Beer And Other Essential Services In Mexico City

Cerveza esencial
Cerveza esencial
Alidad Vassigh


MEXICO CITY — Confinement has had few consolations, in spite of all the efforts to sell it as an "opportunity for personal growth."

The good news from where I sit is that I can see beer showing up again in Mexico City's supermarkets and convenience stores. When the country imposed a nationwide shutdown, the measures included halting activity of "non-essential" sectors, which it turned out included the production of beer. I know, it boggles the mind in a country with several standout brands, including Negra Modelo, Pacífico and the deeply unfortunately named Corona.

In the first days of quarantine in April, as beer became scarce, I thought I was cleverer than the rest by going from one Oxxo or 7-11 store to another, scouring the neighborhoods like a drunkard's courier, looking for any last remaining cans. It was my own answer to those stockpiling toilet paper in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Someone must explain the logic of the beer policy.

But clearly others in Mexico City were doing the same as me on the beer front. I then decided the only answer was to swap beer for whisky and vodka (lasts longer) but stopped after the first two bottles, as the liquor began going down with frightening ease each successive evening. Before you know it, you're conducting an orchestra like Boris Yeltsin.

Salud — Photo: Cassiano Barletta

But seriously, I am told to believe the rationality of science through the pandemic, but then someone must explain the logic of the beer policy. I thought this every time I viewed a shop with shelves filled with Coca-Cola and every sorted sugary drink, plus all the chocolates, sweets and salty snacks you could eat to assuage your all-day anxiety. You know, all those things that bring on obesity and foment diabetes, and make you more vulnerable to the virus. Still, someone in Mexico's government decided beer was not essential, but Coke and potato chips were?

Bleak times on the beer front are over.

They say the world will change after the pandemic. For me, it will continue to be a struggle between thinking individuals and those abstract powers, be they technology, governments or corporations, that try to impose their rules ... all the while suggesting it was just the natural course of events.

My rantings, however, are quieting. As I said, even as lockdown restrictions remain in place, the bleak times on the beer front are over. Leave it to 7-Eleven to catch the national mood with its posters of beer bottles declaring to passersby: "Qué gusto volverte a ver." So nice to see you too, old friend.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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