QCOSTARICA – Dubbed a “first world” highway, the 50 kilometre section of the Ruta 1 from Cañas – Liberia, is home to some 20 roadside fruit vendors, some of whom have more than a decade selling fruit on the side of this Guanacaste road, earning their living from the sale of sandía (watermelon), piña (pineapple) and pipa (coconut water).
Now the vendors had 15 days to move or be moved.
“I have 15 years on this spot, now they make a decision like this. I have no other source of income, I depend on this to maintain my family because I did not study (go to school),” Elezander Espinoza, the first to be notified on Wednesday by theMinisterio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT), told La Nacion.
According to the roadside vendor, yeas ago they wanted them out, but appeals allowed them to stay.
The other 19 vendors on both sides of the road between Bagaces and Liberia, who earn between ¢10.000 and ¢20.000 colones daily, must also vacate.
Two weeks ago the vendors were given notice, most stood in place, is forcing authorities to take drastic action.
“If they don’t go we will have to use chain saws and trucks to remove the structures and will be fined ¢418.401,” said Alvaro Rojas, head of road inspections and demolitions.
Vargas added that the right of way, where no obstructions are permitted, is 25 metres on each side of the road.
The reaction by most was peaceful. Some told La Nacion they will abide by the order.
“Best is to sell everything and not come back,” said Rafael Angel Zamora, who has been selling on the side of the road for the last three years.
Zamora, who left Heredia in search of job in Guanacaste, turned to raodside selling when he couldn’t find work. Currently he lives in the ‘rancho’ where he sells from and has in stock some 2,000 sandías and 700 pipas.
“I wanted to get a license and sell here legally, but it was not possible,” said Zamora.