Soda factories extract billions of liters of water in San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, which has made water scarce and expensive.
Diabetes is wreaking havoc among the indigenous people of San Juan Chamula, and is the third leading cause of death in that municipality of Chiapas, Mexico. They currently drink large amounts of cola, much cheaper than water.
Cola as a spiritual drink
The problem is not only due to an economic issue, the indigenous people consumed a liquor called “posh” in their ritual practices, but in the 30s of the last century, to avoid alcoholism among the Tzotzil ethnic group, the missionaries looked for alternatives and thus arose the consumption of soda.
The ‘posh’ is a distillate of corn and sugar cane with piloncillo (panela) that is made by hand in the houses of San Juan Chamula and San Cristóbal de las Casas, in Chiapas.
His ritual drink ceased to be his connection with the spiritual world, to offer it to the devil, while in the altars, cola was used as a heavenly drink.
Currently, cola is still present in some church altars and unfortunately the consequences on the health of the inhabitants of the area of Los Altos de Chiapas, one of the poorest in the country, with high rates of malnutrition, are already being seen and that ranks first in the country for consumption of cola.
Expensive and polluted water
Added to the questions of changing religious habits, indigenous people drink less water because it is scarce and contaminated and it is cheaper to buy a cola than a bottle of water.
The nutritionist Mercedes Bermúdez López warns that "Chiapas is one of the states that manage the first places at the national level in terms of the consumption of soft drinks and currently we see the problems in Chiapas are more focused on indigenous communities"
"The excessive consumption of soft drinks with high sugar content is leading to chronic diseases", the problem is so serious that there are people in their 20s who already suffer from it. Diabetes ranks third in the causes of mortality in Chiapas
The number of people who get sick is 46.4 per 100,000 and the death rate has been increasing since 2008, the expert pointed out.
According to data managed by specialists, in the Chamula area, the per capita consumption of cola drinks is the equivalent of about two cans a day of 325 milliliters on average, double the Mexican standards.
In this way we can find that, on the one hand, this region of Chiapas is among the poorest in the country with high rates of malnutrition and at the same time is the first place in consumption of cola drinks.
Most of its neighborhoods and communities suffer from lack of water in an area where a soft drink producer has installed a factory for which it extracts just over a million liters of water every day.
With information from: