Cuenca’s decision to crack down on unlicensed street and bus vendors is meeting resistance.
Last Wednesday, about 70 vendors protested in Parque Calderon, claiming that their livelihood is being threatened. On Thursday, another protest was held on the Plaza Otorongo escalinata.
Fruit vendor Vanessa Bonilla told the group at Otorongo that she will not be able to support her children if she is not allowed to sell on the street. “This is how I make my living and it is the way that my mother and father made their living. Why are the rules changed now.”
Dario Tapia, director of the city’s public transport authority, claims that 75% of bus riders opposed allowing vendors on buses. “We have to respect the people’s opinion,” he said. He also says that some vendors are simply thieves disguised as vendors.
One solution proposed by Mayor Paúl Granda’s office is to establish a process through which informal vendors can become licensed. A group of vendors and city officials continue to meet to dicsuss the idea.