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Beer wars

21 January 2018

Photo: Luis Arellano Sarmiento/la Jornada


This was the scene last Tuesday, during a confrontation between Baja farmers and environmentals, and police outside a Constellation Brands brewery in Mexicali. Eight people were injured, and seven arrested. The state government is blaming the Morena Party for fomenting trouble in order to “destabilize” the state ahead of the July election, although complaints about the U.S. owned brewery’s massive demand for water in the desert region has led to protests for several years now, and has been led mostly by the CNC (National Campesino Conference, for its initials in Spanish), which has normally been associated with the PRI and local consumer and environmental groups.

Breweries, of course, need water… and Mexicali never has had a lot of the stuff. While State and local officials have welcomed Constellation Brands as a “job creator”, and built an acuaduct for the benefit of what they claim will be a major source of employment, consumers and farmers point out the brewery consumes millions of liters of water for what is nearly entirely an export product, in a region where water is particularly scarce.

Last Tuesday’s confrontation was an attempt to prevent the state-financed water pipeline (running on federal property) from being connected to the brewery. After nearly seven hours of back and forth fights between protesters and police, the pipeline was laid across the federal land and onto the (fenced) brewery property.

State governor, Kiki Vega de la Madrid claims he is not pro-brewery, but pro-exports: “”I do not defend the interest of any company, I defend the interests of Baja Californians. I have shown that I am a person capable of generating investment and generating employment ” However, the various citizen’s groups see the governor as sticking for the interests of foreign capitalists against those of his own xtate’s citizens.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. T. G. Green permalink
    21 January 2018 7:26 am

    While visiting the home of my ancestors in Hermosillo, Sonora and Yaqui heritage and territory, I found a book of great historical book of interest, The Atlas of Sonora. One section, the Invasion of the North Americans, was devoted to maps of pre-colonization water ways, of which were many. If you don’t think Mexico had much water, please research a past land of abundant waters. It is a last bastion of hope when people have to protest and fight for what was theirs naturally. Age-old story of conquest. Very tragic, but i believe the ravagers of resources will ultimately face harsh judgement. If not here, then in the hereafter. Thank you.

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