In the central canton of San José there are more than 6 thousand people working informally on boulevards, streets and sidewalks. People with little schooling, without work and desperate for lack of opportunities have no choice but to find a way to make a living on the streets of the capital.
According to the San José Municipal Police, 12,000 interventions are carried out annually by officers; a situation that according to one of its members, can become dangerous in many aspects.
“We confiscate clothes, boots, leather goods, among others. But, the issue of food can be very dangerous. On the street, bread, vegetables, legumes and fruits are sold and nothing is handled in a sanitary manner or by someone who with training in food handling, ”said Berny Saénz, San José municipal police.
Due to the sale of these foods, the Municipal Police of San José confiscates and destroys perishable products. Unlike articles of clothing, electronic and others, which must be transferred to an administrative court.
On the other hand, street vendors state that there is no other way out but to sell their products on the street. They indicate that unemployment, their age and immigration status, makes their economic situation difficult.
“There is no job and less will be for an old man like me. There are many young people with studies, and they don’t get a job either. Imagine that I am old! I have to seek to support my family. Street sales are necessary to get ahead, ”said Juan Bravo, seller.
The situation also attacks people who migrate to Costa Rica in search of a better quality of life. A Guatemalan refugee referred to the country as a “different and special” place unlike Central America.
“In Guatemala, I and my family were threatened with death. They beat me . We moved to other countries but we could not stay in them. Instead here in Costa Rica we have been able to get ahead. The people here are good and kind. And the only possibility we have is street sales to get ahead, ”said Noé Osorio, a Guatemalan street vendor.