Friday, December 1, 2023

‘How shall we live, what are we going to eat?’

Mexican street corn is a humble delicacy for the country’s citizens and visitors, who delight in the boiled corn cobs, slathered in mayonnaise, lime and chile.

But corn vendors, who have taken an especially hard hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, are now asking the government for help.

In Xochimilco, vendor Agustina says sales are not even coming close to covering costs. “We sell 20, 25 ears of corn, do you think that is enough? When is it going to compare to what we sold before, our two little buckets full?”

Agustina’s husband is an unemployed farmworker, and she is the mother of 11 children. Hers is a hand-to-mouth existence that is no longer viable.

She and around 30 other self-employed merchants, many of whom usually work at sporting events and concerts, took their cases to the National Palace, the doorstep of President López Obrador, asking for financial support. 

They were told they needed to make their request in writing, including a list of names of people who no longer had work, so they did just that, hoping for some relief.

“We found out on the news that the president is going to give support to small merchants and that is why we came . . .” said Roberto Tintor.

While only 30 turned up at the National Palace, an estimated 250 people are out of work, said a beer vendor who works in the Foro Sol stadium in Mexico City.

But hope and despair sometimes come hand in hand.

“Supposedly right now phase three is coming and nobody, not even any merchant, will be able to be outside, so what are we going to live on? What are we going to eat?” said Agustina.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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