Things That Matter

Mexican Cartels Are Turning To Avocados And Innocent People Are Falling Victim To Extreme Violence

When someone mentions Mexican cartels, we immediately think of drug trafficking. It’s inevitable – especially after the strict diet of cop shows we’ve ingested over the years. But what if we told you that there’s something else that’s probably just as valuable to the Mexican cartels? Something that, in their minds, justified the killing of 19 people last week. Something like … avocados?

Guacamole is good, but not that good.

Instagram / @duascontrauma

Sure, when you said to your amigas the other day that you’d kill for some good guac, you probably weren’t thinking on this scale. Thursday morning saw the residents of Mexico’s Uruapan awaken to the aftermath of a massacre. Nine semi-naked bodies had been strung across an overpass. Another seven bodies, which had suffered a combination of dismemberment and decapitation, were discovered underneath a nearby pedestrian bridge. And, three other bodies were unceremoniously piled on the side of the road. All of the victims were found with gunshot wounds.

The city of Uruapan is ground zero for this new outbreak of violence.

Instagram / @viviana.falcon1

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) took credit for the grisly scene by hanging a banner on the bridge where the bodies were found, warning locals of a similar fate, should they think about helping the gang’s rivals. “Kind people, go on with your routine. Be patriotic, and kill a Viagra,” the banner read. And no – they weren’t talking about a certain pleasure enhancer. One of the CJNG’s most notorious rivals are the Viagras gang.

But where do the avocados come into the story?

Instagram / @avocado.aj

While some authorities have connected the gruesome killings to the region’s drug trade, one International Crisis Group researcher, Falko Ernst, has suggested that there may be more to it. “The big magnet here is avocados,” said Ernst in an interview with the Guardian. The murders were intended to intimidate not only Mexican authorities, but also rival gangs and their families. The aim was to discourage their involvement in both the drugs and avocado trade.

With soaring prices, avocados have become big business in Mexico.

Instagram / @hassdiamond

It’s understandable why anyone would want a piece of the avocado pie, so to speak. It’s the lifeblood of Latinos and avocado-toast toting millennials worldwide, which makes it big business. Mexico itself produces 45 percent of the world’s avocados. The state of Michoacán, where Uruapan can be found, is where most of the avocados within Mexico are produced. In fact, Michoacán’s avocado industry is worth about $1.5 billion. Chances are its value is only going to increase, since the world’s supply of avocados is currently at a low.

This is wild! How are the locals coping?

Instagram / @viajaxmichoacan

At this point in time, there are three main groups struggling for control of the city of Uruapan. These are the Knight Templar cartel, Los Viagras, and of course, the CJNG. This means that it can be risky for locals to work in the industry, who may get caught in the crossfire between the gangs as they battle it out for control of the avocado supply. As many as four avocado trucks are stolen every day, presumably by the cartels operating in the region. It’s gotten so out of hand that the area’s avocado companies appealed to the gangs through an ad in a June edition of the local paper, saying, “It’s impossible to continue taking these losses … failing to stop the theft of these trucks will have an irreparable impact on the avocado industry.”

Locals are dealing with all sorts of violence, extortion, threats, and worse.

Instagram / @avocado.aj

Aside from stolen trucks and products, locals also have to contend with CJNG-linked extortion. A local tequila producer, Eduardo Pérez, closed his business in 2015, as he was unable to keep up with the cartel’s monthly payment demands. “They warned me that if I didn’t pay, then I’d be in trouble,” Perez said in an interview with VICE. That’s the reality of living in an area where gangs like the CJNG operate – and these recent murders have done nothing to quell any tensions in the area.

Brutal killing sprees like those that happened last week were designed to get as much attention as possible, and serve as a warning to anyone and everyone that the CJNG is unafraid of retaliating against people who would threaten their illicit activities. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that there’s some relief for the locals, soon.

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Here’s Why Mexico’s Feminists Are Now Considered The Country’s Political Opposition

Things That Matter

Here’s Why Mexico’s Feminists Are Now Considered The Country’s Political Opposition

For years now, Mexico has seen a burgeoning feminist coalition that is working to shine a light on the country’s severe record on women’s rights. However, since the presidency of Andres Manuel López Obradador (AMLO), that coalition has grown into a powerful movement that is pushing back against much of the dangerous rhetoric and policies of President AMLO. 

With AMLO’s continued support of a party official accused of rape and his denial of the widespread violence against women in his country, millions of women have had enough and are making their voices heard in opposition to the president and his misogynistic beliefs.

Women say that AMLO has made them public enemy number one.

For weeks now, the president – commonly known as Amlo – has faced mounting anger over a candidate for governor from his party who faces five accusations of sexual abuse, including rape. The disgust has spread to prominent women in the party, who last month called on its leadership to remove the candidate.

