After recent vigorous attempts by the Buenos Aires police to clear the immediate surroundings of the Once train station of more than 2,000 vendors (manteros) were met with equal force and chaos, it seems the two parties have attempted to come to a much-needed agreement.
Well, only some of them — but it’s a start.
The main objective held by authorities going into this agreement is to attempt to legalize the sales activity in the area as much as possible along with eliminating competition from illegal trade.
For this to happen, the vendors would have to abide by a series of terms, including: registering to a census of government-regulated street vendors, a sixty day training course, along with a AR $11,700 monthly subsidy during the courses (provided by the Confederation of Medium-sized Companies or CAME) while also confining their activities to an allocated area, 200 metres from Plaza Miserere. As a result of this, vendors this morning lifted the blockade on Pueyrredón avenue, which had began two days ago following police’s attempts to forcefully remove them.
Given the scenes witnessed at noon on Monday – with rocks, tear gas and rubber bullets being continuously exchanged – it perhaps comes as no surprise that it is only a minority who have considered this agreement. Another reason for their refusal would be the fact that, should they register, they would have to start paying taxes, and some are reluctant to.
The group in question is made up of predominantly vendors situated on avenida Pueyrredón and Bartolomé Mitre – headed by Rodrigo Lucas Julián Váldez, better known as ‘El Chipi’. The most recent meeting between ‘El Chipi’ and government representatives allegedly lasted more than three hours, however, it appears the outcome was positive.
In total, only 400 vendors have agreed to register themselves to the census, and officials are working to provide IDs to those without along with other incentives like offering to set up bank accounts in an attempt to bump up these figures.
In the meantime, the discussion continues and a final answer from this group will be revealed after the verdict comes out from the vendor’s assembly situated on Pueyrredón.