|English | Español||April 24, 2014 | Issue #67|
Walmart Corporation Defeated by Two Movements in Mexico
“The victories are a reminder that citizens united can beat the world's largest retail corporation.”
Movement against the Tlaltenango Walmart.
DR 2010 Photo courtesy of Francesco Taboada Tabone.
With the intentions of the US corporation, residents of the area in Cuernavaca and environmental groups rallied for 16 consecutive Saturdays in the square where they tried to build the store, as well as at other corporate stores nearby. The movement began to gain notoriety among the inhabitants of the region to disseminate the serious impact that the megastore would have on the area. Last October 8, almost unanimously by the mobilization of neighbors, the town council of Cuernavaca approved the purchase of two lots where Walmart sought to build the store. The decision was seen as a triumph of neighborhood organization, and according to a statement from the residents, “the acquisition…in the traditional urban village Tlaltenango is destined to be created into an environment-friendly public park and cultural center. ”
Members of the Movement against the Tlaltenango Walmart. Francesco Taboada Tabone (center).
DR 2010 Photo courtesy of Taboada Tabone.
About 80 kilometers north of the Tlaltenango roundabout, Walmart tried to build five stores in popular neighborhoods in the Magdalena Contreras delegation in Mexico City. Residents of the San Nicolás Totolopan, La Cruz, and San Bernabé neighborhoods located in the same delegation—with the solidarity and support from La Malinche and the Broad Front Against the Western Superhighway—have mobilized since this summer against the construction of the megastores. The construction project of the five stores has been stopped by the same mobilizations.
In August the affected neighbors closed a side road to Periférico in Mexico City due to the lack of response from Magdalena Contreras delegation chief Eduardo Hernández. Since then the mobilizations were constant, to the point that on Tuesday October 12, residents of the region and members of the Front moved into the area to demand the cancellation of the Walmart projects. The mobilization was sucessful and the construction of the stores has been stopped. The areas where the megastores were to be constructed are located near local traditional markets. As in Tlaltenango, the imposition of these projects do not have the acceptance of the local people.
Similarly, the location of these megastores is in the area influenced by the Western Superhighway project. Said project, imposed by Mexico City mayor Marcelo Ebrard without support from the citizens, has been paralyzed by the mobilization of residents in the La Malinche neighborhood with the Front. Since July 26, neighbors have held a sit-in in the zone to stop the construction machines from entering the area and destroying the neighborhood, an important environmental area of Mexico City with a forest. The construction of these five megastores demonstrates to area residents that the superhighway project is for real estate in the area and is not only a highway project, but is also a gentrification project.
Added to this, according to Walmart’s corporate website, two brothers of the Mexico City mayor have key management positions in the corporation. Alberto Ebrard Casaubon, 48, is listed as the vice president of Bodega Aurrera, a store with the Walmart de Mexico corporation. Eugenio Ebrard Casaubon, 42, serves as the vice president of marketing for Walmart Mexico.
The construction of these multinational megastore projects has been achieved with the complicity of the local authorities. However, these corporations have come across a strong resistance from residents in many parts of the country. In both cases refereed to here, it was the mobilization of these residents and merchants who would be affected who succeeded in stopping the unpopular commercial megaprojects. They show that, in the words of Norman, “the victories in Cuernavaca and Mexico City are just a reminder that citizens united can beat the world’s largest retail corporation.”
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism