Sunday, October 9, 2011
Crushed by poverty, Yucatán style: The crime of not letting someone work
A Mexican national institute recently reported that almost half the population of the Yucatán - 47.9%, to be exact - lives at or below the official government poverty line. Of those, 191,000 live in the most dire conditions of poverty -- they are the poorest of the poor. Poverty in Yucatán has increased significantly since 2008. During roughly the same time frame, the Yucatán's state indebtedness increased dramatically, from $25 million USD in 2007 to an estimated $750 million USD today. It doesn't appear that much of that huge increase in public debt was the result of efforts to eradicate or even reduce severe poverty in the countryside.
Now the municipal government of Mérida has dealt this voiceless minority another blow. Itinerant merchants and vendors - ubiquitous throughout Mexico, and very much a part of Mexico's cultural charm in the eyes of most visitors - have been kicked out of the city's main plaza. The city says this it wants to "clean things up." The vendors - and the cottage industry workers in small villages who produce the wares they sell -- are suffering greatly. Last week Mérida's main newspaper, El Diario de la Yucatán, reported that some city inspectors and enforcement personnel have been demanding payoffs from lingering street merchants to "overlook" their violations. The city has not responded to the allegations.
Nov. 30, 2011 - Mérida's battle of the merchants
at 11:42 PM