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News > Mexico

Mexico: Oaxacans Protest Chain Stores in 'Traditional' City

  • An OXXO, a convenient store operating in Mexico, storefront

    An OXXO, a convenient store operating in Mexico, storefront | Photo: OXXO

Published 24 February 2019

The Mexican city's historic center is protected by Unesco and protesters want to know why so many of the chain convenience store are being constructed there. 

Activists in Oaxaca blocked streets in front of the an elementary school to protest the proposed plan to construct another OXXO convenience store in the city, this time in front of the education center.

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The anti-OXXO protesters set up in front of the Heroes de Nacozari school and blocked traffic demanding that yet another of the Mexico-based  OXXO convenience store franchises does not open its doors in front of the primary school.

Artist Arnoldo Damaso is said to have led the Saturday effort saying that the chain stores "severely" affect the Oaxacan economy since they will generate unfair competition for small businesses in the sector.  

Protesting parents say that OXXOs are the site of many robberies and they don’t want their kids being tempted to buy cigarettes and alcohol available at the small stores.

There are currently around 20 OXXOs in Oaxaca currently, most of which were constructed in the past two years alone, according to Damaso. At least five are located within the city’s Unesco World Heritage historic center. The demonstrators are demanding that city hall, which approved the petition to construct the convenience stores, sign a letter of commitment to review the current permits.  

The proliferation of the stores has angered local businesses and neighbors who say that the local economy has been negatively affected, but also the traditional and colonial environment of the neighborhoods of the Oaxacan capital that is highly dependent on tourism.

Municipal president of Oaxaca Osvaldo Garcia, denied that his administration has given the go-ahead to license permits to build new OXXO stores and promised to review all existing permits.

This isn't the first major chain that Oaxacans have protested the building of in the historic city in southern Mexico. In 2002, residents there managed to prevent the U.S.-based McDonald's fast food chain from opening a restaurant in front of the zocalo, or main square, located in the historic center. 

OXXOs also operate in the U.S., Colombia, Chile and Peru.

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