In Brazil, ayahuasca is given to prisoners as part of rehabilitation. For several years now, the Brazilian organisation Acuda has been organising ayahuasca sessions with prisoners. It is a natural Amazonian entheogenic medicine that allows for experiences of consciousness expansion, full love and communion, liberation, healing, forgiveness, reconciliation… Several years ago the New York Times published an article (link below) about it that I leave you here below where they talked about this innovative therapy that actually has thousands of years of existence. It is common to call prisons «penitentiaries» and it is the right word as it is where people are taken to be punished, to pay penance. This is understandable from the point of view of the pain felt by those who have been affected by their misdeeds, who want them to «learn» and «take their own medicine» so that they know what hurts. However, it is well known that in all countries this does not usually work and they tend to leave more angry and resentful towards a society in which they do not want to «reisent themselves» because they consider it to be to blame for their misfortune on many occasions.
In the gangs they are «somebody», they feel important. In prison they are «somebody», they feel important. This search for personal importance, which is not alien to them, is in all of us. We like to be important to the world when we do great deeds, also when we feel important to our families and friends and even to Existence itself. The quest for importance is not always selfish but fulfils an essential and inalienable affective need in our heart, i.e. it is something creative but it can also become destructive and alienate us completely. Many prisoners reoffend because the crimes make them feel more important than any normal job, inside the prison they boast about their curriculum of crimes, in society they feel «nobody» doing an ordinary job.
They seek that importance in a violent way but they are crying out for love, they are crying out for «help me to be important», in fact many improve their mood and their way of relating when they start working in prisons or are sent to repair streets in the villages. The false power they seek to obtain through money, violence or extortion is in reality a perverse search for what only full trust and true peace can give them, no material or territorial «security» can give them the peace they crave in trying to dominate or control others.
That love and understanding can be found in therapists, new friends, partners who begin to transform and in the new environments where they are helped to participate as they serve their «sentence» or their «rehabilitation time», for they are rehabilitating themselves from a harmful way of relating that they once learned as a form of defence against their fears.
But the feeling of being important for life, the feeling of being recognised in their essential innocence and dignity beyond everything they have done is something that goes beyond the mind and the human and that is where ayahuasca and entheogens come in, with ayahuasca or bufo alvarius we can connect with that divine depth.
For those who are not familiar with the subject, they will oppose it because they will say «they kill people and we are going to give them drugs in prison». They do not know what they are talking about, in ayahuasca it is not all roses, it is not a drug to escape, as part of the process of liberation and connection with that Source of Love first occurs a destabilization of the psychic and physical defenses, the body is purged of toxins and the heart opens and it is there that you feel all that you have not allowed yourself to feel, the pain of having killed and seen die, your loneliness, the incomprehension of how you got there, the inner encounter with those you killed and their families, with your parents, with your inner child…. and after that storm the calm, the breeze of the new, the scent of a new possible life arriving in the harbour of their bruised hearts.
Bukele is world famous for his courage in confronting these organisations and for being an innovator in the way he has managed the management of covid in his country, his support for the new economic models of crypto-currency that seek to decentralise the monopoly of money as we know it to generate a dialectic and also for using social networks as a way of encouraging his country. Will he open up to this new possibility that comes to help him manage the lives of the new thousands of inmates that populate the prisons of El Salvador? The famous youtuber Jordi Wild has made an appeal from his networks to interview him, I make an appeal from mine for this to be shared and for him to read it.
Bukele, brother, we are in this together.
I know a Salvadoran doctor, facilitators, psychologists and people who work in the legal world who are willing to collaborate in this new possibility, my number is
+34 661023916 (Sergio Sanz Navarro, facilitator and integrator of processes of expanded states of consciousness, clinical psychologist, writer and a human being more devoted to love).
New york times article on the organisation that gives ayahuasca in Brazilian prisons:
Full technical and scientific expert report proving that ayahuasca is not only not harmful, but also enormously beneficial for public health. You can download it here: