Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Anti-Walmart Protest

Protesta Anti-Walmart

Jefferson Tyler Francisco                                       
July 25, 2012

People gathered at the Plaza Schafick Handal in Mejicanos, El Salvador to protest the construction of a Walmart retail store on June 21 and July 25, 2012.  Students, small business owners, community councils, and some NGO workers were present.  They were trying to call attention to the damage that will be done to the environment, local markets and small businesses.  One of their main concerns is the environmental destruction caused by the construction of the facility in an area prone to floods and landslides.  

These committees were present and handed out pamphlets that explained their concerns and demands:
The Comites de Contraloria Cuidadana de Mejicanos, Apopa, y Quetzaltepeque
Comisiones Comunales Proteccion Civil de Mejicanos
Asociacion de Desarrollo Juvenil Mejicanos
Corporacion de Comunidades Por La Cooperacion y Solidaridad - CORDECOM
Concertacion Popular por un Pais Sin Hambre Y Seguro - CONPHAS    
Their main concern is that the construction of the store and parking lot will worsen the already dangerous run-off from the San Salvador Volcano during the rainy season.  They ask Walmart to plant trees in the municipality Mejicanos.  They ask Walmart to fix the streets and build an overpass near the store’s location.  They are also asking Walmart to hire locals for these construction jobs. 

They point out that the previous mayor Roger Blandino Nerio, an engineer, did not grant construction permits.  The new mayor, Juana Lemus de Pacas, has arbitrarily given Walmart the building permits and will therefore be directly responsible for the loss of human life due to landslides and floods in Mejicanos, Apopa, and Quetzaltepeque.   

The trees have been cut down and workers are ready to pour the foundation of the store.  A little kid asked a good question, “¿Porqué vinieron cuando ya cortaron los árboles? (Why did you all come after they already cut the trees down?).  This niño’s question raises some interesting topics.  Is the anti-Walmart movement getting started too late?  Is this simply a reaction to local circumstances and politics?  Or is this a serious social movement against corporations that are controlling the world’s markets?

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