Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited, an examination by The New York Times found.
By DAVID BARSTOW and ALEJANDRA XANIC von BERTRAB
Published: December 17, 2012 679 Comments
SAN JUAN TEOTIHUACÁN, Mexico — Wal-Mart longed to build in Elda Pineda’s alfalfa field. It was an ideal location, just off this town’s bustling main entrance and barely a mile from its ancient pyramids, which draw tourists from around the world. With its usual precision, Wal-Mart calculated it would attract 250 customers an hour if only it could put a store in Mrs. Pineda’s field.
One major obstacle stood in Wal-Mart’s way.
After years of study, the town’s elected leaders had just approved a new zoning map. The leaders wanted to limit growth near the pyramids, and they considered the town’s main entrance too congested already. As a result, the 2003 zoning map prohibited commercial development on Mrs. Pineda’s field, seemingly dooming Wal-Mart’s hopes.
On October 4, 2012, Maya K’iche’ communities carried out a peaceful protest organized by the Alcaldía Indígena (Indigenous authority) of the 48 Cantones of Totonicapán, in the regions of Alaska, Xecanchavox and Cuatro Caminos in the highlands in Guatemala.
The protesters demanded:
- That the State work to scale back the most recent hikes in electricity costs;
- That the government take a holistic approach to national education reform;
- That the government reverse the trend toward militarization of civil society, reflected in the proposed constitutional reforms.
During the demonstration, Guatemalan Military and National Civil Police forces appeared at the protest and shot indiscriminately at the demonstrators, leaving 8 dead and over 35 people wounded.
With the pain of the recent genocide still fresh in the historic memory of indigenous communities, it is extremely concerning that acts of state violence are once again taking place in Guatemala against indigenous people who seek to exercise their legitimate rights to free speech and peaceful protest.
Go to GHRC webpage and sign a petition.