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MEXICO: The drug culture - Huautla

Huautla, the center of the drug culture (see previous posting), is in the area where Linda Nyquist did her research. It is inaccesible and poor. The foreign drug tourists had to make quite a trip to get there for a trip. Linda writes: "Leaving Mexico City, you drive to Puebla. Head south to Tehuacan, on south to Teotitilan del Camino (the old road to Oaxaca). Teotitlan is just a few hours past Tehuacan. We used to leave the car in Teotitlan del Camino and take a 3rd class bus on the winding road (7 hours to go just a few miles) up to Huautla de Jimenez, which was mostly Zapotec. There were some Ladinos there, which was the designation given to those Indians who spoke the native tongue plus Spanish. They translated for the other Indians who spoke only the other languages native to the region, and there were several, plus the variations in dialect. From there, I trudged up the mountain 6 hours to the village where I did my research, which was San Juan Coatzospan, which was a Mixtec village. The village on the next hill was Mazatec. There were also Chinantecs and many others in the area. The Mixtecs did not use drugs at all that I was aware of. Maria Sabina was very well known for her mushrooms, and many foreigners came into the area in the late 60s and since.

There is a better road into Huautla now, and even up to the village where I worked, which was quite inaccessible in those days; however, the poverty is, in my opinion, little changed. The cash crop of the area is coffee, but because of the terrain and the difficulty in harvesting it, it is not of a very high commercial grade and the Indians don't get a good price for it. Also, the Ladinos exploit those who don't speak Spanish well enough to negotiate better contracts for themselves".

Ronald Hilton - 1/22/02