MEXICO: Wal-Mart opens near pyramids

Randy Black forwards this item from the BBC: "Approved by the UN, France and Mexico’s anthropology institute Shoppers rush to pyramid Wal-Mart"
Bargain-hungry Mexican shoppers have flocked to a new Wal-Mart supermarket that environmentalists claim will threaten one of the nation's treasures. Around 200 shoppers queued for hours to be the first to enter the store, which is half a mile from the ancient Mexican pyramids at Teotihuacán.

"People need the well-being of their families more than culture," said one.

Environmental groups had argued that the store was too close to the ruins and would erode the local way of life. While the Wal-Mart store was overflowing with shoppers on its opening day, a handful of local opponents kept a vigil outside the 2,000-year-old Teotihuacán pyramids. They pledged to continue a protest that has drawn international attention and prompted a national debate.

Buffer zone: "It's like planting the staff of globalization in the heart of ancient Mexico," said Homero Aridjis, a writer and environmentalist who led a national drive to block the store. "It is supremely symbolic."  Mexico's National Anthropology Institute that oversees the ruins - located outside Mexico City - has said that the store poses no threat. The United Nations and the Paris-based International Council on Monuments and Sites also "signed-off" the store. It is located in a buffer zone that is part of the archaeological site, but where hundreds of other, mainly smaller businesses have sprouted in the past decade or more.


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last updated: December 5, 2004