The New Year saw a dramatic increase in gasoline prices south of the border, with the government ordering gasoline prices raised to about four dollars, or what an average Mexican minimum wage worker earns in a day.
The result, as he have reported extensively, has been a wave of massive protests, looting, and violence.
But the protests, dubbed El Gasolinazo, have their roots in a deeper agenda art work in the government of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the most unpopular incumbent in recent history.
From Luis Rangel and Eva María, writing in Jacobin:
What’s happening right now in México is a result of an accumulation of offenses by the regime led by Peña Nieto. For one, Ayotzinapa (one of the thousands of cases of disappeared people, as is the case of Raquel Gutiérrez, the disappeared daughter of our comrade Guillermo Gutiérrez), as well as massacres such as that of Tlatlaya or Nochixtlán, and the seven femicides per day reported in our country that, for the most part, go with impunity.
Politically, Peña Nieto’s government has killed the constitution of 1917 (which came out of the revolution) and the Mexican state’s “social pact” that was created in the twentieth century.
Additionally, with the new energy reform, oil, until now under state control, has been newly sold to the transnational companies expropriated under Cárdenas. If we add to this the surreal cases of corruption, the mining concessions (at least 20 percent of the national territory), the invitation to Trump to come to México when he was just a presidential candidate (!), among other things, what we are seeing is not only the little credibility this government has, but also the deep crisis that the regime is facing as an “oligarchic-neoliberal” state which substituted the “Bonapartist sui generis” of the twentieth century.
Thus, “el Gasolinazo” isn’t a last drop in the bucket, but part of a climate of constant crisis and mass uprisings in México.
And massive protests continue throughout Mexico
The latest from teleSUR English:
Thousands of protesters from various organizations gathered Sunday in Mexico City’s main square to reject the increase in gasoline prices, which came into effect at the beginning of 2017, while similar protests took place in other parts of the country.
Shouting “Peña Out,” in reference to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and demanding “social justice,” thousands gathered at the Plaza de la Constitucion to denounce a double-digit spike in fuel prices known as the “gasolinazo” which is also set to raise the cost of basic food staples like tortillas by up to 20 percent.
Other groups of protesters gathered in front of the National Palace as well as other government buildings in the city to protest against the measure. No official figures were available but EFE news agency reported that at least 7,500 people were at the main square.
Another large mobilization took place in Guadalajara, the capital of the western state of Jalisco, where some 10,000 people from local unions, nongovernmental organizations and civil society groups walked the main streets of the city in rejection of the government’s economic policies.
Protests also took place in Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco state, Morelos state capital Cuernavaca and Sinaloa’s capital, Culiacan. The large nationwide demonstrations united around the demand of calling for the resignation of the president and rolling back hikes in fuel prices.
Peña Nieto’s government hiked gasoline prices by 20 percent on the first day of 2017, insisting that the move corresponds to international prices and is not a result of his neoliberal reforms.