World in View: Hurricane Otis and the ‘Other Acapulco’

November 18, 2023

by Eugene Walker

We are forgotten in this corner of Acapulco. We have no way to cover ourselves from the sun or protect ourselves from the water. Every year we look for ways to survive by planting corn, hibiscus, squash and sesame, but now with Hurricane Otis we are going to die of hunger because 70% of the harvest was lost.

—Hurricane survivor

The aftermath of Hurricane Otis in Acapulco. Photo: ProtoplasmaKid, CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

Not everything is touristy Acapulco. The impact of Hurricane Otis on the coast of Guerrero on Oct. 25 left more than 80% of the hotel infrastructure unusable and hundreds of houses in Coyuca de Benítez without roofs, furniture and in several cases, without walls, because, being made of adobe, they disappeared.

In the San Juan Cacahuatepec area, Otis destroyed 70% of the harvest, including 37,000 hectares of land, of which 20,000 were crops, most of them corn, but also squash and beans. We should not forget that “the population was already suffering from hunger.”

It is reported that federal support has not reached the coastal-mountain region of Guerrero, a region of 47 communal communities, where more than 150 families are affected. Despite the fact that the federal government reported on Nov. 9 that the conditions for the Declaration of Emergency no longer existed in those municipalities, the reality is that the damage continues and there were also severe impacts in the coastal mountains, which are populated mostly by women.

Women from Indigenous peoples such as Mixtecs, Nahuas, Amuzgas or Tlapanecas are the most marginalized in the state and have little access to human development, which is why many migrate to the coast seeking a better life for themselves and their families. That migration has stopped because of the damage from the hurricane.

This season, the rains either did not arrive or, when they did come, came in dribs and drabs, which exacerbated the loss of crops. The population has no source of income. The flagship social programs of the federal government are not reaching the day laborer population.


Another problem faced by the Indigenous communities of the Guerrero mountains is the siege by organized groups of criminals on their territories. This siege is playing out in the main cities, especially in Acapulco, and now is spreading to small municipalities where they concentrate on addicting the local youth to drugs.

It has been reported that in some localities the consumption of drugs such as fentanyl and crystal meth have become normalized among youth and violence has worsened. One example is the femicide of Maricruz García Margarito in March 2023, in Cuanacaxtitlán, San Luis Acatlán. The information about the situation comes from the Regional Council of Agrarian Authorities in Defense of the Territory (CRAADET). CRAADET is a space created by the population to share what happens within their territories and to implement effective actions that strengthen their defenses so they can care for their natural resources. The area’s problems are not a priority to the local, state and federal governments, leaving the people in the seven regions of the state defenseless.

This article is excerpted and translated from Spanish from Desinformémonos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *