Coca is a leaf that is integrated in the Bolivian culture through rituals, medicine, food, religion, social interactions, and much more. The primary use for the coca leaf is consumption; it is chewed or brewed for tea. Coca leaves are not exclusive to Bolivia, rather many Andean countries such as Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, and Brazil use coca for similar cultural practices as well.
The Colombian government and the left-wing rebel group, the FARC, have been participating in peace talks for the last year in Havana, Cuba. The drug regulation plan was proposed by the FARC during these talks, now in the 19th round.
El estado de Michoacán, México está convirtiendo en un campo de batalla entre el pueblo y los carteles. En respuesta a la violencia que trae el cartel Caballeros Templarios a esta región, grupos vigilantes forman para protegerse.
Earlier this week, the Mexican government announced the legalization of growing vigilante groups. The government came to an agreement with the vigilante groups to integrate into the already existing quasi-military groups named the Rural Defense Corps.
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán had long been a thorn in the side of the Mexican government. He made the Forbes list as one of the richest men in the world more than once, reportedly had operations in over 50 countries, and according to the US State Department, had long surpassed Pablo Escobar’s reach and influence with an untold number of corrupt officials at all levels of government working for him.
In a country that has been battling extreme drug-related violence in a seemingly endless war, mixed opinions regarding the government’s action parallel the uncertainty that surrounds the country’s future. “El regreso del Chapo,” a narcocorrido sung by El Komander begins with the following idolization of one of Mexico’s most infamous perpetrators, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Lorea:
“No hay chapo que no sea bravo"
Así lo dice el refrán
In Mexico, the lime has long stood as a staple of popular food and culture. It is used by most Mexicans in everyday cooking and drinks but lately many have been forced to reduce their consumption. Lime prices have skyrocketed due to shortages, and on average have doubled every month this year.1 Various factors such as climate change, citrus diseases, and the on-going violence caused by drug trafficking have led to this shortage.
Over the last few years, inhabitants of the western Mexican state of Michoacán have been forced to evacuate, a difficult task considering the high proportion of livelihoods tied to agriculture, or adapt to an increasingly insecure environment. This insecurity is of course tied to the infiltration of drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) which have permeated private and public spheres of everyday life in Michoacán by causing violence and instability, disrupting trade and commerce, and corrupting public officials if not holding office outright.
On February 13, 2016, Pope Francis spoke to a crowd in the violent suburb of Ecatepec, in the vicinity of Mexico City. Among many other missions, his speech in this poor neighborhood was aimed at the corruption found within many levels of Mexican society.