Mérida’s Carnaval parade, before the move to the fairgrounds. Photo: Getty

Mérida, Yucatán – Annual Carnaval celebrations moved from the Paseo de Montejo to distant fairgrounds in 2014, but the debate on its location rages on.

In a Chamber of Commerce Foro Democrático, two mayoral candidates seemed dissatisfied with having Carnaval take place in Xmatkuil, some 14 kilometers/9 miles south of the Paseo’s southernmost point, the Remate.

Since the 1970s, Carnaval was celebrated on the Paseo, but over time, the festivities got too unwieldy for many residents and business owners. Hotel managers in particular complained of noise and trash, as well as lost business. And the city appeared physically divided into two when getting from one side of the boulevard to the other proved cumbersome.

PRI candidate Victor Caballero Durán said would not commit to leaving the weeklong festival in the fairgrounds.

And Fernando Xacur, of Morena, suggested moving it to Avenida 128, west of the Centro and a more modern street.

Given Mérida’s economic and population growth in recent years and the challenge of finding solutions to keep it modern and competitive, the Canavy Servytur’s business leaders led the Democratic Forum.

The event was attended by the four candidates campaigning to preside over the Yucatecan capital: Renán Barrera Concha of PAN and Movimiento Ciudadano; Víctor Caballero Durán of the PRI, Nueva Alianza and Partido Verde; Jazmín López Manrique of the PRD and Fernando Xacur García, who represents a coalition of Morena, PT and Encuentro Social.

The PAN and the PRD candidates commented that they would leave the event in Xmatkuil, but further modernize it so that people are more motivated to attend.

But Caballero Durán affirmed that the fact that many Meridanos do not attend is because the festival has moved too far away.

Xacur suggested a compromise, allow just one day of Carnaval on the Paseo de Montejo, making it accessible without impacting local businesses as much.

Businesses in the Centro had complained that Carnaval made trade impossible, and left behind piles of garbage and vandalism.

The Chamber has challenged the candidates to commit themselves to 10 issues, including reducing illegal street vendors, improve Merida en Domingo and the Paseo de Montejo, and work with state government on public transportation.

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