by Maya del Mar
In 1984-85 I lived with Crystal in Colonia Chimalistac, a small, charming neighborhood in Mexico City. We shopped in the shopping center behind usfor food at Aurrera, clothes at Suburbia, and sometimes for meals at Vips. Those stores, and thousands of others, are now owned by Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart owns about a thousand super stores (and in Mexico, everything is large scalesuper means mega. I get lost in Mexican stores.) in more than 70 citiesunder the logos of Wal-Mart, Bodega Aurrera, Superama, Sams Club, Suburbia, Vips, and others. Mexicans shop there because the prices are comparatively low, with many of the goods from China. The workers, all non-union of course, earn an average of U.S. $1.20/hour.
Wal-Mart includes groceries in their stores, and along with the food supermarkets which they now own, Wal-Mart accounts for 80% of the food sales in Mexico. For the most part, this is food that is shipped in from other countries. This is not good for Mexico, which not too long ago grew all its own food.
Wal-Mart is the biggest employer in the U.S. It is also Mexicos biggest job generator, providing over 100,000 jobs.
This mushrooming has all occurred in the decade since NAFTA went into effect in January 1994. (The Zapatista uprising occurred at that exact time, as a protest against NAFTA.) At that time, Saturn and Pluto squared one another in Aquarius and Scorpio, a turning point in a 36-year cycle which involved heavy transformation of structure, power and resources. This happens to be Lopez Obradors Moon and Sun signs! We have about 15 years in which to complete this cycle. And obviously Mexico has a very large part to play in its development.
A few miles outside of Mexico City are the grand and well-preserved pre-Aztec ruins of the city of Teotihuacan, including the majestic pyramids at either end of a long promenade, called the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon.
Now, next to this sacred site, and dominating the view of anyone who climbs a pyramid, is a huge Wal-Mart store. A protest movement grew quickly when the public first knew about it, but the building was already well started. Obviously collusion by the National Historical society and the local government (PRI-run) had allowed it. Now the public enjoys their cheap, well-stocked store.
But Mexico is an old civilization, with a very strong quality of endurance, like the earth. As John Ross reminds us, when the Europeans came, they pulled down most of the temples, but the majestic pyramids of Teotihuacan remained. And they will remain long after all the Wal-Marts in Mexico crumble into dust.