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Maria Lionza

La Reina Santa Maria de La Onza, (The Queen Saint Mary of the Boar) Maria Lionza, is a goddess whose worship is very popular in Venezuela and nearby countries. Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522, when war and measles greatly weakened the Indigenous population. Slaves were imported from Africa, and relations among all the races over time bred a large class of mestizos, or mixed-bloods. Venezuela won independence from Spain in 1830, exported cocoa and coffee, then a major oil boom began after WWI. But society suffers from corruption, crime and drug traffic (The truth; World Drug Report). Its state oil-producing company, PDVSA, has a U.S. subsidiary named Citco. With a population of 29 million, Venezuela is ruled by descendants of the Spanish Conquistadors. The patriarchal tradition of South America's Catholic Church tends to support the conservative men of the upper class, and political conflict centers around the socialist President Hugo Chavez. The poverty rate is