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Send us beans, chile, corn… doctors and teachers

5 March 2018

San Rafael, a Savi (Mixteco) community in the Guerrero municipality of Cochoapa El Grande is the poorest place in the country.  The only sure source of income for its inhabitants (mostly women and children… the only men not having emigrated north to find work in the community are elderly) has been  opium poppies.  The small return they get for their produce is needed to allow for any sort of meaningful participation in the cash economy (let alone e-commerce… San Rafael would need electricity for that).  No wonder the farmers protested when the Army rolled into town last Tuesday to destroy a modest two hectares of poppy fields.

Dozens of women and children from the community pleaded with Army officers to leave their crops alone, arguing that it was the only way they had to earn any money… and, if the government was going to prevent them from growing a cash crop, it needed to provide them with food assistance, as well as schools and a medical clinic.

As I see it, it would be more cost effective for the people financing the war on (some) drugs to listen to the farmers… or, legalize the sale, so they can at least get a fair market price.  According to the Statista: The Statistics Portal, opium sells for $34.00 a gram in the United States, San Rafael farmers are only receiving between 25 and 50 cents US a gram.


Ocampo Arista, Sergio.  “Protestan indígenas por destrucción de cultivos de amapola en Guerrero” Jornada, 1 March 2018

Statistica: The Statistics Portal “Street prices for opium in selected countries in 2007 (per gram in U.S. dollars)



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