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Crackdown targets street vendors on Facebook, WhatsApp

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The historic walkway between the Mérida Cathedral and the Macay museum. Photo: Sipse

Mérida, Yucatán — Street vendors are advertising on social media to attract customers, and police have developed a task force to stop them.

Officials are concerned that parks and public thoroughfares, like the historic walkway between the Cathedral and the Macay museum, are being used for commerce rather than for pleasure.

The vendors advertise on Facebook and WhatsApp, selling anything from back-to-school supplies and clothing to shoes and electronics.

The current daily crackdown, which began in January, also focuses on parks such as San Juan’s, to prevent “informal sellers” from turning them into open-air bazaars. A group of women at Parque San Juan, nicknamed “las tianguistas,” had overtaken benches there to sell clothes.

Another group of unauthorized vendors, selling vegetables and fruits, were halted at dawn one morning.

Concerned that visitors are harassed, and that underground trade competes with tax-paying merchants, four teams of inspectors roam tourist corridors of Calle 60 and 62, Santa Ana and Santa Lucia parks, and the Paseo de Montejo, among other public spaces.

Police have also confiscated vendors’ tables, chairs and umbrellas which crowd sidewalks and other public spaces.

Sources: Sipse, Diario de Yucatán

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