(Open Doors USA) — In parts of Mexico, going to church is risky and dangerous. Drug cartels are treading on the heels of churches in Mexico, extending their gripping power beyond the northern states where, for many years, they have been harassing entire communities ruthlessly.
A very common practice drug traffickers have implemented to control whole communities in the territories where they operate is a “tax” collection system used to charge churches and businesses for the right to exist.
“It is a very common practice of such criminal organizations to charge churches or businesses for the right to remain open or to be allowed to organize a public meeting—similar to a public license—to collect a percentage of the proceeds of a business just like an income tax or to charge for protection. These ‘taxes’ are commonly known as derecho de piso (floor right) or venta de protección (protection rackets),” explains Dennis Petri, the Open Doors Manager in Mexico.