About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hunger Strike in Toluca

Just before Christmas I pointed out the the city government in Toluca had "cleansed" the portales area of the centro of the "ambulantes" that sell their goods in that area. It seems that since last week these same merchants have established a sit in and hunger strike in front of the municipal palace. According to Sol de Toluca, they are calling on the Bishop of Toluca to shame the mayor into giving them their stalls in the portales back. Some of those "ambulantes" have been selling there for over twenty years.

Like most things, the heavy labor people are going to get all the press this week with their gas strike. The little pedllers - themselves taking a beating as they sell on the buses and at intersections to truckers, passangers, etc., are not going to get a glance on the national stage. Perhaps one of the most civilized things about Mexico is the human contact of the peddler to the home or the pedestrian. It simultaneously reminds you of the position of the hard working people in difficult economic conditions while tying you to them in a social exchange - unlike treating with the checker at Gigante. Somehow the attack on the peddlers of the portales seems like an assault on the civility of Mexico itself.

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