Hispanic Gangs - Cultural Ties To Mexico,
Cuba, Central and South America
The term "Hispanic" is merely a political designation to refer to people
of Latino descent as a distinct populace. Latino would be more
This broad category generally refers to gangs with cultural ties
often includes indigenous Chicanos, Mexicans, El Salvadorians,
Cubans, South Americans, and anyone else from a Spanish-speaking
Hispanic street gang members often dress distinctively, use monikers,
display colors, communicate through graffiti, and bear tattoos (frequently
denoting monikers or gang affiliations). Often intergenerational, the gangs
usually have a long tradition that inspires extreme loyalty by members,
including a strict code of silence. This unwritten code emphasizes that members
never cooperate with law enforcement or other authorities and never inform. For
this reason, many agencies regard Hispanic gangs as more difficult to
investigate than relatively newer gangs. As with many other gangs, membership
may require commission of a crime.
Hispanic gangs, whose names frequently refer to their territories (such as
streets), tend to be highly turf oriented, a characteristic that often triggers
violence when the neighborhood or barrio is perceived as threatened by rival
gangs or government agencies. Violence toward rivals is often regarded as
legitimate behavior, with no insult too small to go unanswered. Crimes
committed by Hispanic gangs include homicide, assault, drug trafficking,
robbery, and auto theft. Particularly in the Western States, agencies observe
that Hispanic gang leadership is quite fluid and may be assumed by any member
who has the skills required at any given moment.
The different levels of membership complicate the
issue of gang organizational structure. Thus, when a person is
identified or voluntarily self-identifies, very little is being
conveyed about that person's authority over others or even about
personal involvement in gang activities.
Among the varying degrees of membership, there are the
so-called "hardcore," who are able to mobilize the others.
There are also peripherally associated members, or
"associates" some of whom hang out with the others for the status and
recognition they receive,
Some youths engage in more gang activities than others; some might be
called "the wannabes" who move out of the influence of the gang on the
basis of whether or not a program or other interest intercepts drawing
them completely away from the gang. Within the "wannabes" there are many
little brothers and sisters, sometimes referred to as "pee wees."
Source: in part -USDOJ
Language within the Latino community
community refers to "la choleria" or "Los Cholos," they mean both males
and females, mostly gang-affiliated, but including those who are
non-gang affiliated sporting the gang styles and cholo appearance. This
consists of excessive make-up, strikingly harsh eye liner applied in two
or three colors for the females and the cholo look for the boys.
Cholo language today is a distinct blend of barrio language, of
Calo (a dialect of the entire Spanish speaking Southwest) as well as
a more recent vernacular charged with expletives and many terms from
the criminal and drug domain.
It must be stressed that not all of these terms are used exclusively
by gangs. Some of the terms are also a part of the language spoken in
chingao - (pronounced ching-gow) (with the loss of voiced fricatives
/d/ in the
intervocalic position. Might be used as chingao hombre = Damn,
Similarly, "mojado" becomes "mojao." Dropping the voiced fricative
/d/ in the intervocalic position occurred throughout when speaking
No chinges con migo - (don't mess with me) or "No chinges."
Chingasos (go to blows, a beating)
el mas chingon - the toughest, most macho (male)
la mas chingona - the toughest (female) or the top dog
Estar firme - to get down, or get yourself together, although to get
down for someone also means to go to the ultimate for that person or for
the gang. To have back-up in a sense.
Pinche - Ese pinche vato - That f---ing guy.
Puto - Homosexual
La ruca,la loca - references to females.
Mi chava - my girlfriend
Una chavalona - a young good looking female.
Vatos - dudes, guys.
Pendejo - fool
Lambiche - kiss ass, a brown noser
Camaradas - homeboys/ and girls
Hecho tiempo conmigo - Someone did time with me
"Mamacita" often spoken with a lecherous overtone sometimes
derisively addressed to good looking females or female passers-by.
Esta mas loco que la fregada/que la madre/ que la chingada all meant
"He's crazier than hell!"
Tecatos/tecatas - heroin users
No me anden vacilando - Don't be pulling my leg, putting me on,
messing with me.
cuete - gun
an 8-ball - a quantity of cocaine
(a number of drug-related jargon words were used frequently)
mucho pedo - a big rucus, to make trouble
no esta limpio - he's not drug free
Que relaje - an embarrassment /also refers to males or females who
squeal to the police on the camaradas/the bros/homegirls,
Que honda - greeting like "What's happening"
Latino street gangs - A major issue in the U.S.
The links below are examples of a few of the more well known
Hispanic street and prison gangs. The list is by no means all