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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Prominent speakers add credence to anti-noise campaign

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our top headlines will appear in your inbox each Monday and Thursday.

Frustrated by rogue night spots, local home and business owners make their case to the media. Photo: Lee Steele

Mérida, Yucatán — A press conference on Wednesday brought out reporters from most major local media, bringing awareness to a growing campaign against illegal and excessive after-hours nightclub noise in the Centro.

By Thursday, most newspapers carried photos and headlines that laid out the case made by an emerging protest group called Todos Somos Mérida.

Under a banner that quoted none other than Benito Juarez, the press conference countered an astonishing false narrative and a series of taunts.

One widely shared meme colors the conflict as generational, angry that the city would hand noise regulations on a platter to a group of baby boomers, who think “only of sleep.”

“We will keep on making noise, as you call it,” the Facebook meme declares.

But the speakers at the meeting were all Spanish-speaking residents and business people who demanded that current on-the-book regulations be enforced for the health and welfare of the city’s citizens.

“Between individuals, as between nations, respect for the rights of others is peace,” read the banner quoting a beloved Mexican leader whose birthday was observed on Monday.

Speaking one at a time for more than an hour, residents bemoaned a lack of respect from both the nightclubs and city authorities.

It is because of “the anguish of having our lives affected by noise, by excessive volume, invading public space, a space in which we all have equal rights,” said Olga Moguel Pereyra, owner of Amaro restaurant.

The conflict mischaracterized, some speakers emphasized the breadth of the movement.

“We are not a few idle gringos, but thousands of Yucatecans, Mexicans and foreigners of different nationalities who live, work and give jobs, rescue, reforest; we are participants in community life,” she added.

She and other speakers called on the merchants to respect the common good and be socially responsible.

Wendy Mendoza Buenfil, who throughout her life has lived in the Santa Lucia neighborhood, gave her testimony of how noise affects her family. She is the mother of two children including a 7-year-old with autism spectrum disorder.

“We are inhabitants of here and I think we deserve respect for our house, our family,” she said.

Marisol Méndez, general manager of the Hotel Del Gobernador — where tourists expect a good night’s sleep — suggested soundproofing to allow nightclubs to continue attracting young people to the Centro without driving out others.

“We are not against having a party or that people have fun, but against having fun that causes me to lose sleep or that causes my granddaughter of two years to lose sleep,” said Teresa Loret de Mola, another neighbor.

One resident handed out more protest banners, which have appeared on various facades throughout the Centro. Some of these banners are appearing alongside properties for sale, further pressuring the city to reach a resolution.

Since the outcry, the city health department has indeed been cracking down on night spots, but citing safety regulations, not noise violations.

Coverage of the meeting appeared in several local news outlets:

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