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Geopolitics

Beer And Other Essential Services In Mexico City

Cerveza esencial
Cerveza esencial
Alidad Vassigh

-Essay-

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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