Across Central America, even as rains arrive, many coffee plantations contain only spindly, nearly defoliated bushes, the result of a blight known as coffee leaf rust whose devastation, so far, has yet to affect the prices of premium highland coffee that baristas serve around the developed world.
But while Americans have yet to feel its effects, the blight may soon prove to be as disastrous as any earthquake or volcanic eruption to afflict Central America. Already, it’s knocked nearly half a million people out of work and driven up crime. And the crisis is only beginning. It may soon send a stream of new migrants toward the United States, speed up deforestation and invigorate illicit narcotics production.
The story you’re reading is premium content from the Austin American-Statesman. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
Read MyStatesman.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyStatesman.com all week — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to the Statesman for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
For Subscribers: Register your account for digital access.Access Digital
For Subscribers: Sign in here if you have already registered your account.Sign In