Sunday, May 8, 2011

Coca-Cola: The Savage Quest for Liquid Money

            Coca-Cola is delicious. This is what many people who drink the beverage would say if they were not being exploited. Yet, this is not the case in Mexico; in Mexico, citizens, while also being exploited in terms of labor, are indirectly forced to drink Coca-Cola because of the lack of water supply due to Coca-Cola’s use of it. In order to perform such debasing acts, Coca-Cola is affiliated with political parties and advertises extensively throughout Mexico. Thus, in order to make a profit, Coca-Cola exploits the citizens of Mexico by depriving them of water and wages through its connection with the government and advertisements that will inevitably delay Mexico’s advancement in the future.

            The citizens of Mexico have been abused with regards to Coca-Cola’s search for a more cost-efficient company.

“Coca-Cola is positioning itself to take control of the water resources of the war-torn Mexican state of Chiapas, say local activists, who complain that the company has pressured local government officials into using preferential zoning laws to allow the privatisation of water resources. Chiapas is rich in water, yet local communities have protested at being denied access to it. The Chiapas-based Centre for Economic and Political Investigations of Community Action (CIEPAC) claims that the Mexican government under Vicente Fox – himself a former President of Coca-Cola Mexico – has given the company concessions to exploit community water resources. Campaigners from around the world have also expressed concern that Coca-Cola is one of the main sponsors of the World Water Forum in Mexico City in March 2006” (Zacune).

Thus, not only is Coca-Cola exploiting the Mexican citizens’ water, but is also associated with the government, which is in full support of such atrocities and the subjugation of its people in terms of profit for Coca-Cola. By allowing such acts to occur, not only is the government becoming corrupt, but so too is society if no one acts to stop Coca-Cola, which is infringing upon the people’s water supply and thus where their money culminates.

            As the Mexican citizens lack the water necessary to satisfy their thirst, they revert to purchasing Coca-Cola. This occurs because of “the purchase of water previously belonging to ejidos for Coca-Cola’s private use, depriving indigenous communities of lands and access to water. In the production of bottles alone, Coca-Cola uses the equivalent of the water consumed by 223 families” (Sipaz). Coca-Cola disregards the concern of other families, purchases bottles, and makes use of the water, whether it is to make liters of Coca-Cola or for “the contamination of water and the sale of contaminated water” (Sipaz). This in turn leads people to spend their money on the only form of beverages available, mainly Coca-Cola, as “Mexico has the highest per capita consumption of Coke in the world” (Lydersen). This is evident in that “in indigenous communities, a person spends up to 17.5% of the daily minimum wage on Coca-Cola products” (Sipaz). The lifestyle of a person is dictated by the Coca-Cola Company; the money a person makes is spent on Coca-Cola products due to the indirect cause of Coca-Cola’s consumption of the water, which is approved by the government. Thus, if approximately one-fifth of the money goes towards a single consumer good annually, surely it will have detrimental effects in the future as the economy of Mexico is focusing on mass purchasing rather than mass exportation or the purchasing of goods domestically.
Coca-Cola assumes domination over society through its advertisements and manipulation of stores.

“In San Juan Chamula, Coca-Cola has attained a religious significance, replacing traditional beverages in their sacred cleansing rituals. This love affair with Coke is in part due to the vast amounts of money spent on advertising in Mexico, some 500 million USD annually. In addition, Coca-Cola asserts their hold on the market in more insidious ways, by imposing quotas on small shop owners in return for gifts such as tables, chairs and refrigerators, all emblazoned with the Coca-Cola insignia, of course” (Wooters).

            Coca-Cola has finally gotten to the point in which it has intruded upon the cultures of people and changed it. The omnipotence and omnipresence of Coca-Cola has created a society focused on and revolving around this soft drink beverage. This is exemplified by Ms. Chavez and her case against Coca-Cola:

“Big Cola [a newly created rival product from Peru] was instantly popular in Ms. Chavez's deprived suburb as it is significantly cheaper than Coke and the other big name soft drink brands. When a Coca-Cola distributor told Ms. Chavez to remove the product from her shelves, she went to Mexico's Federal Competition Commission…Now three years later, Coca-Cola's Mexican unit - Coca-Cola Export Corporation - and a number of its distributors and bottlers have been hit with fines of $68m” (BBC).

