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Coca-Cola Christmas ad slammed by Mexico’s indigenous people

Mexico City, D.F. – A recent advertisement by Coca-Cola Mexico has been pulled from both television and Internet spots as their holiday deed was publically slammed for being offensive.

In a bid to spread holiday cheer, the company giant distributed an ad of white people performing good deeds by sharing bottles of coca-cola to remote villages. While there, they build a wooden Christmas tree in the village town square.

Coke’s “Open Your Heart” ad was slammed by indigenous rights’ groups saying the advertisement campaign promoted colonialism, not unity.

In a press conference in Mexico City last week, indigenous lawyer Elvira Pablo, said, “This type of publicity is an act of discrimination and racism. It is a comment on our type of life and an attempt to put a culture of consumerism in its place.”

The ad was also promoted on YouTube for about a week before being condemned by the public. Coke pulled the ad last Tuesday, although other private versions can be found online. The video shows perky fair-skinned people bringing bottles of Coke to the Mixe people in Tontontepec in the state of Oaxaca. In the video, coke claims that 81.6 percent of the country’s indigenous people feel rejected for speaking a language other than Spanish, a statistic that is not followed with a source.

The ad finishes with “#AbreTuCorazon” or “#OpenYourHeart”, however, according to a report in The Guardian, activists say the ad “reproduced and reinforced stereotypes of indigenous people as culturally and racially subordinate.”

A Coca-Cola spokesperson made a statement saying, “Our intention was never to be insensitive to or underestimate any indigenous group. We have now removed the video and apologize to anyone who may have been offended.”

An official complaint with the National Council to Prevent Discrimination has been filed by the Alliance for Food and Health. To counteract Coke’s message, the Alliance for Food Health created its own video that include Mixe people speaking about the soda industry’s influence on their community.

“Fifty years ago, cases of diabetes type 2 in our indigenous communities were rare,” says one person, speaking in the Mixe language. “Now they begin to be an epidemic. In order to remain united, we must preserve our dignity, our health and our culture. In Oaxaca, we drink tejare, tea and clean water.”

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