The surprising story of how the former president of Mexico helped make Coca-Cola such a huge part of Mexican life that it’s used in religious ceremonies and as medicine

The average Mexican drinks more than 700 cups of Coca-Cola a year — nearly double what Americans drink.

But Coca-Cola wasn’t always such a huge part of Mexican culture. It grew slowly in popularity as one of its delivery workers — Vicente Fox — rose up the ranks to become president of Coca-Cola Mexico and eventually, president of the whole country.

Coca-Cola had been in Mexico for decades before it started booming in popularity. In the early 1970s, an international ad campaign for the drink swept across Mexico. Around the same time, Coca-Cola sponsored the Mexico City Olympics and the World Cup.

Coke was so popular that in 1970, then-President Luis Echeverría tried to get the recipe and nationalize it. Though his attempt was unsuccessful, it was a testament to how closely intertwined Coca-Cola and Mexican politics had become.

Coke is now a big part of Mexican life, not just

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