Things That Matter

Thanks To Coronavirus, Mexico Is Experiencing A Severe Beer Shortage And It Could Have Serious Consequences

Many were surprised when Mexico’s government declared beer production a ‘non-essential’ service when it implemented measures meant to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. In early April, the federal government mandated the closure of millions of businesses – including breweries.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador declared a national health emergency at the end of March and called for a halt to non-essential activities that included most manufacturing. 

Now, Mexico is running out of cerveza.

As the country faces another month of quarantine, a new crisis looms on the horizon: Mexico is running out of beer.

Beer is in short supply across Mexico as manufactures were ordered closed because of Coronavirus. Mexico’s beer lovers have had a hard time finding stocked shelves after the government deemed the industry non-essential and ordered it shut down.

Since President AMLO declared a national health emergency, beer production is no longer authorized under current sanitary restrictions. This means that production plants from Tabasco to Baja have had to shutter their doors. As a result, beer is a hot commodity. In fact, last weekend at least 25 states across Mexico reported beer shortages both in large supermarket chains and corner tienditas.

Although Mexico is the world’s largest exporter of the beverage — cornering almost 27% of the global beer market — the federal Health Ministry has made it clear that the product is not essential, even after the Agriculture Ministry invited beer manufacturers to resume production in early April.

As of Friday, the giant Mexican chain of convenience stores, Oxxo, announced they only had inventory for 10 days.

Oxxo is Latin America’s largest chain of convenience stores and they’re quickly running out of beer.

“If and when we run out of beer, which could happen in the next couple of weeks, that would be negative for sales,” Juan Fonseca, Femsa’s head of investor relations, said on a conference call with analysts. “I don’t want people to get off the call and run to the store, but right now we are probably looking at about 10 days of inventory.”

Although beer production doesn’t pose a major health risk, many see it as possibly limiting adherence to strict social distancing measures. When you drink alcohol, you often become less inhibited and it can also act as a social lubricant – meaning beer drinking may lead to more casual get together or parties.

“I think the government might be afraid if they drink beer, there will be more social interaction,” Padilla said in the call with analysts.

Several groups are urging the government to classify beer as an essential product to help mom and pop tiendas as well as to avoid social unrest.

Mom and pop corner shops and tienditas are struggling to make ends meet since beer often makes up more than 40% of their sales.

“There’s no beer because there’s no production. They closed the plants because of the disease,” said Emilio, a Mexico City shop owner with a few lonely cans of less popular brands of beer left in his refrigerators. Shops carrying ‘No Hay Cerveza’ signs are littered across the city.

“It’s hitting us real hard because beer is what we sell most. Now that we don’t have any, it obviously hurts us. My business supports eight families,” he said among mountains of empty bottles.

Even larger grocery stores are starting to see stocks run low, and the scarcity is being felt at the cash register, as beer prices have risen around 30%. In Tamaulipas, the price of a six-pack has doubled and a case of beer that used to sell for 280 pesos is now going for up to 600 pesos.

Some states are under mandatory ‘dry’ laws while a booming black market is leading many to worry about violence.

Some areas of the country are under government-mandated dry laws either banning outright the sale of alcohol or limiting the hours during which it can be purchased, but the shortage has imposed de facto dry laws on other regions simply because supplies do not exist. 

Even in the capital, Mexico City, certain parts of the city have enacted dry laws banning the sale of alcohol.

Meanwhile, smugglers on the northern border are bringing in clandestine shipments of beer from the U.S. Beer runners are taking to social media to sell their illegal beers, which are being trafficked similarly to cocaine and marijuana. Sellers will bring beer to a customer’s door to lower the risk of being caught by police, but purchasers will often pay a 300% premium for the service.

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Peru’s Indigenous Are Turning To Ancestral Medicines To Fight The Coronavirus

Culture

Peru’s Indigenous Are Turning To Ancestral Medicines To Fight The Coronavirus

Joao Laet / Getty Images

With news headlines like “How Covid-19 could destroy indigenous communities”, it’s hard to understate the affect that the Coronavirus has had on Indigenous communities across the world.

Even before the pandemic hit, native populations were already at increased risk of health complications, poor access to medical care, lack of proper education, and even premature death. The pandemic has only exacerbated these issues as government programs and NGOs who delivered aid to far flung communities have grind to a halt.

However, many communities have started taking the matter into their own hands by creating their own impromptu healthcare systems based on ancestral techniques and others have barricaded off their villages from the outside world in an effort to stem the flow of the virus.

In Peru, many Indigenous communities are turning to centuries-old medicines to fight back against the Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on Peru – the country with the world’s highest per capita Covid-19 mortality rate. At particular risk is the nation’s large Indigenous community, who often lack proper access to education efforts and medical care. This has forced many Indigenous groups to find their own remedies.

