San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Court Upholds Eviction Of Street Vendors

THE hundreds of vendors hawkingeverything from fruit to socks who linethe streets of San José, near the MercadoCentral, must pack up their goods and go,an administrative appeals court has determined.The more than 400 vendors originallyfaced eviction in June, following a decisionby the San José Municipal Council inMarch to end the unofficial vending.However, the eviction was postponed byseveral petitions filed by vendors’ associationswith the Goicoechea AdministrativeAppeals Court, which resolves disputesbetween the government and individuals(TT, June 25).With the final decision on theseappeals made last week – all siding withthe municipality – San José officials arenow determining the date the vendors willhave to leave.Rafael Arias, an advisor to San JoséMayor Johnny Araya, told the daily LaNación that possibly in December thestreets near the Mercado Central will befree of street vendors.In 1996, officials gave the vendorstemporary permission to operate in theZona de Tregua (Zone of Truce) – whichspans Ave. 1 from the Central Market tothe Coca Cola bus stops, Calle 8 fromAve. 2 to Ave. 8, small sections of Ave. 4and Ave. 6 and one block on Calle 13.When the decision to end the permissionwas made in March, Araya said thevendors spread “chaos and anarchy” inthe streets, block public access on sidewalks,and give San José a bad image(TT, March 26).Sidewalks crowded with shoppers andstands facilitates robberies, day and night,agreed Public Security Minister RogelioRamos (TT, June 25).The vendors have in the past filedinjunctions with the ConstitutionalChamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV).However, those also have been rejectedon the grounds that the municipality isresponsible for the regulation of publicspace and nobody has the sole right tothat space.

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