El Mezquital: cultivate drugs or starve. El Mezquital: cultivate drugs or starve.

Poverty forces women to cultivate drugs

Drug cartels provide seeds, equipment to indigenous women in Durango

It was last fall that the Mexican Army discovered that women in impoverished areas of the state of Durango had turned to growing marijuana as a means of earning a living and now it appears to be a trend that is on the rise.


Last October, Army elements deployed to eradicate drug plantations discovered that many women in the El Mezquital municipality — one of the poorest in the state — were cultivating crops by the roadside or in their own backyards.

Some defiantly confronted the soldiers when they threatened to take away their sole source of income.

It began with drug cartels hiring homemakers to grow the illegal crops, providing them with seeds and supplies such as irrigation equipment to optimize their production.

The mayor of El Mezquital has declared that women have had to resort to the illicit activity given the extreme poverty in which they live.

“Our fellow indigenous people seek any means of surviving . . . there are families that only have one meal a day,” said Ramiro Mendoza Solís, adding that he, too, was indigenous: “I come from families that have suffered and have overcome, no matter what.”

Mendoza believes the women in places like El Mezquital have only two options: grow weed or starve to death.


“Regrettably, there are families whose hunger pushes them into these activities, not because they like it, but out of necessity.”

He said his administration would provide counseling to the families “to keep them from getting into trouble.”

The president of the non-governmental organization Fundación Semilla agreed with Mayor Mendoza.

Janette Payán Bustamante said women from El Mezquital find themselves between a rock and a hard place. If they refuse to collaborate with the drug cartels they run the added risk of losing their homes and being displaced from their communities “in the best-case scenario.”

“The problem of narcos has been escalating,” she added, and as long as the issue of poverty in their communities is not directly addressed, “the problem will persist.”

The president of the Inter-American Organization of City Councils emphasized that such activities should not be allowed to become normal or considered as a viable livelihood.

Carlos Güereca Prado added that public policies should be changing the mentality of indigenous communities that consider crops such as marijuana as part of their customs and traditions.

Source: Milenio (sp), Durango Press (sp), Emeequis (sp)

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  • Shine

    Since it is now FINALLY being revealed that cannabis is a medicine, and not a dangerous drug, who cares? Can’t we all get past this? I wish our governments would do something useful.

  • K. Chris C.

    Drugs are illegal in Mexico because the government needs the poor to go north and send back money.

    Drugs are illegal in the north so as to keep CIA and prison-industrial-complex’s ROIs elevated.

    Sidenote: Slavery is LEGAL in the north for the “duly convicted.” Which is why everything is illegal in the US tyranny, and why they maintain the largest penitentiary population in the world.

    An American citizen, not US subject.

  • Mary Dyson

    Make all the drugs legal

  • Pesobill

    Yep , when your moral compass is broken all is ok : ‘if you are poor’.. Steal , sell drugs ,sell your body ,,ghetto mentality .