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Wal-Mart in Mexico draws fire

  |   Sept. 28, 2004 at 11:29 AM
SAN JUAN DE TEOTIHUACAN, Mexico, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Wal-Mart's expansion plans in Mexico have sparked the same kind of local opposition the giant discounter has long faced in the United States.

Bodega Aurrera, a unit of Wal-Mart of Mexico, is building a 71,902 square-foot cinder block superstore with 236 parking spaces about a mile from one of the nation's premier archeological sites, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Among the nearby treasured ruins are a complex of pyramids and other structures built between the fifth and ninth centuries and later called by the Aztecs "the place where men became gods."

Residents as well as archeologists are livid that Mexican authorities consented to Wal-Mart's plans.

"What's next?" asked David Garcia, 27, whose family owns a dry-goods store in the nearby market. "It's like having Mickey Mouse on the top of the Pyramid of the Moon."

People like Garcia accuse the town, the state and the federal Institute of Anthropology and History of corruption.

Raul Arguelles, a Wal-Mart spokesman, says the company's only motive for building a store is to bring lower prices for basic goods to consumers. People here now have to trek 30 miles to the nearest hypermarket and pay higher prices in the old-fashioned market, he said.

© 2004 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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