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Cartels Are Displacing an Indigenous Group That's Lived in Chihuahua for Centuries

Dromomanos, CIDE, and VICE
go to original
June 1, 2016

Watch the video for this story - Indígenas frente al narco: Chihuhua (dromomanos)

This is the first story in a three-part series on the impact Mexico's drug wars are having on indigenous people — a project by Dromómanos, VICE News, and the CIDE.

El Manzano lies in the southern part of the Tarahumara mountain range in the northern state of Chihuahua. It is a vast area of enormous natural beauty famed for its ravines deeper than the Grand Canyon, the vibrant culture of the indigenous Rarámuri communities that pepper the mountainsides, as well as a long tradition of cultivating marijuana and opium poppy.

There used to be 34 families living in El Manzano, almost all of them Rarámuri. According to two former residents, the drug business didn't used to interfere with the community. They said that the cartels pretty much left them to work in their fields and tend to their animals in peace. There was nothing to stop them gathering together in their ceremonial centers and performing rituals during fiestas they believe help heal, restore order, and keep chaos at bay.

But these locals say things changed abruptly two years ago when some community leaders were recruited by organized crime. Corn made way for poppies, and residents stopped their communal gatherings, opting instead to keep a low profile hidden away in their farms.

Cartel hitmen also became a common sight.

Read the rest at VICE News

Related: Mexico's Drug Cartels Have Turned a Tourist Mecca Into 'Guerrero's Iraq' (Business Insider)

Related: Some Mexicans Have Been Living in Limbo for Years After Fleeing Cartel Violence (VICE)

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