Updates: Human rights crisis in Mexico and “Food Chains” release countdown begins…

“Enough!  Mexico Is Ready to Explode”…

Two weeks ago we brought you an extended analysis of the human rights crisis in Mexico and its impact on the agricultural industry there.  In a post entitled “Fear and Fair Cannot Coexist,” we wrote:

Mass graves.  Horribly disfigured corpses.  Police complicity in the ultraviolence of all-powerful drug gangs.

Since 2005, stories like these have played out across Mexico’s headlines day after day, month after month, year after year.  But the details of last month’s mass killing and disappearance of student activists in the southern state of Guerrero stood out above the ever-growing body count in Mexico’s drug and corruption wars…

… Unlike the more than 120,000 deaths in Mexico’s drug wars since 2005 — which rarely inspired any kind of concerted or widespread protests — news of these latest murders sparked outrage across the country.  Carrying signs demanding an answer to the question “Who Governs Guerrero?,” tens of thousands of people blocked streets in cities across Mexico last week (right) in an extraordinary departure from the silent resignation that typically greets news of the latest grisly killings. 

Today, another dispatch from Mexico, entitled “Enough! Mexico is Ready to Explode” tells of the continued growth of popular pressure for an end to the decade-long nightmare of drug- and corruption-fueled violence.  Written by Homero Aridjis, a widely-respected Mexican poet, novelist, and environmental activist, the piece begins with this update from the swelling popular movement sparked by last mont’s death and disappearance of nearly 50 students and labor rights activists in Guerrero:

MEXICO CITY — Mexico has been profoundly shaken by atrocities and high-level corruption in Guerrero. The earthquake’s epicenter is Iguala, the state’s third largest city. 

Fifty thousand marchers thronged Mexico City’s main avenues last Wednesday, and demonstrations took place all over the country. More than 80 delegates to the Inter-University Assembly have called for a nationwide halt to all educational activities on Nov. 5, and are asking other social groups to join them. Protesters set fire to state headquarters in Chilpancingo, Guerrero’s capital, and are sacking supermarkets and shopping centers… read more

 It goes on to chronicle the history that led to today’s extraordinary movement, and closes with these hopeful words:

Today all Mexico resounds with the cry “They took them alive, we want them back alive.” If the 43 are ever found, and they are dead (for why and where would their abductors be hiding them?), all hell may break loose. Are the president and his cabinet ready for a major upheaval? 

Police, politicians and judges have been bought off or put into office by the cartels. Mexicans are fed up with living in a pervasive state of corruption and impunity. They are losing hope. If (as Goya said) the sleep of reason produces monsters, reason has been in a coma in Mexico. What we desperately need now from Enrique Peña Nieto is a new deal that can be summed up in two words: honesty and justice. 

This can be the real Mexican Moment.

We will continue to keep an eye on events in Mexico and on the state of human rights in the Mexican agricultural industry in the months ahead.

Countdown to the big national debut of “Food Chains” begins!

Meanwhile, back here in Florida — where the Fair Food Program has helped bring about a human rights revolution in the $650 million tomato industry, transforming it from “ground zero for modern day slavery” to the “best working environment in American agriculture” — an important date is rapidly approaching.

“Food Chains”, the film that documents the history of the CIW’s struggle to modernize Florida’s tomato industry, is set to be released in just thee short weeks, and the final stages of planning for the big release are underway!

Exclusive Food Chains sneak peek, released on Food Day. 

The Immokalee crew is working closely with the Food Chains filmmakers to put together panels, actions, and other events around the screenings to inspire the thousands of viewers across the country to join the Fair Food Nation after watching the film. 

Very quickly, we wanted to share a few important updates for everyone who is looking to take action around the Food Chains release.  First up, here is the most recent list of opening weekend cities (for the full calendar, check the Food Chains website):


  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Bonita Springs, FL
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • New York City, NY

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  • Orlando, FL
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Pittsburgh, CA
  • Salinas, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Tampa, FL
  • Washington, DC


The most important action you can take is to get people out to the film and the actions on opening weekend.  The “Food Chains” team has worked out a special group rate for CIW supporters in groups, so we urge you all to storm the theaters with your friends!  And if you have a group or know of organizations that would be interested in group ticket sales in your city, please let us know.

If you’re ready to take action in November, get in touch with us at workers (at) ciw-online.org!