Merida street vendors denounce extortion: they are being charged every day to be able to work

(Photo: NotiYuc)

Faced with the misunderstanding of the authorities, street vendors located on the perimeter of the municipal markets are forced by the groups that manage these “Mercados” to pay high daily fees to be able to carry out their commercial activity.

Mérida, Yucatán.- Shoe and fruit merchants, whom we will call Martha and José because they asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, declared they have to pay 150 pesos per day to groups led by the markets’ representatives to allow them to occupy a space in the sidewalks or streets, despite the fact that these organizations do not have jurisdiction or control over public roads.

Besides, they also pay the corresponding fee of 10 pesos a day to the City Council (which is very reasonable).

The extortion reduces half of their earnings and forces them to invest more hours of work; a situation that does not allow them to return to their towns (Cacalchén and Sinanché) and they must pay the rent of a room in Mérida to store their merchandise and spend the night, according to Martha’s testimony.

“We invest in products, transportation, and now we have to pay extortionists, it is not fair, we invest time as well, while these mobsters just steal from us. On one occasion when we refused to pay, they tried to take away our merchandise and the next day a merchant from the group was already installed in our space, so we had to pay them to avoid problems, ”she said.

“The leaders even offered us protection if we bought the merchandise from them, but with the prices they ask, it would be impossible for us to make a profit and we would only work to enrich them more,” she added.

For his part, José pointed out that this situation has already been reported to the municipal inspectors on several occasions but they do nothing about it, and there might be some complicity between both parties; the two sides know each other and make agreements.

Both vendors are the support of their families and every day they must deal with these inconveniences to be able to bring food to their children.

The Yucatan Times
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