Worse still, a recent in-depth report in news weekly Proceso blows the cover on slave labor in Mexico, with abducted peasants forced to work in the fields -- again, on pain of death, or that of their loved ones. This has long been the case with the cartels' slave-labor marijuana plantations, hidden deep in the back-country. But now the cartels are applying this model in the "legal" ag-biz sector. In the article, "Captives in Hell," Proceso interviews victims' relatives and members of rights groups monitoring the problem, who describe a vast system of forced labor throughout the country. These slave-laborers are almost certainly among the 26,000 "disappeared" in Mexico -- civilians who have vanished without a trace over the past years of ultra-violence, mostly assumed dead. Members of victims' associations tell of captives made to perform jobs including "forced killings, preparing marijuana, constructing tunnels, cleaning safe houses, preparing food, installing communications equipment and acting as lookouts or sex slaves."
Ransom-kidnappings of high-value targets makes news in Mexico. Just this week, seven Veracruz state police were arrested on charges of having abducted a popular contestant on reality TV show "La Voz Mexico" on behalf of a local criminal gang, who put him to death. But recent years have seen several mass abductions of farmworkers and campesinos, with courageous activist investigations revealing that they have been put to work on plantations -- whether of marijuana or avocados.
Something to think about the next time your blow a joint, get the munchies and make guacamole. As the old saying goes: Fight terrorism... Buy domestic. Sativa or hass.