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Two politicians murdered in Mexico’s avocado production area

Two politicians murdered in Mexico’s avocado production area

Posted February. 29, 2024 07:47,   

Updated February. 29, 2024 07:47


Two mayoral candidates were shot dead on Sunday in Maravatio, southeastern Mexico's Michoacán state, the world's largest producer of avocados, known as 'green gold' due to its high profitability. Avocado is considered a healthy superfood and is especially popular in developed countries such as the United States. However, in Mexico, competition between criminal groups for control of distribution is fierce, leading to frequent violence.

According to local media reports, including El Universal, Miguel Angel Reyes, a mayoral candidate and incumbent doctor belonging to the ruling Morena Party, was shot and killed by an assailant while traveling in a car in downtown Maravatio on Monday afternoon. On the same night, Armando Pérez Luna, a candidate for mayor of the opposition National Action Party (PAN), was also shot dead by a gunman.

Authorities estimate that the crime was committed by forces attempting to influence the upcoming presidential, general, and local council elections scheduled for June 2, which will be held simultaneously. The state of Michoacán is notorious for being an area where various criminal organizations are active, including the 'Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG),' which is considered the most formidable criminal ring in Mexico. The conflict between these organizations is also causing significant issues. Last year, out of all 32 states, Michoacán had the fifth-highest number of attacks targeting politicians and government officials.

Simultaneously, in the state of Michoacán, avocados can be harvested four times a year due to the mild climate. Approximately 70% of Mexico's avocado production originates from this region. A significant portion of these avocados is exported to the United States, which represents nearly half of the global demand. According to Statista, a website specializing in statistics, per capita avocado consumption among Americans in 2022 is estimated to be about 4.2 kilograms, roughly four times higher than 20 years ago.

Jeong-Soo Hong hong@donga.com