In this case, Coca-Cola is imposing quotas upon this woman in return for Coca-Cola not interfering with her business. Coca-Cola does not want other companies infringing upon their beverages because they want to monopolize the area in Mexico and reap all possible profits, regardless of whom they are antagonizing. Thus, such actions are affecting the society and economy of Mexico by changing it to one concentrated on and dominated by Coca-Cola.

            Coca-Cola manages to control the political, social, and economic aspects of society simply through its products and influence to better its quest for profits despite the detrimental current and future effects. The lack of water and the constant appearances of advertisements lead the average Mexican citizen to purchase Coca-Cola products. Such results will result in the government becoming corrupt and affiliated with big businesses; the people in society being dominated by a business rather than a government and; the retardation of the economy. Coca-Cola leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of Mexican citizens where that of sweetness should exist.

"BBC NEWS | Business | Mexican Shopkeeper Defeats Coke." BBC News - Home. BBC, 17 Nov. 2005. Web. 08 May 2011. <>.
"Facts About Chiapas." .:: SIPAZ - International Service for Peace / Servicio Internacional Para La Paz ::::::. Sipaz, 24 Apr. 2010. Web. 08 May 2011. <>.
Lyderson, Kari. “Coca Cola- Latin America’s Second Religion.” India Resource Center. 28 May 2002. Web. 08 May 2011. <>
Wooters, Monica. "Coca-Cola and Water Resources in Chiapas | Colectivos De Apoyo, Solidaridad Y Acción." Welcome | Colectivos De Apoyo, Solidaridad Y Acción. Creative Commons, Mar. 2008. Web. 08 May 2011. <>.
Zacune, Joe. "Coca Cola: The Alternative Report." War on Want, Mar. 2006. Web. 08 May 2011. <>.

Paul Popa


  1. All possible controversies regarding the abuse of Mexico by the Coca Cola Company have been discussed. However, there should be a greater focus have been given to the political corruption in the Mexican Government as a result of Coca Cola abuses. If Coca Cola did not have such a large influence in the elections and which political party holds power, more countering force would be placed on Coca Cola to halt their exploitations and to wrest power from their control.

    The Coca Cola Company is only capable of committing so many atrocities in Mexico because they give the political elites free Coke to give to shop owners and help promote the political candidate of their choice. As a result, no matter who is elected will be under the influence of Coca Cola. Therefore, the biggest threat comes from Coca Cola's involvement in government affairs, always convincing the elected officials to overlook their crimes. Should political authority be wrested completely from the Coca Cola Company, then government authority could be used to stop their monopolistic plots and unfair policies.

    Vincent Viola

  2. With regards to the issue that there should be more focus on government affiliations, the point made is valid. The government can be viewed as the main source for all of the turmoil within Mexico due to Coca-Cola. Without government support, the issues of Coca-Cola would slowly deteriorate, but only if the government is able to reverse the calamities already introduced by Coca-Cola.

    Yet, since the creation of Coca-Cola in 1886, Coca-Cola has been rooted in Mexico since 1897; such extensive periods of time within Mexico surely has caused similar, if not more rooted and severe, detrimental effects. Only with government aid can Coca-Cola truly exploit the people. Advertisements would have occurred regardless and since Coca-Cola is affiliated with water reserves as well, water exploitation was inevitable. The government aided in further pushing Coca-Cola's cause for benefits by allowing for exploitation of its workers as well as influence in the market and government decisions.

    Paul Popa

  3. Although it is true that Mexico's entire system of government is headed toward corruption, the Mexican people have formed groups set on boycotting Coca-Cola's products and influencing other to do the same. The problem is that Coca-Cola becomes an addicting product when overconsumed, that even these same boycott leaders are having difficulties breaking tradition.

    The section on Coca-Cola domination over society is an excellent analytical piece that focuses on each step of domination. By leaving the people with no choice of drink but Coca-Cola, the people are forced to put almost a fifth of their wages which in turn, keeps the Coca-Cola company well in control of the people.

    Although an important political technique of eliminating all small competitors is acknowledged, it is necessary to also describe how the workers have been cheated out of their tax revenues. In one extreme case, a man who worked with coca-Cola for sixteen years was dismissed for refusal to get involved in corrupt monopolistic affairs. The Company will not only knock done competition, but it is not afraid to eliminate loyal workers, as well, if they threaten the future of the Company's existence in Mexico.

