Culture

This New Facility Cost $12 Million And It’s All Designed To Stop Rampant Avocado Theft

avocadosfrommexico / Instagram

So avocado theft is one of the reasons that our beloved aguacate has been getting more and more expensive. According to Mexican authorities, the industry loses more than 12 tons of avocados to theft each day! That’s a lot of missed guacamole potential.

So together with the USDA, one Mexican group is creating a new facility and identifying new shipping routes to help cut these losses which are spiraling out of control.

Avocado growers have teamed up to build a facility that helps prevent theft.

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The absolutely depressing rise in avocado prices has left many of us nearly penniless but our problems pale in comparison to those being faced by the agricultural industry in Mexico.

Each and every day nearly 12 tons of avocados are stolen between the orchards and packing plants.

Between 2017 and 2019, Mexico reported 440 avocado theft investigations, and because Mexican-grown avocados made up 78 percent of the U.S. market last year, this spells trouble Stateside as well. Producers lose an average of four truckloads of avocados per day because of organized crime intervention. The majority of Mexican avocados that make their way to the U.S. come from the state of Michoacan, in a city called Uruapan, which accounts for 92 percent of Mexico’s avocado production last year,

I mean, apparently, avocado theft is a legit thing.

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And we’re not talking about shoving that $1.99 avocado in your pocket at the supermarket or “forgetting to pay” for a few that may have fallen into your purse.

Back in 2017, three men in California were arrested on suspicion of grand theft of avocados after the disappearance of $300,000 worth of the creamy fruit.

Police believe the men were stealing and selling avocados to unsuspecting customers for at least several months. 

The new $12 million facility is meant to finally address the issue of widespread theft.

A new $12 million facility will be built; a venture between the Association of Export Producers and Packers of Avocado from Mexico (APEAM), the Mexican Department of Agriculture and Agrarian Development (SADER), and also house the local offices for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Casa APEAM, as the facility is called, will also be part of Mexican officials new strategy to find safer export routes for avocados out of Mexico.

Silvano Aureoles, the governor of Michoacán, said he is working with avocado producers to plot new trucking routes to avoid the theft of trucks and merchandise. Part of these new actions could be exporting the avocados from the Port of Lázaro Cárdenas instead of the Port of Manzanillo, putting surveillance cameras on the road to Lázaro Cárdenas and increasing surveillance of truck shipments out of Michoacán.

And this news couldn’t come soon enough because prices for avocados continue to skyrocket!

Credit: @wdsu / Twitter

Avocado prices have been soaring recently, with a recent report revealing that the national price of Hass avocados has risen by 93 cents since last year.

On the wholesale side (think restaurants, markets), last year a 25-pound box cost $37 but that price has risen to $89 in 2019. That’s a huge and unfortunate increase for lovers of aguacate.

READ: 24 Ways To Use Avocado That Aren’t Guacamole

Mexican Officials Jailed This Donkey Because His Owners Didn’t Pay Their Property Taxes But The Donkey Is Finally Out Of Jail

Things That Matter

Mexican Officials Jailed This Donkey Because His Owners Didn’t Pay Their Property Taxes But The Donkey Is Finally Out Of Jail

@Abriendo_Brecha / Twitter

A burro walls free after spending more than 72 hours in a local Mexican jail. He was booked and thrown in there because his owners, a couple in their eighties, were unable to pay their property taxes. 

Together with the help of a local animal welfare group, the donkey is a free from the jail cell and is once again back with his owners. 

Animal lovers everywhere are celebrating the news of a burros release from jail.

A donkey has been freed from jail in San Sebastián Río Dulce, Oaxaca, after 72 hours behind bars through the efforts of an animal rights organizations.

The animal was arrested over the weekend for its owners’ inability to pay local taxes.

Pascual Cruz and Alejandra Mejía, both in their 80s, did not have the means to pay the taxes, which other residents have denounced as abusively high.

After hearing that the couple had been refused the right to take the donkey food and water during its detention, animal rights activists in the state united to file an animal cruelty case with the state Attorney General’s Office.

Oaxaca animal rights group president Hilda Toledo said that activists had planned on going to Río Dulce to protest but the town is considered dangerous and outsiders must solicit authorization to enter, so they chose the legal route.

It all started when a couple in their eighties allegedly didn’t pay taxes. 

A donkey was booked into the town jail in San Sebastián Río Dulce, Oaxaca, apparently for unpaid property taxes.

In a truly cruel move, the city’s tax agent ordered the animals arrest so that the elderly couple wouldn’t be able to transport the firewood they use for cooking. But  Pascual Cruz and Alejandra Mejía, 88 and 86-years-old respectively, say they’ve been caught up in a power struggle between groups trying to take control of local resources. 

Authorities in the Mexican state of Oaxaca came to seize the couple’s burro.

Even though the couple says they only use the burro for domestic uses around the house, not for economic gain, the tax agent seized the donkey and placed it in the town jail. 

The incarceration was denounced by the Network of United Animal Rights Activists of Oaxaca.

“It may not be of much interest or importance to others, but it is for the animal’s owners,” said the organization in a Facebook post, “given that it is one of their most valuable possessions, since they use it to transport firewood from the hills to their home.”

