Saturday, October 16, 2004

News: Wal-Mart vs. the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon

(submitted by Brian McKenna)


A Retail Mall at Teotihuacan?
Wal-Mart vs. the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon


The showdown is rife with symbolism. Wal-Mart's expansion plans in Mexico have brought about a modern-day clash of passions and principles on the site of one the earth's first great civilizations.

Several months ago Wal-Mart, the world's largest retail chain, quietly began construction on a new store north of Mexico City. To many, it's just another step in the phenomenal takeover of Mexico's retail sector. But to others, it's stepping on the cultural foundations of the country. Excavation for the new store started just several thousand meters from the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, the crowning structures of the ancient city of Teotihuacan.


Opposition to the store is led by a diverse group of local merchants, artists, actors, academics, and indigenous organizations that protest damage to Mexico's rich cultural heritage. Through ceremonies, hunger strikes, demonstrations, and press coverage the movement to defend the site has kept the conflict in the public eye and heightened the public-opinion costs to the transnational. Opponents have taken their concerns to the Mexican Congress and UNESCO.