Paraíso, Yucatan • 20.67687, -90.11621

In 1915, at the height of Yucatán’s economic prosperity, the state produced almost 100% of the world’s sisal, a crude fibre made from the henequen plant that was used as a binder for harvesting wheat. Almost 70% of all the land in Yucatán was dedicated to its production.

Brígida from the Ashes

Known as Mexico’s ‘green gold’, the henequen industry, built on a system of indigenous Mayan slave labourers and powerful mestizo farm owners, began its rapid decline with the arrival of the Mexican Revolution and the social reform that accompanied it.

The final nail in the henequen coffin was the invention of plastic fibres after which the state, once the richest in the entire country, slowly but surely fell into poverty and economic disaster.

Recently, several families were assigned small plots of land as part of the government’s Sembrando Vida project, but water scarcity is a major problem. They face challenging prospects to turn their new lands into viable economic sources.

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