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Protest locally, think globally

5 March 2010

CAPITALISTS UNITE!  WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT OUR CHAIN (STORES)

René López, in Corresponsales Indíginas (my translation):

Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca.- Indigenous merchants from  several of the 36 municipalities in the Mixteca region around Tlaxiaco, held an open forum at the city’s bus station where they endorsed action against the arrival of a Wal-Mart store.

At the forum the merchants signed an agreement to prevent the installation of the store, which, they say, denegrates regional products and crafts, as well as signed an agreement to fight the chain’s and similar stores, entry into the local market, which they say is unfair to regional produce and craft works on which the local community depends up for their economic survival.

They stated that no matter how severely the present economic crisis is now, a Wal-Mart store would lacerate their businesses and that these types of stores negatively effect the purchasing power of customers of limited means.

At the open forum participants agreed that not only grocery stores would be  affects, but also to those selling bread, vegetables, fruit footwear. medication, hardware, telephones, appliances, meat, gifts and countless other items.

Miguel Perez Vasquez, one of the merchants´group’s leaders, said businesses like Wal-Mart have an  unfair trade advantage over small and medium business, adding that a recent business survey in the state capital showed such stores negatively affected 70% of small retailers.

Operations like Wal-mart [the local merchants complain] generally pay low salaries to their employees and tangle the population in credit card debt, selling products which compete against local producers without providing any return to the regional economy and exporting the bulk of their financial returns overseas.

For his  part, Palaemon Gregorio Bautista, the event’s coordinator, added that the products sold in these stores are low quality goods, produced in nations like China, Guatemala and El Salvador, where government policies allow the exploitation of producers, and of society itself.

Bautista also said that  “Opening this store would only be hurt the economy and the well-being of our community, as well as not selling anything we produce, making us all poorer.” of our peoples as well not sell anything and we would be poorer.

The group agreed that at the next meeting they will expect Municipal President Mario Hernandez Martinez to explain why permission was given in the first place, ask him to retract the agreement and invite him to join in protecting the local economy and the people.

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