Los Angeles Times staff writer Sam Enriquez’ plans to interview Apatzingan‘s chief of police were dashed when the lawman threw in the towel and left town with his family, but that only gave Enriquez an opportunity to see a different side of a town which hasn’t been given much respect lately by the Estadounidense press. At the birthday party he attended, the townfolk stressed the city’s positive aspects:
Leading locals were happy to brag about their town to a visiting reporter: new roads; the restoration of the building where Mexicans drafted their first constitution in 1814; and perfect weather for growing grapefruit, bananas, papaya and mango.
“Everybody comes here to write about drugs,” said Javier Lozano, the city’s director of communications. “Maybe you’ll write about the good things.”
Apatzingan enjoyed a boom during the 1970s when thousands of acres of cotton provided work. Rain is plentiful, and the port is only 90 minutes away.
But farmers never recovered after falling cotton prices, cheaper labor elsewhere and the rise of synthetic fabrics killed the local market. Low wages, along with ideal weather and transport routes, have again made the region valuable — this time for a different kind of crop.