This feminist activism has become the country’s most powerful opposition voice against the popular president, a leftist who swept into office in 2018 promising to rid the country of its entrenched corruption and lead a social transformation.

While Amlo has appointed women to powerful posts, including much of his cabinet, his policies have failed to address the pervasive violence that kills more than 10 women a day and forces many more to live in fear.

AMLO has refused to stop supporting a party member accused of rape.

Despite the outrage, AMLO has refused to drop his support for the candidate and although the party has decided to reconsider his candidacy, he has not been barred from running for office with the same party. Given the movement’s focus on violence against women, the choice of Félix Salgado Macedonio to run for governor of Guerrero seemed almost a deliberate provocation.

In a letter to party leaders last month, 500 Morena supporters, including prominent female senators, wrote: “It is clear to us that in Morena there is no place for abusers” and called for Salgado Macedonio to be removed. But AMLO has repeatedly said that it is up to the people of Guerrero, where the candidate is popular, to decide.

And AMLO has repeatedly dismissed concerns of female activists.

Instead of acknowledging their concerns, he has suggested that women’s groups are being manipulated by his conservative enemies. He even cast doubt on the rising rates of domestic violence registered during the pandemic lockdown, suggesting that most emergency calls were fake.

“He has placed the feminist movement as public enemy No 1,” said Arussi Unda, the spokeswoman for Las Brujas del Mar, a feminist collective based in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz that organized a women’s strike a year ago after International Women’s Day.

“We are not asking for crazy things,” she said. “We’re asking that women get to work, that women aren’t killed and girls aren’t raped. It’s not insane, not eccentric, it’s human rights.”

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It’s No Surprise El Chapo’s Wife Is In Jail, Her TikTok Was A Look Inside #CartelLife

Things That Matter

It’s No Surprise El Chapo’s Wife Is In Jail, Her TikTok Was A Look Inside #CartelLife

The recent arrest of Emma Coronel Aispuro – the wife of drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman – follows a telenovela-style life that straddled hyper-violent Mexican cartels, fame and motherhood. And it’s a life that Coronel shared with her thousands of followers on social media platforms like TikTok. Here Emma Coronel tik tok

The former beauty queen used social media to give her fans a peek into the luxurious life she lived and helped birth the large #CartelLife movement that is booming on apps like TikTok.

Parties, TikTok and Reality Shows: the luxuries of Emma Coronel.

Although Emma Coronel Aispuro is now in the news for her recent arrest in the U.S., she was all about flaunting her larger than life and luxurious lifestyle. She has long stood out for sharing her life of luxury on social media, and many of her videos went viral for her dancing and singing.

Since being arrested and brought up on charges related to drug trafficking, Coronel now faces a minimum sentence of 10 years behind bars and even life imprisonment, in addition to an eventual $10 million fine, should she be found guilty of the charges.

But before being placed in a maximum security prison, Coronel was a social media influencer that helped bring the world into the #CartelLife.

Coronel’s social media life was a window into the world of Mexican drug cartels.

emma coronel tik tok

In 2018, Coronel decorated her home to mimic that of everyone’s beloved Barbie, in order to celebrate the birthday of her daughters. At the meeting there were even rides, inflatables and an incredible spread of all kinds.

Then, on her own birthday, images of her celebration went viral where she posed with some friends near a pool, as well as a table decorated as white candles.

In 2019, Coronel tried to launch her own clothing brand, inspired by her husband’s nickname. The company “El Chapo Guzmán JGL LLC”, would focus on wallets, sweatshirts, blouses and pants, among other items, but it failed to take off.

She even appeared on a VH1 show to share just how “normal” she was.

Emma Coronel has also participated in the reality show “Cartel Crew”, produced by the VH1 channel, where she spoke about the disadvantages of being the wife of a drug trafficker, since she says that she is judged by the people who don’t truly know her.

“It is very unfortunate that they judge us without knowing us. It’s hard because sometimes you want to do what you see everyone around you doing […] We are normal,” she said during her run on the show.

The son of El Chapo has also turned to TikTok to flaunt his millionaire lifestyle.

emma coronel tik tok

El Chapo’s wife isn’t the only one who has taken to social media to share her luxurious life. Jesus Alfredo Guzman, one of the drug lord’s sons, – who is already on US’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s most-wanted fugitive list – has also created a TikTok account and quickly amassed more than 15,000 followers.

So far, he’s only shared six videos but they reveal his luxurious and extravagant mansion, which includes an indoor movie theatre and a swimming pool decorated with pillars and fountains.

Although it cannot be confirmed that it is officially the account of Jesús Alfredo, the profile appears to indicate that it could be an authentic. He also spares no details on his fleet of supercars, including three Rolls-Royces, an Audi R8, a white Bentley, and an azure blue Lamborghini.

The clips are all set to narcocorridos, a controversial ballad-style music with lyrics that speak approvingly of illegal activities, mainly drug trafficking.

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