Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fruit and Vegetable Carts: Progress or Regression? / Rebeca Monzo

Fruit and Vegetable Carts: Progress or Regression? / Rebeca Monzo
Rebeca Monzo, Translator: Unstated

For the last few months, since the new apertures from the government,
the city has been filled with carts selling various agricultural
products. They differ from the existing agricultural markets, precisely
because of the variety and presentation offered. Many people have called
this progress but it is, in my humble opinion, quite the opposite.

It is true that they are solving a problem of the people, and they are
themselves opting for a job that until now was practically underground,
and which was almost lost — street vendor – which allows them to be
self-employed and to make a living for them and their families. What's
more, in most cases these are young men and even women who did not
continue their studies, perhaps due to lack of support.

This profession of peddling with carts flourished in the forties, but
already by the early fifties, due to social progress, it was
disappearing, giving way to establishments where what was offered was
more stable and pleasant, with all these agricultural products both
local fruits and imported. What we have now is that the former stores of
this type are closed and vacant, and in their doorways, without any kind
of hygiene, piled up in old dirty drawers, are the products, leaving the
sidewalks and streets full of their red dirt, once they've finished
selling, making the city even dirtier than it already is.

With the emergence and proliferation of supermarkets, these carts
disappeared permanently from the big city, and were found only in some
neighborhoods on the outskirts, but in smaller numbers.

Now, in the 21st century, in 2012, they are resurfacing as on Fenix
Street. Most people consider it an achievement, as they see agricultural
products and some fruits reappearing, clean and well presented, with
better quality and prices than in state shops, where they sell them with
soil, roots and leaves included, and where you have to be alert not to
be fooled by the prices, because the weight includes all of the above
waste.On the one hand, it is nice to see this new activity reappear, but
on the other hand it is a sad fact that all the young labor force that
could be working in a large and pleasant supermarket, with good working
conditions, as required by progress, rather than having to push these
carts from sunrise to sunset in different neighborhoods, and to endure
nasty comments from some retrograde or official-like people, who tend to
criticize, not realizing that they too are part of the same suffering
people, and they are trying to defend a system that has only made us all

It is said that soon the authorities will prohibit all this once again.
Is there any foundation in that? Because they enrich and offer products
that do not exist in the state agricultural markets. If it were not so
tragic, it would be laughable. The real reason for their possible
elimination is that every day, they are a public demonstration of the
government's inability to solve the most pressing problems.

February 26 2012

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