Fed up with violent crime in their community and the inability of authorities to do much about it, avocado farmers in Aguacate Sur, Mexico have funded their own police force.
The village, part of the town of Tancitaro in the rural Michocan region, was suffering kidnappings, extortions and murders by a number of criminal enterprises. It now spends about $1.2 million US annually to fund the 80 officer CUSEPT, (Public Safety Corps. in English). About half the funding comes from avocado producers, who were frequent targets of criminal groups.
Most residents of the community apparently have some connection to the avocado industry. The region produces an estimated 80 per cent of avocados imported to the US, about $1 million worth a day. ◆