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Demand For Avocados Is So Strong That Mexican Farmers Are Cutting Down Forests To Keep Up

They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but avocado farmers in Mexico are learning that if they tear down a forest, they can make upwards of $500,000 a year. According to a report by the Associated Press, the popularity of avocados in the United States has led to increased demand in avocados from Mexico, where avocados are more likely to grow year-round. Unfortunately, because avocados are more profitable than other crops, farmers have begun illegally tearing down surrounding pine forests to make room for their avocado trees.

Credit: CNN / YouTube

The avocado business is booming so much — bringing in more than a billion dollars a year in total — that drug cartels have gotten involved. It’s estimated that the Knights Templar Cartel brings in upwards of $150 million each year on avocados alone. A cartel’s involvement with farmers is pretty straight forward: Farmers are “encouraged” to pay cartels some tax per pound of avocados they grow. If the farmers refuse, they can expect retaliation, resulting in loss of land or even death.

Avocado-related deforestation isn’t the only problem that can affect the ecosystem. Avocado trees can pull twice as much water as a naturally occurring forest, which means that the local ecosystem, from plants to animals, is adversely affected by farmers who depend on the thirsty crop. Not to mention that previously untouched forests are now grounds for chemical dumping and other avocado industry-related issues.

Avocados aren’t the first crop to cause this kind of disturbance among Central and South American farmers. Peru’s quinoa has nearly tripled in price over the last few years, making it too expensive for many of its poorest citizens.

Let’s hope alpaca hamburgers never catch on, otherwise it might not be long before we see this at Burger King.

If there is a finger to point in this, I’d blame avocado porn, which, depending on your browser’s filter settings, is totally safe for work.

Seriously, anyone who posts photos like these on social media deserves to be locked up.

If they served this at any important global political meeting we'd probably reach world peace a whole lot sooner. #helpingoftheday

A photo posted by HELPINGS • #Health (@thisishelpings) on

Credit: Thisishelpings / Instagram

It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the problems facing Mexico’s forests and farmers when photos like these constantly pop up on social media.

Read: Everything About This Burger Sounds Perfect, But It Just Doesn’t Make Sense

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This Indigenous Village In Mexico Trains Their Children As Soldiers To Combat Gang Violence

Things That Matter

This Indigenous Village In Mexico Trains Their Children As Soldiers To Combat Gang Violence

via Getty Images

In the town of Ayahualtempa, Mexico, in the state of Guerrero, reporters see a shocking image whenever they visit. Children armed with guns, trained to defend themselves. The disturbing scene is meant to be shocking. The village of Ayahualtempa is under constant attack. A prominent heroin “corridor”, they are the victims of violence and carnage at the hands of gangsters and the cartel.

In order to gain the Mexican government’s attention, the Ayahualtempa villagers dress their children up as soldiers. Then, they invite the media in.

Ayahualtempa
via Getty Images

When reporters arrive, the children of Ayahualtempa dutifully line up and put on a performance. They march, they show how they would shoot a gun from one knee, or from flat on their bellies. They tell reporters that their mock-violent performance is “so the president sees us and helps us,” as a 12-year-old child named Valentín told the Associated Press.

Because the Mexican government doesn’t protect Ayahualtempa, the display of child soldiers is a form of protest for the small indigenous village. The people of this remote region of Guerrero want protection from the National Guard, and financial help for widows and orphans who have been made so from organized crime.

The villagers don’t trust local authorities, and for good reason. Guerrera is the Mexican state in which 43 teaching students were abducted and killed in an event that is known as the “Iguala mass kidnapping”. Authorities arrested 80 suspects in connection to the event. 44 of them were police officers, working in conjunction with a network of cartels.

Although the demonstrations function largely as a publicity stunt, violence is very much a part of these children’s lives.

via Getty Images

Parents train their children to walk to school with loaded guns, ready to defend themselves against violent gangsters.

The attention-grabbing antics have, to some extent, worked. On one occasion, the government donated some housing material. On another, benefactors gave the community’s orphans and widows scholarships and houses. But as soon as the periodic media storms die down, the federal government continues pretending Ayahualtempa doesn’t exist.

The hypocrisy of the government’s response is frustrating to many. “We’ve normalized that these children don’t eat, are illiterate, are farm workers. We’re used to the Indians dying young, but, ‘How dare they arm them!’” said local human rights activist Abel Barrera to the AP, with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

As for now, until the government moves to protect the community, they say they will continue their demonstrations. “They see that the issue of the children is effective for making people take notice and they think: If that’s what works, we’ll have to keep doing it,” said Barrera.

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Spanish Voiceover Actress For Jessie From Pokémon Dies And Fans Mourn

Entertainment

Spanish Voiceover Actress For Jessie From Pokémon Dies And Fans Mourn

Pokémon fans in Latin America are mourning the death of Diana Pérez, the Spanish-language voice of Jessie of Pokémon’s Team Rocket. The voice actress has been voicing the character since 1997.

Diana Pérez, the voice actress of Team Rocket’s Jessie, died at 51.

Lalo Garza, a famed voice actor in Mexico, confirmed the death of the Pokémon voice actress.

“Rest in peace Diana Pérez, a strong, cultured, intelligent, and very talented woman. You are good now, friend. Nothing hurts anymore. Have a good trip,” reads the tweet.

Pérez has been a staple in the Spanish-language Pokémon fandom for decades.

Pérez was more than just he voice of Jessie. The voice actress was the voice of multiple anime characters including Luffy in One Piece and Kagura in Inuyasha. In recent years, Pérez had started branching out to directing, producing, and other branches in the entertainment industry.

Pérez’s death is being mourned by Pokémon fans outside of the Spanish-language fandom.

Sarah Natochenny is the English voice of Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon series, Jessie’s mortal enemy. The death of Pérez has impacted the larger Pokémon community. Pérez was a pivotal part of the Latin American Pokémon community for decades and her loss has devastated fans.

Descansa en paz, Diana.

There have been no plans announced for a replacement to voice Team Rocket’s Jessie. No official cause of death has been released either. Our hearts and thoughts go out to Pérez’s family and the greater Pokémon community mourning her passing.

READ: I Was Today Years Old When I Found Out This Mexican Pokémon

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