Context: Subject grew up in New York City, but spent his high school education in California.
“So El Cuco, which is basically like the boogeyman in Latin households. It started in Latin America basically. So my parents grew up with it and they passed it down to me. What it basically is is that it’s a boogeyman for children who misbehave so parents can say oh you better behave or el cuco will take you away. It’s basically just like a way to prevent children from acting up, because the way they describe the figure is sort of a demon-like figure. So it makes children afraid, also because he’s always watching you. He’s like the anti-santa clause. He knows when you misbehaving and at any moment he can take you away”.
This piece of folklore here clearly aligns itself with the pieces of folklore created for the sole purpose of teaching children how the world works. The harmless white lies told to children in order to indoctrinate them into society, teaching them lessons of empathy and responsibility, are best done through stories such as this.