The burro was being held without food or water and many people around Mexico were upset by the animal cruelty.

The couple also claims to have been refused the right to take the animal food and water during several days of imprisonment.

Many people around the world were really concerned for the donkey – some even writing to PETA for help.

One Twitter user wrote to to PETA and. Arjona animal rights supporting celebrities including Ricky Gervais. It’s not clear if any of them were involved in the release of the burro. 

Strangely, this isn’t the first time a donkey has been placed under arrest and thrown behind bars.

Another Mexican donkey landed itself in jail after biting and kicking two men.

The animal was locked up in a holding pen normally used for keeping drunks off the streets after it lashed out at the pair at a ranch in Chiapas state. 

The owner of the angry burro, Mauro Gutierrez, was told that he‘d have to pay the injured men’s medical bills before the creature is released from custody.

Mexico And The World Mourn The Loss Of Celso Piña, One Of Mexico’s Greatest Musicians

Entertainment

Mexico And The World Mourn The Loss Of Celso Piña, One Of Mexico’s Greatest Musicians

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If there’s one instrument that best describes Mexican music is has to be the accordion. While the musical key instrument known as a squeezebox has its origins in Europe, it indeed came alive in Mexico as the staple sound in rancheras and cumbias. There is only one musician who thrived through the accordion sound, though sadly that is now a thing of the past.

Celso Piña, known as the “The Accordion Rebel,” died yesterday at the age of 66.

Credit: Instagram/@danonewillrise297

The Mexican musician was in his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, and was soon scheduled to g on tour, but had a heart attack and died at the hospital.

La Tuna Group, Piña’s record label, confirmed in a statement that he died yesterday at 12:38 p.m. after suffering a heart attack.

Credit: Instagram/@mexicoprimero_

“Today is a sad day for La Tuna Group,” they stated, “Our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and followers. We are left with an intense emptiness, but he leaves us his great legacy forever. We appreciate respecting the privacy of the family.”

Piña seemed to have been in good spirits earlier in the day and tweeted for the final time. “No one can resist the cumbia,” he said.

The self-taught musician had been touring off and on for months. He also had upcoming shows in Georgia and Texas.

The Grammy-award winning musician had a musical career that spanned 40 decades, and aside from his musical stylings as an accordion player, he was also a composer, singer, and arranger.

Credit: Instagram/@patanegra_mx

Piña had collaborated with several contemporary artists including Lila Downs, Julieta Venegas, Cafe Tacvba, and Gloria Trevi, Variety reports. He was also more than a cumbia musician. His sound also fused into other musical genres, including norteña music, hip-hop, ska, reggae, and more.

Several celebrity fans and collaborators tweeted their heartfelt condolences.

According to the Grammy Academy, Piña got his hands on his first accordion in 1980. He taught himself how to play and performed with his brothers. “Together, they went on to play norteña and tropical music, eventually adding cumbia to their style,” the Academy states. “The brothers became known as ‘Celso Piña Y Su Ronda Bogotá,’ giving a nod to cumbia’s motherland.”

Fans on social media also expressed how much Piña meant to them.

One fan, @iphadra, tweeted, “his greatness of # CelsoPiña is not due to its successes or fame in the 5 continents. It is because it was he who came to claim the music of the marginalized.” @JJ4rmCh tweeted, Rest In Peace Celso Piña, no one fucked it up on an accordion like u did.” But this tweet we could totally relate to from @jennjenn1_  who tweeted, “It wasn’t a real quince or wedding until you played some #CelsoPiña ❤️🇲🇽 🎶🎶🎶 may his music live on for generations to come.”

Writer Melissa del Bosque had the honor of being able to interview him. She tweeted, “Hearing ‘Barrio Bravo’ for the first time was a life-changing experience. Celso Piña and Toy Hernández, of Control Machete, had created a whole new hybrid mixing Colombian cumbia with the anarchy of urban streets. I went directly to Monterrey to interview El Rebelde del Acordeón. Here we are at Cafe Brasil, one of his favorite haunts. As I wrote then, when ‘Cumbia Sobre el Rio hit the airwaves there wasn’t a car from Chicago to Chiapas that didn’t have the bass booming and the sonic onslaught layered with accordion rattling their windows.’ #RipCelsoPina.”

Last year, Piña visited one of his biggest fans, who is also an accordion player just like him. The two performed in the streets of Tamaulipas, Mexico.

Herrera recalled what it was like hearing that his musical idol had died. The young musician told El Universal that he was with his daughter when he heard the news that Piña had died. He said he couldn’t believe it, and all the memories from his incredible visit with him last year rushed back to him. He said it was a dream to have been able to perform with him. 

Here’s a couple of his most beloved and hit songs.

Here’s “Cumbia Sobre el Rio Suena” live and with an orchestra! He had such a distinct voice and sound. There was no one else like him.

“No Sea Conmigo”

This was his collaboration with Cafe Tacvba. So lovely! We dare you not to dance to this one.

What’s your favorite Celso Piña track? Let us know in the comment section below. Rest in power, Celso!!

READ: This Isn’t Your Mama’s Cumbia: The Eclectic History Of Latin America’s Classic Music Genre

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