El Susto (The Shock) (2019)
Directed by Karen Akins, 75 minutes
Of all the traditional food and drink offerings to the dead lovingly placed on family altars during Mexico’s Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) one favorite beverage stands out. Its iconic shape and logo are instantly recognizable around the world, and its omnipresence at gravesides today in contemporary Mexico is no coincidence.
Since the floodgates of the North American Free Trade Agreement opened Mexico up as a major market for U.S. multinational food and drink corporations, Coca-Cola has become a part of the Mexican landscape, the Mexican way of life and the Mexican way of death. Today, Coca-Cola and other soft drinks are fueling Mexico’s leading cause of death: Type 2 Diabetes.
How can the devastating impact of Mexico’s Number One Killer be overturned? And what lessons can be learned for the rest of the world?
Uncovering the public health crisis caused by aggressively marketed and distributed sugary soft drinks and processed foods, El Susto ushers in a political revolution for all consumers. A people’s movement in Mexico is led by public health heroes Alejandro Calvillo and Dr Simon Barquera, who must fight both industry influence and notoriously corrupt government. Their unlikely victory in achieving the first national soda tax against all odds serves as a shining example of how a country can put public health above powerful market forces and compelling pervasive advertising.