Voters in a Mexican border city have rejected the construction of a massive, US-owned brewery in an arid region rife with water shortages – an improbable victory for a collective of farmers and activists over a deep-pocketed company backed by state and local officials.
In a weekend plebiscite in the city of Mexicali, 76.1% of voters cast ballots against the $1.4bn brewery, being built by Constellation Brands to brew beer for export – including Corona, Modelo and Pacifico.
“There’s been an intense campaign [against the brewery] by a resistance movement for two years … protesting in the streets and going to the courts to hold a plebiscite,” said Daniel Solorio, a lawyer who has worked with the opposition.
“It’s surprising the president called a plebiscite on such short notice,” he said, “but we’ve been demanding a vote for two years.”
Alfonso Cortez Lara, water expert at the College of the Northern Border, said the brewery was projected to use more water than all the industrial users in Mexicali combined.