Puebla is one of Mexico's most picturesque cities. A United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, the city's historic center boasts an elegant sixteenth-century urban grid and some of the Western Hemisphere's finest baroque architecture. Sandra Mendiola García's new book tells the story of the men and women who once made their living on those now pristine streets. The book centers on the Unión Popular de Vendedores Ambulantes (UPVA), a grassroots organization of street vendors founded in 1973 that grew into the nation's largest independent union, counting more than 10,000 members at its height in the mid-1980s. Mendiola García argues that the UPVA built a democratic labor movement that has endured for over 40 years, maintaining its autonomy from Mexico's ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and surviving the country's transition from corporatist to neoliberal rule. Key to the...

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