The people of Mexico are pissed and they are letting their voices be heard. On the weekend of January 2nd and 3rd, the Mexican government deregulated gas, resulting in a 20 percent price hike that has left thousands of Mexicans taking to the streets in protest. There has been looting, highway blockades and calls for President Enrique Peña Nieto to resign over what is being called the “gasolinazo.” Here’s what’s been going down.
The Mexican people are not happy with the recent increase in gas prices.
The recent deregulation of gas led to an increase in gas prices from about 15 pesos (about $0.69 USD) per liter to almost 18 pesos (about $0.83) per liter. This spike has left thousands of Mexicans upset since the minimum wage is only 80 pesos (about $3.68USD). That includes a recent 10 percent increase to the minimum wage.
Despite the minimum wage increase, the 20 percent gas price hike has Mexicans worried about the cost of everyday living.
“It’s not because we all have cars. When gasoline prices go up, everything else goes up: tortillas, public transportation, everything,” Héctor Pérez, a sales manager with an insurance company that was not named, told The Guardian about his participation in the protests.
The increased gas prices have strained the already eroding relationship between the Mexican people and President Enrique Peña Nieto.
The protests will no doubt have a negative impact on President Enrique Peña Nieto’s already plummeting approval rating, which has reached an abysmal 25 percent. Among the gasolinazo protests are increasing demands and pressure for President Peña Nieto to resign.
To make matters worse, the gas hike comes at a time when the Mexican peso’s value against the U.S. dollar continues to drop.
According to NPR, after a drastic nosedive in value following Trump’s win, the peso saw an even further devaluation after Ford announced that they would not be opening a factory in Mexico.
Protesters are blocking traffic on highways to protest gas prices on a large scale.
As the protests continue, they have become increasingly violent, leading to looting and damage of private property.
Police and citizens are battling with each other. This motorist rammed his truck into a crowd of police officers.
According to TeleSUR, 1,500 people have been arrested in connection with the protests, including 19 police officers who have participated.
And there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.
President Peña Nieto tried to calm the protests by arguing that gas prices have been increasing on a global scale and claiming there was no other option but to raise prices.
In a speech to the Mexican people, President Peña Nieto argued that global oil prices have gone up by 60 percent. He maintained that the increase to Mexico’s gas prices was implemented to prevent any issues in the future. He then gestured to the camera and asked the Mexican people what they would have done given the same circumstances.