//A dangerous red flower is driving record numbers of migrants to flee Guatemala

A dangerous red flower is driving record numbers of migrants to flee Guatemala

Poor Guatemalan farmers turned to heroin poppies. When the military destroyed their crops, many had only one other choice: Flee to the U.S. Daniel Gonzalez, USA TODAY SAN ANTONIO, Guatemala – Surrounded by green fields of potatoes, oats and corn on his small farm, Carlos Lopez recalled the decent money he was earning before last year, cultivating a different crop he referred to simply as “the plant.” The plants, ones with the bright red flowers, “are worth a lot more than these other crops,” Lopez said, wearing a blue baseball hat, sitting on a plastic chair behind his two-room, mud-splattered house. “Amapola,” said Lopez, speaking the Spanish word for poppy. For years, Mexican drug cartels persuaded poor indigenous farmers in the western highlands of Guatemala to replace their crops with poppies. The plants produce a milky fluid used to make heroin, although farmers were often told the plant was used to produce “medicine.” The Guatemalan government, under pressure from the United States, then came in and eradicated the poppy fields. With no other high-value crop to replace the poppies, and no program available to help replace farmers’ income, the crackdown shoved indigenous farmers such as Lopez and his family back into poverty. The loss of poppy revenue is just one of many reasons Guatemalans have poured across the border by the thousands into the United States. This year, more migrants have come from Guatemala than any other country, as family members, unaccompanied children or single adults. People are fleeing […]

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By |2019-09-25T01:57:06+00:00September 25th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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