Authorities in the wealthy Mexico City neighborhoods of Polanco and Granadas are taking heat on social media after they confiscated 140 tricycles belonging to street vendors and marked them for destruction — some still containing their wares.
The backlash began after Hegel Cortés Miranda, general director of government and judicial matters in the borough of Miguel Hidalgo,which includes Polanco and Granadas, posted a photo on the government’s Twitter account of the 140 bikes in a city warehouse. In the post, he said the confiscated bikes would be destroyed.
Twitter users immediately began firing off negative responses, accusing authorities of depriving many people of their means of income, pointing out that many of the tricycles in the photo still contained baskets of bread, trays of food, and coffee thermoses belonging to their owners. Other commenters said the tricycles were private property and should be returned to their rightful owners and that the mobile vendors have less ecological impact, use less electricity, and cause less traffic than fixed vendor stalls, which were not targeted.
Some accused the borough of trying to “clean up” a wealthy district considered exclusive, saying the mass seizure was evidence that Mexico City authorities’ priorities were off kilter.
“What problems need to be urgently resolved in CDMX?” Twitter user @JimenaMarroquín wrote in response to Cortés’s post. “Crime? Rape? Lack of jobs? Lack of water in several neighborhoods? Mmmm, no, I think 140 commercial street vendor tricycles need to be taken out of Polanco because they look ugly in that area.”
“It is, in the end, what’s important to [government officials] is that Polanco looks pretty so that the people with money don’t complain, and as for the poor people, let them die of hunger,” Twitter user Samuel Álvarez wrote.
Said another: “Sales by bicycle or tricycle are not prohibited … the tricycles should not be confiscated, they should be returned to their owners.”
The borough is currently undergoing a multilayered public works facelift, with millions of pesos being invested in 89 neighborhoods, according to chief executive Víctor Hugo Romo, to improve and beautify infrastructure, green spaces, and public landmarks. Last month the Glorieta Polanco, a picturesque roundabout off Edgar Allan Poe and Horacio streets, was renovated at a cost of 7 million pesos. In June, in the Ampliación Daniel Garza neighborhood, government funds paid for a new, large mural paying tribute to medical personnel.
In light of the high number of comments the tweet attracted, Cortés said the fate of the tricycles would be determined in line with administrative procedure. He stressed that the administration was sensitive and respectful of the social and economic reality of city residents.
Sources: Milenio (sp)