City Postpones Eviction Of Curbside Vendors

June 18, 2004

STREET vendors in downtown SanJosé have been given one more weekendbefore they must pack up their fruits andvegetables, backpacks and shoelaces andtake down their stands in accordance withan order from city officials.Although the deadline for the movewas today, formal shopkeepers in theaffected areas requested that the evictionbe postponed until after June 20, so thatFather’s Day shopping would not beaffected by any disturbance that mightoccur.“We don’t know how (the street vendors)are going to react. We hope peacefully,but we don’t know,” said San JoséMunicipality spokeswoman CarmenAzofeifa.The Municipal Council voted unanimouslyin March to give informal vendorsthree months to clear away their chinamos(street stands) from certain areas of SanJosé (TT, March 26).San José Mayor Johnny Arayaaccused the vendors of spreading “chaosand anarchy” on the streets near theCentral Market. He said they leave littleroom for pedestrians, produce largeamounts of garbage, facilitate the sale ofdrugs and give San José a bad image.In 1996, city officials gave the vendorstemporary permission to operate inan area called the Zona de Tregua (Zoneof Truce) – along Ave. 1 from the CentralMarket to the Coca Cola bus station,Calle 8 from Ave. 2 to Ave. 8, small sectionsof Ave. 4 and Ave. 6 and one blockon Calle 13.The approximately 440 vendors inthese areas are to be forcibly removed bythe police if they do not follow the evictionorder, according to the council’s decision.After the announcement, the CostaRican Association of Street Vendors saidit would file a complaint before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.However, the decision has not beenreversed.Vendors told The Tico Times theydepend on the work for their survival.

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