The association representing the merchants of the renovated San Francisco Plaza hopes to meet this week with Cuenca Mayor Pedro Palacios to discuss what they describe as the “deteriorating” situation at the plaza.
“The old city government did not follow through on its promises to provide an attractive space for the vendors,” says Carlos Diaz, a vendor and representative of the merchants association. “The structures the city gave us are leaking and do not protect us against thieves. Where are the police we were promised? Where are the bathrooms? Mayor Cabrera let us down and now our only hope is with the new government.”
Several vendors say that lack of security in the plaza had led to theft of merchandise when the sales kiosks are closed at night. “We were told that the there would be citizen guards in the plaza 24 hours a day like there are in Parque de la Madre but most nights there are none,” says vendor Alex Merana. “The seller next to me lost $300 in clothing two weeks ago.”
Another complaint is that vagrants are using the perimeter of the plaza as a bathroom. “This was a problem with the old plaza and it kept customers away,” says Diaz. “We were told that this would end with the new design but without bathrooms and police the problem has returned.”
Complaints about the structural quality and security of the sales kiosks have been voiced by a majority of the plaza vendor, Diaz says. “Many of them have leaks that we have been fixing ourselves,” he says. “There is also insufficient overhang to protect our products from the sun and some vendors are putting up plastic tarps to provide cover.”
Other issues the vendors hope to discuss with the new government is the lack of control of informal food sales carts and rent collection.