Thursday, February 04, 2010

Avocados: Kinda Bad For You

If there's one great advantage life in Mexico has over life in the US, it's that avocados are priced about as close to $0 a kilo as possible, whereas in the US they're like four bucks apiece.

If there's one great disadvantage to life in Mexico, its that it's the kind of place where people who earn a lot of money - say, for example, guys who grow fruits that go for four buck a pop up in Gringolandia - tend also to earn visits from drug cartel muscle.

URUAPAN, Mexico (Reuters) - This sunkissed corner of western Mexico is the source of an annual bounty of guacamole dip for U.S. Super Bowl fans, but extortion and kidnapping by drug gangs has cast a grim shadow over its avocado farmers.

Michoacan's avocado farmers can easily earn more than $150,000 a year, a huge sum in Mexico.

All the large growers and packers around the city of Uruapan have been threatened, people in the industry say, as well-armed cartels search for new sources of revenue amid pressure from a government crackdown.

...With demands for regular payments, the cartels suck cash out of an industry that has brought hundreds of millions of dollars to Michoacan over the last decade. Kidnap ransoms are often equivalent to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Many growers now stay clear of their prized land, managing their farms remotely, for fear of being approached or abducted. Some go to farms during the day with bodyguards but live with their families in towns a safe distance away.

"Many of them give money, others don't," one manager said, also declining to be quoted by name. "If you don't give it, well, you are putting yourself in danger."

In early November, avocado producer Martin Gallardo, 62, was snatched by three armed kidnappers. Although his family agreed to pay a ransom, he was found dead two weeks later.

Way to put a damper on the Super Bowl, La Familia! We'll probably just make our famous salsa instead.


Anonymous said...

This guy Calderon should resign. All this started because drugs make people stupid. But drugs don't kill as many people as his stupid-planned war on drugs. He's responsible for all the deaths of his fellow countrypeople. This guy has no brains. 6 years from now he's going to be in the Hall of Shame of the history of Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! What the other guy said. Calderon is a burro pendejo!