Enjoy Your Super Bowl Guacamole. It's Keeping This Town in Mexico Safe

AGUACATE SUR, Mexico — Avocados may be the key ingredient in Americans’ go-to Super Bowl snack, but here in this rural region of Michoacan, the fruit serves a greater purpose than making guacamole. Avocados help keep a town safe from the violence that is plaguing so much of Mexico.The financial rewards that have come from producing 80 percent of the avocados consumed worldwide have led to a citizen council and police force made up mostly of avocado farmers taking back the town of Tancitaro from violent criminals over the past four years.It’s simple, said Jose Antonio Flores Quezada, 29, a farmer turned policeman: “The more Americans eat guacamole, the better off we are. Avocados are our livelihood.”Aguacate Sur is a small village within Tancitaro, which spends an estimated $1.2 million annually to fund a quasi-police force known as CUSEPT, a Spanish acronym for Public Security Corps. About half of the council’s funding comes from powerful avocado producers in Tancitaro.Before the citizens council and CUSEPT existed, ruthless organizations such as Jalisco Generation, New Cartel, Knights Templar and La Familia kidnapped, extorted and killed locals, using profits from avocado farmers to finance their criminal enterprises.  Continue reading...

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