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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Mexican wrath over Wal-Mart store
A view looking towards the Moon pyramid, BBC
The Wal-Mart store will be finished by December
Mexican writers and artists have joined a campaign to stop the US retailer, Wal-Mart, from opening a store near the famous ruins of Teotihuacan.

In an open letter to President Vicente Fox, the group says the store should be built further away from the ruins.

Those who signed the letter include painter Francisco Toledo and novelist Laura Esquivel.

Correspondents say as the store is almost complete, the campaign is unlikely to succeed.

"Teotihuacan is for Mexicans our greatest cultural heritage, an expression of our history and our identity as a people and nation," the writers and artists said in the letter.

The president's office had no immediate comment.

Parking-lot memorial

The discount store, scheduled to open by December, is located a bit over half a mile (one kilometre) from a tourist park housing the 2,000-year-old ruins which is a designated United Nations World Heritage Site.

There are a lot of other smaller businesses in the area.

Wal-Mart has legal permission to build the store, while the national anthropology institute that oversees the ruins says the building poses no threat.

But local protestors say the discount store will spoil the site, kill small enterprise and change the way of life in the area.

We're afraid it would open the door to more development ... McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken
Mr Aridjis, writer and activist
Three of them spent a week on a hunger strike in protest.

"We're afraid it would open the door to more development ... McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken," said the novelist, poet and activist Homero Aridjis.

Job hopes?

Activists in the US have sometimes campaigned successfully to prevent Wal-Mart stores from being built.

Some people, however, are looking forward to the low prices the store and employment the store will bring.

No one is certain who founded the pyramids which are thought to have been abandoned around AD 600.

The Aztecs later came upon it and named it Teotihuacan - The Place Where Men Become Gods.

A small altar unearthed during the construction of the Wal-Mart store will be preserved in its parking lot.

Physicists probe ancient pyramid
13 May 04 |  Science/Nature


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