Mayor sends dissident vendors packing

Chapala Mayor Javier Degollado this week thumbed his nose at a group of local vendors who are calling for the ouster of Leticia Martinez Castro, head of the municipality’s Dirección de Mercados.

Her detractors held a protest march Friday, March 4, leading to a two-hour blockade at Chapala’s main intersection.

In the mayor’s absence that day, several high echelon municipal officials intervened, convincing the protestors to withdraw, with a promise of a meeting with Degollado to address their grievances.

Prior to her appointment to the government post, Martinez acted as the leader of one sector of merchants operating in Chapala’s waterfront tourist zone. That appears to be the basis for complaints of a conflict of interest, prompting her supposed preferential treatment for some vendors and despotic conduct towards others. 

When Degollado finally gave an audience to the protestors on Wednesday, an hour and half behind schedule, he bluntly refused their request to dismiss the markets chief, arguing they lacked sufficient grounds.  

Regarding gripes about a steep increase in permit fees for street vendors, the mayor explained that the rates are determined under the municipality’s current Ley de Ingresos (income law).