Last update:
2022-05-07

Criminal groups land grabbing farms and logging protected woodlands for avocado production in Uruapan, Michoacán, México

In recent years, criminal groups have been asking for ransom, seizing lands and destroying protected woodlands in the region of Uruapan, in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. This is related to the avocado production industry.



Description:

In recent years, criminal groups have been asking for ransom, seizing lands and destroying protected woodlands in the region of Uruapan, in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. This is related to the avocado production industry. Criminal groups became aware of the business profit, and now seek land for exploitation. Locals have protested. On one hand, they protest for the prevention of logging in protected areas. On the other hand, directly affected farmers have demanded action from the authorities, without much result.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Criminal groups land grabbing farms and logging protected woodlands for avocado production in Uruapan, Michoacán, México
Country:Mexico
State or province:Michoacan
Location of conflict:Uruapan
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Fruits and Vegetables
Timber
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Michoacan exported $2.4 billion USD in avocados in 2018 [3], and $2.8billion USD in 2020 [2].

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Project area:180,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Uruapan has 300.000 inhabitants
Start of the conflict:01/01/2014
Relevant government actors:State police and government.
Municipal government.
National Forestry Research Institute (INIFAP).
President of the area of Zumpimito.
Secretary of the Environment, Climate Change and Territorial Development (Semaccdet).
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Ecologist Juan Manuel Madrigal Miranda. Ecocentro Cupatitzio http://www.uruapanvirtual.com/acerca.php?item=ecocentro-del-cupatitzio
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Migration/displacement
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:Given the lack of police and state intervention, local producers have appealed to the provision of self security and protection in neighbouring town of Tancitaro [3].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:I do not think it is a success because the land grabs and logging are still taking place in the area. However, there is a minor success which took place in neighbouring region of Tancitaro. Local citizens mobilised for self protection and were able to keep criminal groups away from their lands. Still, it is a very localised phenomenon.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Forest cover change and land tenure in Mexico avocado region, Barzimantov and Navia-Antezana, 2012
[click to view]

[1] Marcial Pérez, D., 2019. La maldición del aguacate. El País. [Online]
[click to view]

[2] Trenda, E. , 2022. Avocado export value in Mexico 2015-202. Statista. [Online]
[click to view]

[3] Linthicum, K. , 2019. Inside the bloody cartel war for Mexico’s multibillion-dollar avocado industry. LA Times. [Online]
[click to view]

[4] Flores, S., 2021. Aguacateros de Michoacán toman armas contra cárteles. Milenio. [Online]
[click to view]

[5] Martínez, D., 2019. El caso del Ecocentro Cupatitzio. El Sol de Zamora. [Online]
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Miguel Ángel Pérez Cabeza, Universitat de Barcelona, [email protected]
Last update07/05/2022
Conflict ID:5846
Comments
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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