In the Ucayali region, government rapid response teams deployed to a handful of Indigenous communities have found infection rates as high as 80% through antibody testing. Food and medicine donations have reached only a fraction of the population. Many say the only state presence they have seen is from a group responsible for collecting bodies of the dead.

At least one community, the Indigenous Shipibo from Peru’s Amazon region, have decided to rely on the wisdom of their ancestors. With hospitals far away, doctors stretch too thin and a lack of beds, many have accepted the alternative medicine.

In a report by the Associated Press, one villager, Mery Fasabi, speaks about gathering herbs, steeping them in boiling water and instructing her loved ones to breathe in the vapors. She also makes syrups of onion and ginger to help clear congested airways.

“We had knowledge about these plants, but we didn’t know if they’d really help treat COVID,” the teacher told the AP. “With the pandemic we are discovering new things.”

One of the plants the Shipibo are using is known locally as ‘matico.’ The plant has green leaves and brightly colored flowers. And although Fasabi admits that these ancestral remedies are by no means a cure, the holistic approach is proving successful. She says that “We are giving tranquility to our patients,” through words of encouragement and physical touch.

Even before the Coronavirus, Indigenous communities were at a greater risk for infectious diseases.

Indigenous peoples around the globe tend to be at higher risk from emerging infectious diseases compared to other populations. During the H1N1 pandemic in Canada in 2009, for example, aboriginal Canadians made up 16% of admissions to hospital, despite making up 3.4% of the population.

Covid-19 is no exception. In the US, one in every 2,300 indigenous Americans has died, compared to one in 3,600 white Americans.

Indigenous groups are particularly vulnerable to dying from Covid-19 because they often live days away from professional medical help. As of July 28, the disease had killed 1,108 indigenous people and there had been 27,517 recorded cases, with the majority in Brazil, according to data published by Red Eclesial Panamazonia (Repam).

Some communities are turning inward to survive COVID-19, barricading villages and growing their own food.

Despite the immense threat they face, Indigenous communities are fighting back.

“I am amazed to see the ways that indigenous peoples are stepping up to provide support where governments have not,” Tauli-Corpuz, a teacher at Mexico’s UNAM, told The Conversation. “They are providing PPE and sanitation, making their own masks, and ensuring that information on Covid-19 is available in local languages, and are distributing food and other necessities.”

They are also choosing to isolate. In Ecuador’s Siekopai nation, about 45 Indigenous elders, adults and children traveled deep into the forest to their ancestral heartland of Lagartococha to escape exposure to the Coronavirus, says the nation’s president Justino Piaguaje.

Despite their best efforts, many experts are extremely concerned for the survival of many Indigenous communities.

Credit: Ginebra Peña / Amazonian Alliance

They are already facing the ‘tipping point’ of ecological collapse due to increased threats of deforestation, fires, industrial extraction, agribusiness expansion and climate change,” Amazon Watch executive director Leila Salazar-Lopez told UNESCO of Amazonian Indigenous groups.

“Now, the pandemic has created one more crisis, and as each day passes, the risk of ethnocide becomes more real.”

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Viva Mexico Is Trending On Twitter Proving That Mexico Is More Than Just A Country

Culture

Viva Mexico Is Trending On Twitter Proving That Mexico Is More Than Just A Country

Carlos Vivas / Getty Images

It is Mexico’s Independence Day and that means that Mexicans around the world are honoring their roots. Twitter is buzzing with people who might not be in Mexico but they will forever have Mexico in their hearts. Here are just a few of the loving messages from people who are Mexican through and through.

Viva Mexico is trending on social media and the tweets are filled with love and passion for the country.

Mexico received its independence from Spain on September 16, 1810 and since then the day has been marked with celebration. The day is marked with parties of pride and culture no matter where you are in the world.

Mexicans everywhere are letting their Mexican flag fly.

Tbh, who doesn’t want to be Mexican to enjoy the day of puro pinche pride? The celebration for Mexican Independence Day starts on Sept. 15 with El Grito. The tradition is that the president of Mexico stands on the balcony on Sept. 15 at 11 p.m. and rings the same church bell that Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang in 1810 to trigger the Mexican Revolution.

People are loving all of the celebrations for their homeland.

The original El Grito took place in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato in 1810. While most El Grito celebrations take place at the National Palace, some presidents, especially on their last year, celebrate El Grito in the town where it originated.

Honestly, no one celebrates their independence day like Mexico and we love them for it.

¡Viva Mexico! Mexico lindo y querido. How are you celebrating the Mexican Independence Day this year? Show us what you have planned.

READ: Many Mexicans Are Calling Out Fragile Masculinity As Some Continue To Protest A Controversial Zapata Painting

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