“In addition to suffering a number of inconveniences such as lack of parking space, families who went to the Carnival of Progreso found crowded restaurants, street food without sanitary control, garbage on the beach and on the streets, and drug dealing problems”, said doctor Luis Pasos Várguez, researcher at the Social Sciences Unit of UADY.
“The good weather, the strong heat on Sunday and Tuesday were undoubtedly factors that motivated people to travel to Progreso; this massive influx became conflictive, it discouraged many people,” he said. “It was like “Semana Santa”, the place is so packed, that you rather go back home to Merida or somewhere else”.
“Yucatecan families look for healthy and safe fun, they do not want drunkards looking for trouble with a family member, stolen wallets or innecesary brawls. ”
For the sociologist there is a huge difference between the carnivals of Mérida and Progreso. The first is in the process of consolidation, and from the expert’s point of view, the municipal authorities of Progreso should invest in order to offer better attractions for families, attractive rides and for children, more family oriented activities; costume contests, innovations, etc.
There must be other attractions besides the parade and the concerts, to enjoy the whole day in family.
“We have to be honest, the Mérida Carnival is domestic, it is not a touristic class carnival, it does not attract people from other parts of the country or the world, like the case of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. In order to do so, an advertising and diffusion strategy needs to be implemented, the best-selling things in the world are not sold because they’re good, but because of the effects of advertising, that’s what the organizers have to do,” Pasos Várguez continued
“Should the Mérida Carnival must return to the Paseo de Montejo as some citizens claim on social networks? Of course not!” the sociologist stated.
“It should not go back, it was definitely a great decision to move it. Carnival must have a special place, even Brazil has a “Zambodromo” for its carnival in Rio, it is not organized on its beaches or along famous avenues. Paseo de Montejo is a very important asset for our city and there is no reason to disturb the citizens who do not like these type of celebrations. Mérida has a growing tourism industry and a very good economic dynamism, bringing it back to the Paseo de Montejo would damage tourism. Now many people prefer to walk in that place, go for an ice cream, or a coffee, visit the museum and enjoy a more quiet way of life,” he said .
In fact, there is currently a debate around the Cervantino Festival of Guanajuato, should it continue to be organized in the center of the city; even, in Seville, Spain, they look for alternatives for the Holy Week holidays, but since this period generates huge revenues, that’s why they keep within city limits.
“Money kills devotion,” he said in reference to the support of that tradition in Seville.
“The carnival of Progreso can become dangerous if the indiscriminate sale of alcoholic beverages continues and there is not an effective and sufficient police operation as there is in Xmatkuil,” Pasos Varguez underlined. “In my personal opinion, I think that alcohol consumption brings along many risks, and if we add the drug dealing element, then we are talking about an accident wating to happen”.
According to the Progreso municipal police report, 29 subjects were arrested for impertinent drunkenness, obstructing police work, disrupting public order and urinating on the street and on the beach.
Doctor Pasos Várguez also considers that it is natural for the Mérida carnival to be politicized, because it represents a moment of political opportunism, but the society in general is happy that it was moved to Xmatkuil five years ago, whoever wants to enjoy the carnival, can go to the Xmatkuil fairgrounds (they even have free public transportation departing from Centro) and have a lot of fun in a safe and healthy way.
City chronicler Jorge Álvarez says that the Carnival of Mérida died the moment it was moved to Xmatkuil, what do you think? Pasos Várguez was asked by a reporter.
“Jorge lived his childhood in the beautiful Mérida of the 60s and 70s, but now we live in a different city, with a more plural society, there is a plurality of tastes, some like to go to the carnival, others do not. Mérida has to be open to that plurality and respect it, tourism comes to visit and enjoy the city, it does not come because of the carnival, that is what some people needs to understand”.
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