Culture

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.

Defo
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.

Alpaca Burgers

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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Mexican President Criticizes DEA For Role In Former Army Chief’s Arrest

Things That Matter

Mexican President Criticizes DEA For Role In Former Army Chief’s Arrest

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized the historic role of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Mexico after a former Mexican army chief was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles on drug charges at the request of the DEA.

The former Mexican Defense Minister was arrested by the DEA on drug charges.

Salvador Cienfuegos Zepedas was the secretary of National Defense in the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto from 2012 to 2018. President Lopez Obrador claims that the arrest is proof of corruption from past governments.

President Lopez Obrador used the arrest to criticize the U.S. government and the DEA.

President Lopez Obrador, speaking at a press conference in Oaxaca, claimed that there is a double standard. While Cienfuegos Zepedas has been arrested by the DEA, the president claims U.S. officials have not been held accountable for trafficking arms into Mexico to track them to the cartels. According to the president, Mexican officials are being held at a higher and harsher standard than U.S. officials.

“Why is it that it’s just the people in Mexico who took part in these acts being accused or implicated, and (the DEA) aren’t criticizing themselves, reflecting on the meddling by all these agencies in Mexico,” Lopez Obrador said at the press conference. “They came into the country with complete freedom, they did whatever they wanted.”

The former defense minister’s arrest sent shockwaves through Mexico.

Cienfuegos Zepedas was the first high-ranking Mexican military official to be arrested in the U.S. with drug-related corruption. He was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport and will be facing drug and money-laundering charges. It’s been less than a year since Genaro Garcia Luna was charged with taking bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

President Lopez Obrador wants to protect the military’s reputation.

Lopez Obrador also said he hopes that the armed forces aren’t blamed for this scandal and that Mexico must take care of institutions as important as the Secretary of National Defense. Mexico does not currently have an ongoing investigation of the retired general and will await the result of the U.S. investigation, according to the president of Mexico. 

Cienfuegos Zepedas is due to make a court appearance related to four charges in California on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.

READ: This Is What Mexico’s AMLO Wants From The Pope For The Churches Crimes Against Indigenous Mexicans

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Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

Entertainment

Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

tecolotes_2_laredos / Instagram

Sports have a way of bringing people together. The experience of rooting for your team is a unifying feeling that transcends borders and culture. Showtime is exploring the importance of sports through the lens of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos.

“Bad Hombres” is a documentary highlighting immigration under President Trump through baseball.

Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos are the only binational professional baseball team in the world. The team splits their home games between stadiums in Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Director Andrew Glazer wanted to highlight the immigration issue through a sports lens to offer a different layer to the narrative.

“Most of the people trying to come into the U.S. are families and children trying to escape horrible violence in Central America,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “That story has been told, so what I wanted to do was show people in a way that I thought would be relatable to what life is like on the border. What life is like on those two sides and how interconnected they are. The thing that struck me to be honest is that initially in Laredo, Texas was how pervasive Spanish is spoken.”

The documentary shows the struggles of the baseball team trying to make sense of the volatile U.S.-Mexico border relations.

The Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos split time playing their home games between two stadiums in the U.S. and Mexico. The Trump administration’s constant battle with Mexico and threats to close the border put the team’s season in jeopardy. A first look teaser shows team managers trying to coordinate the release of game tickets in time with the ever-changing immigration announcements from the Trump administration.

“Bad Hombres” speaks politics without directly addressing politics.

“Even though my film has an overarching political message, the players are not covertly or overtly political in any way,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “They are baseball players and they are living their lives and a lot of them are trying to make it to the majors and some of them were in the majors and are now finishing their careers. There wasn’t a whole lot of political discussions.”

Glazer made sure to highlight the depths and complexities of the team members dealing with the political climate without politics.

“Inherently, what made the team fascinating is you had players from the U.S. who were Anglo-American players and Mexican American players who had a different perspective,” Glazer told DJ Sixsmith. “Then you had Mexican players and some Dominican players and Cuban and people from everywhere else. There were different languages and different perspectives. Seeing how that developed over time was pretty fascinating.”

“Bad Hombres” is streaming on Showtime.

READ: Veronica Alvarez Is The Coach For The Oakland A’s And Her Presence Is Giving Girls A Chance To Pursue Baseball

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