Portes Gil's Anti-Alcohol Campaign in Ciudad Juarez, 1929–34

Friday, January 2, 2009: 1:20 PM
Park Suite 1 (Sheraton New York)
Andrae M. Marak , California University of Pennsylvania
This paper will focus on the Mexican Education Ministry’s anti-alcohol campaign between 1928 and 1934 in Ciudad Juárez.  Juárez played a central role in the distillation and bootlegging of beer and especially whiskey into the United States since the passage of Prohibition in 1919.  The Education Ministry launched its anti-alcohol campaign in 1928 in hopes of rescuing Mexicans from their own vices.  Chihuahuan state officials continually claimed to be cracking down on bootlegging, but taxes on the industry provided over 70 percent of the states income, so with the support of Plutarco Elías Calles, Mexico's power behind the presidency, they often turned a blind eye (or even participated in it themselves).  Meanwhile, local distillers donated land, buildings, and supplies to federal borderlands schools.  Local inspectors knowingly accepted the donations even as they futilely pushed the Education Ministry’s anti-alcohol campaign.