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Yucatan’s dry law has backfired, say critics

Price gouging on the black market, and a rise in domestic violence, observed by local newspapers

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Municipal and state police in Oxkutzcab seize a fridge with alcoholic beverages. Photo: Diario de Yucatan

Nine days into Yucatan’s “dry law,” ending alcohol sales statewide, it’s clear the measure was misguided, according to an editorial in Diario de Yucatan.

In fact, the alcohol ban has only increased tensions that lead to domestic violence and allowed for black market for beer and liquor sold at wildly inflated prices, said the editors.

On the coast, Grillo de Yucatan calls the measure a violation of human rights that has instigated more lawlessness and misery, the opposite of what the “ley seca” intended.

Suddenly yanking access to alcohol can be dangerous in some circumstances, said Fabiola García Magaña, director of the Women’s Institute of Mérida, which helps shelter domestic violence victims.

“There are chronic functional drinkers who need to be under the influence of alcohol to control themselves, and when they are not, they can become violent people, and that is what is beginning to happen,” said García Magaña.

Today, the registry of domestic-violence is exceeding the capacity of the institute, she added.

“Every day we receive between eight and 10 calls from women in emotional crisis, depressive, who have even attempted their lives, due to confinement, violence and lately in some places for abstaining from alcohol intake,” she said.

“People should understand that alcohol intake or non-consumption, as well as drug use, are not the origin of family violence, they are only the triggers,” said García Magaña.

Grillo de Yucatan reported a Telchac man, suffering alcohol withdrawal, committed suicide. The dry law also incited the theft of 45 beer cartons and 10 bottles of liquor from a Tienda Six in Yaxkukul. The owner of a liquor store in Oxkutzcab was arrested for clandestinely selling beer.

Just like during Prohibition in the U.S., booze is available, for a price, if you know where to go. Grillo said a can of Tecate Light is going for 180 pesos, and will go higher, and a bottle of Sol costs 80 pesos.

Unless it is extended, the dry law will continue another 11 days.

Across Mexico, restrictions on alcohol sales, and even consumption, have varied.

Nuevo León, Tabasco, Baja California Sur, Sonora, Campeche and Quintana Roo blocked alcohol sales to some degree even before Yucatan.

Tabasco has gone so far as to prohibit drinking wine, beer or spirits.

Los Cabos, the resort city in Baja California Sur, banned alcohol sales in early April.

Sonora, Campeche and Quintana Roo put alcohol sales on a limited daily schedule.

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