Camilo evaluates Bogotá's mayors thru their tolerance - or lack of - of street vendors like himself. Now-suspended Mayor Samuel Moreno Rojas didn't bother enforcing public space (or other laws), earning him plaudits from the
vendors. His temporary replacement has been stricter, however, and while Camilo and I talked he ducked down a side street until some police walked past. The police sometimes confisticate Camilo's cart, together with his wares, which are worth 300,000 pesos, and don't always return them. Mayors Peñalosa and Mockus left bad memories for their campaigns against invaders of public space.
It sure seems to me that people like Camilo, who aren't noisy or dirty and don't competer with formal retailers, could be allowed to sell in areas where they don't block pedestrians. The city could create some sort of inexpensive licenses for street vendors who follow the rules. They, in turn, could then help restrict other, illegal vendors.
After all, Camilo has a wife and four children to support.
|Police gone, Camilo rolls back to Seventh Ave.|