Huicholes del Tabaco- The Tobacco People

Interview by César Rodríguez

A family of tobacco laborers working at their makeshift tent in Amapa, Santiago, Mexico.

Pedro Garcia, a laborer from San Andres Cohamiata, Jalisco, Mexico, carrying a batch of tobacco leaves.


From left, the siblings Agustin, Felix and Maria, who worked as tobacco laborers in Santiago, Nayarit. On a good day,
they would earn 200 pesos,equal to $11,working 16- to 18 hour shift.



The home of Antonio Escobedo, a tobacco laborer, for the tobacco season. He would sleep, eat and work
 there for five months.
Two siblings checking the fire of their makeshift stove in the middle of the tobacco fields.


Maria takes a break from the work in the tobacco fields to color a book.

Yolanda and her children lived on the same tobacco plantations that they worked on. Yolanda’s sons,
Ernesto and Abelardo, had severe skin infections and large welts from chemicals.

Arturo, 12, taking a bath in the irrigation canal, where he sometimes ingests the polluted water.


Andres, 9, taking a break from the work.

Pedro Hernandez and his family, from Cajones, Jalisco, riding in the back of a van. They were going to the
 community of Huejuquilla to take his son, Carlos, to the doctor.

Juan Chavez has a little lamp that he fastened to his head with a scarf so he could continue working until 3 or 4 in the morning. He would wake up again at 6 a.m. to go to work.


Carlos Vazquez, 32, comes from Mesa del Caiman, a community in the mountains of Nayarit, Mexico.

He said of Philip Morris International, “They don’t see how much work we have to do, they just see how much

 tobacco we can cut and the faster the better.”