Bronze 2015 / People / Family

Huicholes del Tabaco

  • Prizes
    Bronze in People/Family
  • Photographer
    César Rodríguez

Project Description Each year, during dry season, family members of the ethnic group Huicholes, from the Sierra Madre in Nayarit, leave their communities to look for jobs as day laborers growing, cutting and harvesting tobacco on the northern coast of Nayarit state, in México. Most of the workers travel with their entire families: pregnant women, kids and new born child included. Working at the tobacco fields means that they have to be in constant and permanent contact with chemical pesticides and fertilizers, a risk that affects all the workers but specially the native Mexican people because, as they don't have a place to live, they end up living at the tobacco fields where they don't have the proper place to wash their clothes and themselves, so they stay with the chemicals their whole stay and the whole season, at the same time, they don't have clean drinking water so they drink from the irrigation canal that comes from the Santiago River, one of the most contaminated rivers in México. The heath diseases are many, all symptoms of serious illnesses that become chronic. Most of the tobacco production(more than 90%) goes to companies like British American Tobacco and Philip Morris international, that despite their billions of dollars in earnings they haven't taken responsibility for these workers, that very often don't have enough money to buy food for the rest of the week. For the Huichol culture the tobacco is a sacred plant but right now, this sacred plant is the one that is slowly killing them.