Mexico: Drug war is destroying forests, making a drug ring of traditional peoples

After a silence as pregnant as his gaze, the Indian ends up talking: "They come; they kill the trees and afterwards we have to choose: either we leave our lands or we stay to grow their drugs." The region with the richest biodiversity in North America is located in Mexico's far north, at 1420 meters of elevation, in the heart of the Western Sierra Madre. These lands, rugged and inhospitable, have been inhabited by Tarahumara, "the light-footed people," for close to 2,000 years.

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Today, these peaceful people are threatened by narco-trafficking which threatens the very essence of their culture and the equilibrium of their environment. "Narco-trafficking violence is a thousand-headed snake. When you cut one head off, a hundred grow in its place," explains a Tarahumara Indian, who intends to stay alive, and, consequently, to remain anonymous.


"Don't think my word is worthless," he defends himself, "but what I'm going to relate to you could cost me my skin."  In this Mexican narco-trafficking war, massacres of unspeakable violence are commonplace, even in the most inaccessible parts of the country, such as the canyons of the Sierra Tarahumara.


Last August, Mexico discovered with horror the killing that took place in broad daylight in Creel, a little village set at the summit of the Sierra Madre. Four luxury vans arrived out of nowhere and their occupants fired on a hundred people, leaving many wounded and 13 dead, including several children and teenagers.copper.canyon.ext.hiking.jpg

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