Economic engine in Totonicapán
In the market of San Francisco, El Alto generates about 10 million Quetzales each week. This market has been considered as one of the largest in Central America.
The merchants of textiles, vegetables and fruits are placed in space inside the area assigned in the large plaza. In the parking area, the pet and farm animal sellers and food stalls, who satisfy the appetite of the early-rise vendors, are placed. At times walking through the narrow spaces becomes difficult and they have to be aware of merchants who pass hastily with tables and fixtures to expedite the installation of their stands.
The plaza became the largest (market) in the Antiplano (Highland) according to the historical records by the historian Félix McBryde in 1930. The historian Horacio Cabezas agrees that it is, without doubt, the largest (market) in Central America. “There is no other place that have this tradition, Guatemala’s own inherited from the Colonial era.”
Here, you can buy and sell everything from small hair accessories, clothing and televisions to goats, pigs and beasts of burden. Fridays are the main day, although there are other days that also have commercial activities. One of the strengths of this village of 61,656 inhabitants is the manufacturing and selling clothes; copies of renowned brands. In the plaza you can buy wholesale and retail T-shirts, pants and shirts. In any street stand sports T-shirts are also found with latest designs. According to the municipal authorities, on Fridays this place is flooded by about 150 thousand people coming from different parts of the country, to sell or buy any type of goods.
The mayor Diego González affirms that the economic movement generates every week in this place is 10 to 12 million Quetzales. It represents an average income for the Municipality of 40 thousand Quetzales, proceeds from the collection of revenue to the municipality, dues of plaza and usage of bathrooms.
Previously only the plaza took place on Fridays and started at 4:00 AM. These days are devoted to the exhibition of local textiles and surrounding municipalities. Fridays are for the traditional market. Now on Mondays the Plaza also are filled with specialized stands with raw materials: fabrics, accessories and wires for garments production.
In recent decades, the trade relations of some francisquenes (People who live in San Francisco are called ‘Francisquenes’) has expanded to such as imported goods from countries like China, India and Korea, and then they distribute their products throughout the region.
For our intermediate and advance level students, it will be a great practice for you to translate this in Spanish. The Spanish translation will be posted within a week.