PAPER FLORISTERS

Velásquez Guzmán Family

Ciudad de México

Juanita Guzmán Méndez

Margarita Guzmán González

In each location we observe the presence of women selling, but also men, brothers, children, nephews, employees, who are there fulfilling not only the task of sellers but also managers and cultural producers. In this sense, La Merced is constituted as a community where families, through several generations, are a nucleus for the organization of fair and solidary commerce. The task is arduous and complex not entirely achieved by the ravages of a voracious capitalism and without limits.

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Constatamos que La Merced sigue siendo un mercado con historia y prestigio, que fue en su momento uno de los más grandes de América Latina, surtido de una gran diversidad de productos, accesibles por su calidad y precio a todos los grupos sociales. Para otros el mercado está en crisis, con deterioro en su infraestructura y problemas de seguridad. Ante estas visiones encontradas, se justifica la idea de difundir la realidad de trabajo digno de La Merced, donde los oficios familiares tienen un papel predominante.

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The paper flower, a sign of diversity

In the case of the florist, the families interviewed have inhabited the market for many years, from the origin. With very variable ages and types of life, these families have members between 18 and 89 years old. The presence of older women stands out, while the youngest, many single women and professionals, resist that this trade is lost. His work is characterized by a life of intense work, seven days a week, which starts very early, around 6 in the morning and ends at midnight.

When listening to them, it is observed that they have developed multiple tasks, some within the market and others outside of it, showing an organized and lively division of labor, which allows them to learn each one of the steps of the trade, from the supply of the raw material to the creation, until the innovation and sale. Lives of continuous work, of sustained effort, in different places and tasks, in constant renovation, adapting to present fresh ideas, fulfilling the demands of the clients and the demand, that is, they must respond to the world and its constant changes.

In its origin, the florist marketed natural flowers. With the difficulty of keeping the flower fresh, plus the difficulty of access to water due to the growth of the market, the natural flower became expensive, making it very difficult to sell, thus, the first florists went to create them from paper, giving way to the creativity of an office that was born. The supply of flowers for altars, parties and ornaments of a popular type in Mexico City, was tinged with the color and beauty of flowers made of paper, mainly by women, founding something that is now tradition; same as it holds, although it faces some challenges.

Today, the main problem facing families as flowers, is the marketing of flowers made in machines that come mainly from China. An industry that confronts the craft process with plastic, having to reduce the cost and putting the paper flower in an unequal and unfair trade logic. This opens to these families the possibility of changing the line, announcing a possible loss of tradition. However, in this complex, almost labyrinthine place that is the La Merced market, women have decided to position themselves as leaders, not only of their families, but also in the organization of the market, defending their trades in the vortex of "cheap" and without quality. " Defending his art of making and being in the world: chopping paper and making flowers.

For all families, in particular the Velásquez Guzmán family, Mrs. Juanita Guzmán Méndez (93 years old) and her daughters: Carmen, María de los Ángeles, María Ester, who have been with this profession for five generations, with their children, the children of your children and your spouses, our thanks. Our enormous gratitude. When writing this text we are moved again as when we listen to their stories. We return to believe that solidarity between different people is possible and that we are not foreigners anywhere. From my relationship with Liliana, my respect and friendship, to teach me a new mimetic sense of what should not be lost, and to show me in the reflection of his lens something that is so mine and other Mexicans.

Bernardo Morales Vázquez

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