The Spanish word for witchcraft is brujeria. Throughout Latin America people practice many forms of witchcraft. For the most part, it’s done pretty openly. In Mexico, you can find witches selling their craft right out of their homes or from stalls in the town marketplaces. Seeing a witch for some people is like seeing any other spiritual adviser or health provider. She helps you find love, land a job, or change your luck. You can consult a witch for any social or medical concern you can think of. And in the case of a dark witch, you can ask them to bring harm to your enemies.
Of course this wasn’t always the case, and there are many documented historical accounts of both men and woman being persecuted for witchcraft.
One documented account includes an Afro-Mexican healer by the name of Ana de Vega in 1647. Ana was well-known for her medical skill and used by many of the upper class families. She landed herself in trouble by treating a wealthy Spanish woman named Maria Sambrano. The woman’s condition had already stumped a traditional doctor when Ana stepped in. Ana diagnosed the woman as being under the influence of witchcraft. She also pointed the finger of guilt at the woman’s own daughter-in-law. When the woman’s son, Francisco Sambrano heard about the charges against his wife, he turned the tables on Ana. With his superior social standing, Francisco Sambrano was able to get the Holy Office of the Inquisitor in Mexico City to charge Ana. One of the charges against Ana was curing without a license. She was also accused of employing witchcraft with the intention of dividing the Sambrano family. It took six months to try Ana. She remained in prison during the process and eventually she was convicted of being a witch. She received two hundred lashes, administered in public and was exiled from her village. Ana was not alone, hundreds of people were charged with witchcraft by the Mexico City Inquisitor. Ana was one of the lucky witches. Many Latin American witches faced a much harsher end.
Source: The Human Tradition in Colonial Latin America, Kenneth J. Andrien editor & Christians, Blasphemers, and Witches: Afro-Mexican Ritual Practice, by Joan Cameron Bristol.