Guacamole: Green gold?
As I told a Mexican friend, nothing surprises me about Mexico anymore. Nevertheless, I was even caught off guard by this story in the L.A. Times about cartels and avocados:
Mexico's multibillion-dollar avocado industry, headquartered in Michoacan state, has become a prime target for cartels, which have been seizing farms and clearing protected woodlands to plant their own groves of what locals call "green gold."
It's a $2.4-billion business in Michoacán, the chief exporter of avocado to the U.S. As you probably know, Michoacán is also home to a lot of the cartel battles south of the border.
How does this happen?
First, these cartels understand business. They know that they can diversify into avocados and potentially use that as a front for their illegal drug operations.
Second, the cartels can intimidate farmers, and there is little that the government can do to stop them.
Third, the members of the political class are helpless and are targets themselves.
Finally, what's the next export that the cartels will go after? Can you say oil? Why not?
Sad to say, and I know that Mexicans hate to hear this, but a failed state is failing south of the border.
Here is something to think about when you put a chip in your holiday guacamole. Are you now funding cartels in Mexico by enjoying your delicious guacamole?
PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.