradition known as Maria Lionza, the Venezuelan variation of Santeria — the faith that began in Cuba when African slaves blended Yoruba spiritual beliefs with Roman Catholic traditions. It’s named for a beautiful Indian woman from the western state of Yaracuay who is considered to preside over various courts of spirits in Venezuela.
– Source: No angels in life, dead criminals venerated in Venezuela, Associated Press, Oct. 11, 2014– Article continues after this advertisement –