GUEST VOICES: A Battle for Water Over Beer

Mexicali Resiste protesters marchingby Mayra Jimenez, Advocacy Manager, Alcohol Justice

Last year while at a Community event in Los Angeles, CA I had the privilege to meet activists from Mexicali Resiste and learn about their activism against the efforts of the American alcohol corporation Constellation Brands which plans to deplete their local water aquifers to make beer. Over the next few months I continued to learn about their ongoing campaign. Most recently in February of this year their efforts received international recognition when the Mexican National Human Rights Commission reported that Constellation Brands violates the human right to water of Mexicali residents

Since then the fight has only intensified and become more arduous. In a turn of events the Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, announced a public “consultation” to determine the future of the project. Mexicali Resiste and allies immediately denounced the so called “consultation” asserting that similar popular votes across Mexico have not been democratic and do not align with the Mexican constitution.

In response the Congreso Nacional Indigena (National Indigenous Congress) released a statement denouncing this process as, “disguised democracy in an unequal competition between big money and the aspiration for water as a right.” They have a point, a human rights issue should not be put to a vote.

I believe it is important to expose the efforts of multinational alcohol corporations to violate human rights in other parts of the world because the cost of consumption in the United States is far removed from the beer at the bar. While corporate accountability should be the standard, we see that is not always the case and is more exploitive and extractive in other countries. In Mexicali, Constellation Brands is a death sentence for the quality of life of local residents. Mexicali Resiste is an example of how people can stand up to big alcohol and mobilize to carry the message of people over profits as a standard of life.

The fight of Mexicali Resiste for water and human rights inspires me to continue to fight to make a difference even if it requires aligning across geographies to defend, what we know commonly as natural resources, which in reality are essential sources of life.

READ MORE about supporting Mexicali Resiste

READ MORE: NPR Overview from 2018
READ MORE: (incl. audio) statement from Constellation Brands spokesperson and Mexicali 
READ MORE: (en Español) Mexicali cuestiona efecto legal 
READ MORE: (en Español) Mexicali Resiste llama a vigilar la consulta 
READ MORE: (en Español) Resumen 

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Photo Credit: Mauricio Villa