    Brian Feliciano

  4. The comment about Mexico forming boycott groups and Coca-Cola's addiction to the people are valid arguments. However, boycott groups have been suppressed by unions in support of Coca-Cola and affiliated with the government, such as CROC. In addition, though Coca-Cola has become an addiction, regardless if Coca-Cola leaves or not, it will be consumed and since Coca-Cola has its roots in Mexico since 1897, such damage appears to be irreparable.

    The issue regarding taxes is key. Coca-Cola uses and exploits the government as well. It uses it to bail out on taxes it is required to pay and outlines the decisions for the government to make, such as allowing Coca-Cola to extract water for its products. Such actions allow for Coca-Cola's profits to reach unimaginable heights as well as for Coca-Cola to dominate the water supply, which leads to Coca-Cola being the sole supplier of soft beverages.

    Paul Popa

  5. All points made in the essay are relatively accurate with the Coca-Cola's monopolization of Mexico resulting in loss of resources and corruption of the people and government. One point the essay is missing is discussion of poor health issues resulting from Mexican cola consumption. Because of the mass advertising and lack of water supply discussed, Mexican people were forced to drink cola on a daily basis leading to health problems such as obesity and diabetes. These health problems are vital long lasting social effects that the Mexican people will have to cope with. Besides missing health issues, the essay was on point.

    Jenna Anne Chan

  6. In response to the single missing issue being that pertaining to one's health, this is a valid point. The issue was not addressed, yet is still a strong argument. However, people are aware of the causes of such debilitating side effects. As such, though water is contaminated due to Coca-Cola's actions, people are able to purchase bottled waters. "Mexico is now the number two consumer of bottled water in the world, a large percentage of which is sold by Coca-Cola, ironically enough" (Wooters). Thus, Mexicans can purchase this Coca-Cola brand of water rather than the detrimental soft drinks, which would still result in the benefits of Coca-Cola while the people are kept safe from diabetes and other health issues.

    Paul Popa

  7. The ideas regarding Coca Cola’s extreme amount of exploitation in Mexico and its government were evaluated thoroughly. The government has most definitely become corrupt from the election of political candidates endorsed by Coca Cola. Also notable is the lack of concern for the welfare of the Mexican people, from whom they take water, land, and money. It is also abhorrent how Coca Cola does not allow local grocers to even sell competing brands of soft drinks, which hinders economic growth on a large scale. Coca Cola’s actions prevent people from accessing safe water and making it impossible for local businesses to flourish without this company’s abusive influence.

    The Mexican government has failed to regulate relations with Coca Cola, which is a result of this company's influence in elections from providing incentives for certain candidates to promote Coca Cola products. The government is partially to blame for Coca Cola’s foothold in Mexico because this corporation evidently had an agenda when it first began exploiting and manipulating the Mexican people. Since politicians in Mexico failed to see how much Coca Cola Company would damage their country, those in power willingly accepted incentives from them. Since Coca Cola is obsessed with making a profit, they have gone far past the ethical line by privatizing Mexican water resources and manipulating business owners and the government. These actions have yielded results that will negatively affect the economy and social life of the Mexican for several decades in the future.

    Liz Newton

  8. In response to the statement that the issues pertaining to Coca-Cola and its exploitation of the people being "evaluated thoroughly," this is true. Coca-Cola constantly preys upon Mexico, whether it is its economy, people, or resources. Mexico controls the economy through its control of water and influence upon businesses as well as the government. So long as the government continues to be involved with Coca-Cola, exploitation will continue. Coca-Cola's obsession with making a profit regardless of the consequences leads one to question the actions of Coca-Cola. Irreparable damage is and will be done upon Mexico if this behemoth is not halted.

    Paul Popa

  9. Just saw this site with our logo (the Killer Coke can) and I am happy to see these issues getting out there. I have been working with the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke ( for a number of years. We began working around the issue of labor abuses -- murder, kidnapping and torture -- in Colombia, and rapidly added issues as people around the world began contacting us.

    We were contacted by a number of people in Mexico and you can see our "Coke's Crimes in Mexico" at: On this site, you can read about the case of Angel Alvarado and the work that Ann Lopez, El Poder del Consumidor and Frente Civico have been involved in around Coke's abuses.

    At the April 2011 Coca-Cola annual meeting Ray Rogers aggressively questioned Coke CEO Muhtar Kent about some of Coke's abuses in Mexico. As usual, Kent denied and lied about everything: