Reflections from the Zocalo

Some thoughts that were shared with me after our trip to the city center of Mexico City yesterday…

A few years ago, Rudy Giuliani was a consultant to Mexico City for “urban renewal”, also known as Zero Tolerance.  The point is to drive out street vendors, panhandlers, etc. out of the city center.  In Mexico City, over 30,000 street vendors have been driven out of the Zocalo area.  The informal economy (street vendors, etc.) represent the largest “workforce” in Mexico…but they are not allowed to exist in the place where the most people congregate.  There is a huge military presence from the moment you step off the subway, and throughout all of the places we went.  Our leader (Arieadna) had her picture taken “for her security” upon entering the National Palace.  There were very few people selling things in the square – but McDonalds, KFC, and Holiday Inn were quite visible.

On one hand, I can see the need to remove the riff-raff from an area with untapped economic potential, like the Zocalo.  On the other hand, it seems like an unjust practice that deprives people from earning a living…in a country where the minimum wage is 50-cents / hour.  Lots of issues to wrestle with.  More thoughts to come in future days.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: