Author Topic: Mexico Drug War and Instability  (Read 66166 times)

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Offline S.M.A.

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Mexico troops clash with anti-drug cartel vigilante groups
« Reply #125 on: January 14, 2014, 11:26:50 »
The Mexican Army preventing regular Mexican citizens from taking the war against the drug cartels into their own hands:

Quote

Mexico troops clash with vigilante groups; 12 reported killed

MEXICO CITY -- Twelve people are reportedly dead in the southern Mexican state of Michoacan after federal troops clashed with vigilante “self-defense” groups late Monday, following government demands that the groups stand down in their fight against the Knights Templar drug cartel.

The newspaper Reforma, citing “preliminary reports from state sources,” reported that seven civilians were killed in the municipality of Mugica, and that two civilians and three soldiers were killed in the municipality of Paracuaro.

The self-defense groups had taken up positions recently in these and other communities surrounding the city of Apatzingan, considered a stronghold of the Knights Templar, their sworn enemies.

Read article at...

Los Angeles Times



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Offline S.M.A.

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Mexico legalizes vigilante groups as cartel leader is nabbed
« Reply #126 on: January 28, 2014, 01:08:25 »


Quote

Mexico legalizes vigilantes, nabs cartel leader


The government said it had reached an agreement with vigilante leaders to incorporate the armed civilian groups into old and largely forgotten quasi-military units called the Rural Defense Corps. 

MEXICO CITY — Mexico essentially legalized the country's growing "self-defense" groups Monday, while also announcing that security forces had captured one of the four top leaders of the Knights Templar drug cartel, which the vigilante groups have been fighting for the last year.

The government said it had reached an agreement with vigilante leaders to incorporate the armed civilian groups into old and largely forgotten quasi-military units called the Rural Defense Corps. Vigilante groups estimate their numbers at 20,000 men under arms.

Read more at...

MSN

« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 01:25:37 by S.M.A. »
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Mexico Drug War and Instability
« Reply #127 on: April 02, 2014, 10:07:07 »
The cartels are infiltrating large swaths of the Mexican economy. More examples of unanticipated second and thiord order effects:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/opinion/sunday/is-the-lime-an-endangered-species.html?_r=4

Quote
Is the Lime an Endangered Species?

By DAVID KARPMARCH 29, 2014

LOS ANGELES — WE’RE used to the elusiveness of certain scarce and seasonal gastronomical treasures like black truffles that are priced and meted out accordingly. But no one could have predicted the strange twist that threatens to turn guacamole, Key lime pie and margaritas into rare delicacies.

A sudden and unprecedented shortage of limes has sent nationwide wholesale prices soaring from around $25 for a 40-pound carton in early February to more than $100 today, panicking lovers of Mexican food and drinks — and the restaurant and bar owners who cater to them. The culprits are weather, disease and even Mexican criminals.

“I cringe every time customers ask for limes,” said Armando De La Torre Jr., an owner of two Guisados restaurants in Los Angeles, adding that the price spike cost his family at least $2,000 in the past month alone.

“We really don’t have much choice except to pay up,” said Phil Ward, owner of Mayahuel, a Manhattan bar that specializes in tequila and mescal. “A margarita has to be made with lime juice. We would never use lemons, or bottled lime juice, which is pasteurized and has a different flavor.”

In the 1970s Americans consumed an average of less than half a pound per person of limes a year, most of them grown in southern Florida. Immigration from tropical countries, and the growing taste for their foods, helped raise consumption to over two and a half pounds today. Meanwhile, low-priced competition from Mexico, the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and an eradication campaign to fight canker disease in 2002-06 wiped out the Florida groves.

Mexico is now the world’s largest producer and exporter of limes, and provides some 95 percent of United States supplies. Generally, the lime harvest is smaller and prices are higher from January through March, but in November and December severe rains knocked the blossoms off lime trees in many areas, reducing lime exports to the United States by two-thirds. California, with just 373 acres, is now the largest domestic lime source — but it produces less than 1 percent of national consumption, and its season is late summer and fall, so it’s no help right now.

Other factors may also be squeezing the lime market. Since 2009 a bacterial disease that kills citrus trees, huanglongbing (HLB, also known as “greening”), has spread across many of Mexico’s lime-growing districts. Largely because of HLB, harvests in Colima State, a major producer of Key limes (the small, seeded, highly aromatic type preferred in Mexico), have dropped by a third in the past three years.

The disease has not yet reached Veracruz State, Mexico’s leading source of Persian limes — the large, seedless type exported to the United States, also known as Tahiti and Bearss — but the shortfall of Key limes is most likely spilling over into the Persian lime market. If HLB invades and takes hold in Veracruz, as it probably will in a few years, the era of cheap limes may well be over for good. The lime hysteria we’re starting to see now may be only a taste of what’s to come.

Farmers have already been stripping their trees to cash in on sky-high prices, said David Krause, president of Paramount Citrus, which grows Persian limes in Tabasco State for the United States market. Such premature harvesting exacerbates the shortage because the fruit never grows to normal size and is 20 to 40 percent lower in volume, he added.

As a result of high prices and rampant lawlessness in some Mexican regions, criminals who may be linked to drug gangs are plundering fruit from groves and hijacking trucks being used for export, said Bill Vogel, president of Vision Produce, a Los Angeles-based importer. A truck headed for Vision’s sister company in Texas was hijacked two weeks ago in Mexico, he said, and growers and shippers now are hiring armed guards to protect their green gold.

The produce wars on the ground are not limited to limes. Criminal cartels now control, to a shocking extent, the growing and packing of much of the Mexican produce on which United States consumers depend. An article last November in the Mexican newspaper Vanguardia reported that the Knights Templar drug cartel has used kidnapping, murder, money laundering and terror to take over the lucrative avocado business in Michoacán, the top state for production and export of the fruit.

Criminal elements also have significantly infiltrated the Mexican mango industry to launder money, said Richard Campbell, a horticulturist and mango expert who travels to Mexico several times a year as a consultant. “Many growers don’t go to their fields because they’re afraid,” Mr. Campbell said. “I’m sure that this has lowered the quality of the mangoes, because it’s harder to control quality.”

All of this suggests an uncertain fate for limes, a fruit we’ve taken for granted for so long. This time the crisis is likely to be temporary. As new crops mature, prices should be back down near $30 by June, and there should be plenty of limes this summer, Mr. Vogel said. But it is important to recognize that we do give up a measure of food security by importing from countries destabilized by the drug trade, corruption and unchecked crime.

While it is ironic that the current lime crisis may in some part be blowback from our own drug policies, it is crucial to remember that a few months of inconvenience to American margarita lovers is trifling compared with the anguish of Mexicans whose livelihoods and lives have been destroyed.

David Karp is a columnist on farmers’ markets and produce for The Los Angeles Times who has worked as a citrus researcher for the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline S.M.A.

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Mexican Army kills 21 gang members after their surrender
« Reply #128 on: September 21, 2014, 11:13:43 »
Does the Geneva Convention apply to law enforcement operations done by a military force?

Quote
Witness: 21 gang members killed by Mexican Army after they had surrendered

Published September 19, 2014/
Fox News Latino

ARCELIA, Mexico (AP) – A woman says she saw Mexican soldiers shoot and kill her 15-year-old daughter after a confrontation with a suspected drug gang even though the teenager was lying wounded on the ground. Twenty others also were shot and killed in rural southern Mexico after they surrendered and were disarmed, the mother told The Associated Press.

The Mexican government has maintained that all died during a fierce shootout when soldiers were fired on in the early morning of June 30. That version came into question because government troops suffered only one wounded, and physical evidence at the scene pointed toward more selective killings.

The witness said the army fired first at the armed group holed up at the warehouse. She said one gunman died in the initial shootout, and another gang member and her daughter were wounded. The rest of the gunmen surrendered on the promise they would not be hurt, she said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

[...SNIPPED]

The soldiers interrogated the rest of the gang members in front of the warehouse, and then took them inside one-by-one, she said. From where she stood just outside the warehouse and in army custody, she heard gunshots and moans of the dying.

[...SNIPPED]

Read more here:

Fox News

« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 11:16:21 by S.M.A. »
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Mexico Drug War and Instability
« Reply #129 on: September 21, 2014, 11:33:01 »
The laws of Mexico apply and I am certain that extrajudicial executions are not allowed.IF the account is confirmed then you should see soldiers charged with murder.

Offline S.M.A.

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Mexican druglord "El Chapo" recaptured
« Reply #130 on: January 08, 2016, 17:16:33 »
It figures it would take US help to recapture "El Chapo" .

Reuters

Quote
Mexico recaptures drug boss 'Chapo' Guzman, president says
[Reuters]
By Veronica Gomez and Dave Graham
Reuters
January 8, 2016

By Veronica Gomez and Dave Graham

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico recaptured the world's most notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman with U.S. help in a violent standoff on Friday, six months after he humiliated President Enrique Pena Nieto by tunneling out of a maximum security prison.

Guzman, head of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel and who Pena Nieto first caught in February 2014, was captured in an early morning raid that killed five in the city of Los Mochis in the drug baron's native state of Sinaloa in northwest Mexico.

(...SNIPPED)
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Offline cupper

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Re: Mexico Drug War and Instability
« Reply #131 on: January 08, 2016, 19:52:05 »
It will be interesting to see if he gets extradited to the US, since it has been shown several times now that Mexican prisons are just a holiday haven with a revolving door for him.
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Sean Penn interview with druglord El Chapo provokes US scorn
« Reply #132 on: January 11, 2016, 00:35:16 »
Ha! Seems Sean Penn may have to maintain a much lower profile after this:

BBC

Quote
'El Chapo' Guzman: Sean Penn interview provokes US scorn

    10 January 2016
 
Media captionThe BBC's Katy Watson: "A Hollywood star with one of the world's most wanted men"

The Obama administration and a US presidential hopeful have criticised Sean Penn's interview with Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

It was conducted in October in the Mexican jungle after Guzman's jail break, and published by Rolling Stone.

A White House spokesman said the Hollywood actor's "so-called interview" was "maddening", while Republican Marco Rubio said it was "grotesque".

(...SNIPPED)
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Offline cupper

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Re: Sean Penn interview with druglord El Chapo provokes US scorn
« Reply #133 on: January 11, 2016, 19:24:27 »
Ha! Seems Sean Penn may have to maintain a much lower profile after this:

BBC

I wonder how much of the uproar, especially by US Officialdom may be a way of covering up possible willing involvement of Penn being used to track Guzman down in the first place?

If I were Penn, the last thing I'd want is the leader of the largest drug cartel in Mexico thinking I ratted him out. A sure way to come to a gruesome end.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 19:29:44 by cupper »
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

There is no God, and life is just a myth.

"He who drinks, sleeps. He who sleeps, does not sin. He who does not sin, is holy. Therefore he who drinks, is holy."

Let's Go CAPS!

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Mexico Drug War and Instability
« Reply #134 on: January 12, 2016, 09:16:19 »
Mexican police followed Penn from the moment he entered the country.It doesnt matter if he was a willing participant or not IF el Chapo thinks he was involved then he might be a recluse for a very long time.

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Re: Mexico Drug War and Instability
« Reply #135 on: January 12, 2016, 09:40:33 »
Mexican police followed Penn from the moment he entered the country.It doesnt matter if he was a willing participant or not IF el Chapo thinks he was involved then he might be a recluse for a very long time.

I doubt he was willing.  That guy has had many common sense strokes in his lifetime.
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El Chapo Guzman's capture leaves Zambada as last major Mexican druglord
« Reply #136 on: January 12, 2016, 14:58:33 »
Only major druglord left?

Source: Reuters

Quote
With Mexico's 'Chapo' back behind bars, Zambada the last capo standing
By: Michael O'boyle and Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein, Reuters
January 12, 2016 9:31 PM

CULIACAN/MEXICO CITY - Mexico's public enemy No. 1, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was nabbed last week after a gunfight and high speed getaway bid. But his more discreet partner is flourishing, moving tons of drugs to the United States and laundering the profits at home.

Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada jointly heads the powerful Sinaloa cartel and, with Guzman behind bars again and facing possible extradition to the United States, it falls to Zambada to maintain the gang's ranking as the world's largest.

In the past few years, Mexican security forces have captured or killed almost all the leading kingpins who had dominated drug trafficking over the last two decades. Guzman, the most prominent of all, was recaptured on Friday, six months after his second escape from maximum security prison.

That leaves Zambada, 68, as the most senior capo still standing.

(...SNIPPED)
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Re: Mexico Drug War and Instability
« Reply #137 on: September 12, 2016, 14:28:10 »
Don't tell me these gangs also have RPGs and MANPADS?  :o

AFP via Telegraph

Quote
4 killed as crime gang downs chopper during police operation in Mexico
By: Agence France-Presse
September 7, 2016 9:36 AM

MEXICO CITY -- A gang brought down a helicopter during a police operation in Mexico's troubled western state of Michoacan on Tuesday, killing the pilot and three officers, the governor said.

The aircraft was backing an operation to arrest leaders of criminal groups when the "official helicopter was downed" in an area with rough terrain, Governor Silvano Aureoles wrote on Twitter.

Another officer was injured in the crash.

(...SNIPPED)
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"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
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Re: Mexico Drug War and Instability
« Reply #138 on: September 12, 2016, 16:36:42 »
Not sure about MANPADS.  Wouldn't surprise me if they were able to source some though, these organizations have DEEP pockets.

RPG's?  You bet!  If absolutely boot-strapped for cash, rag-tag militia's roaming about the deserts of Africa can get their hands on sufficient quantities of them, you bet the ultra-rich ones south of the border have them too.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Mexico Drug War and Instability
« Reply #139 on: January 09, 2017, 13:38:51 »
Mexicans discover the true cost of fuel, and rioting occurs. When things are artificially subsidized or prices supressed, people respond to the implied incentives. Of course no government can afford to do this forever, and the Mexican government is now facing rioting from consumers who are not used to be told "no":

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/08/chaos-in-mexico-during-week-long-gasolinazo-protests.html

Quote
Running on Fumes: Pandemonium at Mexico’s Gas Pumps
One week into 2017, and Mexico is already descending into chaos.
Andrea Noel
01.08.17 12:15 AM ET

ROSARITO, Mexico—A week of protests in Mexico has devolved into looting, vandalism, and violence after a double-digit increase in gas prices that landed with a bang as the New Year began.

On Saturday, hundreds of protestors descended on the border dividing San Diego from Mexico, taking control of Mexican Customs and forcing a southbound border shutdown lasting several hours. Thousands of Mexicans returning home from California were forced to turn back toward the U.S. and seek out alternative border crossing points. And that was neither the worst nor the end of it.

These increasingly violent protests did not begin because of “The Wall” that U.S.-President-Elect Donald Trump will ask Congress to fund (for now), but they will certainly have an impact on the border he says he wants to defend. And the more he pressures Mexico economically, the worse it’s going to get.

Through the week, roads across Mexico were blocked by protesters and burning tires, thousands of businesses were ransacked, upward of 1500 people—among them, police officers— were arrested, and at least five people were killed as furious citizens took to the streets following the more than 20 percent price gas hike.

The Mexican government has for years maintained artificially low gas prices in Mexico thanks to massive subsidies that are absorbed by the state, but as of this year that all changes. The cost of fuel will finally be adjusted to conform to real market value. The surge in gas prices is the just first major sign of changes to come, but certainly the most tangible so far.
And Mexicans, clearly, are not happy.

Dozens of videos have appeared online showing mass looting across the country in response to the gasolinazo, as the gas price surge is called—from Sinaloa and neighboring Puebla and Mexico State, all the way to the southernmost state of Chiapas, which shares its border with Guatemala.

In Chiapas, a mob of protesters freed half a dozen—likely Central American—migrants who were being held at a detention center on Wednesday. The demonstrators then set the immigration control center on fire before ransacking nearby stores.
In Veracruz, Governor Miguel Angel Yunes tried desperately to call for order at a local shopping center on Thursday, after a restive mob pillaged multiple businesses. He offered would-be thieves coupons for 500 pesos, roughly $23, “to buy food” if they desisted.

“Veracruzanos are not thieves,” he reminded the people of his state, the second most impacted by this week’s unrest. “I am as upset as you are about the gasolinazo issue, but this is not the way to demonstrate.”

In Mexico State, where the highest number of violent looting incidents have been reported, protesters reportedly tried to set a gas station on fire on Tuesday, hurling Molotov cocktails and shouting “blow it up already.”
On Wednesday, police officers in the state were caught on video filling up patrol cars with ransacked merchandise. Four officers have been fired and arrested as a result. But store owners armed themselves with sticks and metal rods in preparation for looters who still may come.
The Mexico City Chamber of Commerce blamed protesters for millions of dollars of revenue lost in the capital earlier in the week after roughly 20,000 businesses shuttered due to fear of violence. And upward of 9,000 police officers have been deployed just in Mexico City to quell this week’s chaotic protests.

Despite dozens of altercations and incidents, many of the protests—held outside gas stations, rundown refineries, municipal buildings, and on highways and in city squares in at least 19 states across the country—have been peaceful. Others, which began peacefully, are now turning for the worst, as tensions between authorities and citizens peak.
***
The president has called the gasolinazo, as the price increase is known, a “necessary measure,” but thousands of demonstrators in Mexico have resoundingly rejected the price increase, calling for renewed subsidies and slashed gas prices.

South of the California border, dozens of protesters in Rosarito managed to seize control of nearly a dozen tanker trucks this week, which they used to block access to the roads used by employees of Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex—the historically state-owned oil monopoly—to access the city’s large energy plant. Roughly 200 protesters stationed at the beach town entrance since Monday peacefully demonstrated and collected signatures during the week.

But this weekend, those peaceful protests took a turn for the worse, as more than half a dozen federal police officers and protesters were run over by a demonstrator, who rammed his pickup into a small crowd of anti-riot police Saturday as protestors hurled large rocks at the authorities. Several journalists covering the disruption were beaten by authorities and arrested as a helicopter flew overhead searching for the fugitive demonstrator.

When I spoke to the protesters on Thursday, prior to the violence, they emphatically said they wanted to demonstrate pacifically, and were completely opposed to the looting and violence seen across the country.

“We had seized 10 gas tankers, but then we had a talk with the employees at Pemex and returned almost all of them due to safety concerns,” said a young part-time grocery clerk named Jonathan standing in front of two hijacked Pemex refueling trucks earlier in the week. Etched in the tankers’ dusty sides were slurs directed at the Mexican president and loosely scrawled anarchist symbols.
By Thursday, those demonstrators had returned all but two of the tankers to Pemex “as a peace offering.”
“We kept the empty gas trucks, but gave the rest back because we didn’t want anyone going near the full tankers smoking a cigarette, or something,” said Jonathan. “It’s too dangerous.”

This same group of demonstrators spread their message throughout the week by seizing toll booths on the nearby highways connecting Rosarito to Tijuana and the rest of Baja California, taking over the facilities and allowing dozens of vehicles to pass through for free.
“About a dozen cars full of people [would] block the toll road, and when the window attendants saw us coming they let us take over. They lent us their chairs because we are being peaceful and not disrupting anything,” the protester said, adding that they gave back one of the toll booths “after some people lost focus of the objective and starting drag racing.”

Lucia Vazquez, a retiree who volunteered to collect signatures, said on Thursday that a few thousand people had signed their petition, which they hoped would put pressure on the federal government.

“They say that the economy is different here and that we don’t have any poor people. But we do, and this affects us all. The cost of everything is going to go up—food, public transportation—and it hits us the hardest in the north of the country,” Vazquez said.

The plan to completely free up fuel prices in Mexico will continue in phases across the country from north to south throughout the year, until finally reaching the market rate in December of this year.

But the steep price increase will impact the poorest harder than anyone. The cost of one gallon of gasoline in Mexico is now just 65 cents less than Mexico’s newly increased minimum wage, which is now 80 pesos—or about $3.75 for a full day’s work.
So, for some Mexicans this means that they can work all day and then be forced to chose between buying a gallon of gasoline or a gallon of milk, with not enough left over for a half-dozen eggs in either scenario.

The situation in Mexico overall is dire, but fuel prices are the drop that makes the glass overflow.

To make things worse, the Mexican peso fell to a new historic low this week, surpassing its previous record low set in November following the victory of incoming President Donald Trump, whose every utterance it seems causes flurries of economic panic in Mexico.
Trump has repeatedly insisted he will use remittances to “build a big, beautiful” border wall, pull out of NAFTA, and punish U.S. companies looking to send jobs to Mexico by imposing hefty tariffs, putting billions of dollars in cross-border trade at risk.
Still, the ripple effect of actions taken this week by even common folk in Mexico are having a profound impact.

Because of the demonstrators I spoke to in Rosarito, blocking access to the main Pemex distribution plant, at least 25 gas stations in the neighboring city of Tijuana, which shares its border with San Diego, were without fuel on Thursday. By Friday, the number of closed stations had climbed above 120. And by this weekend, Rosarito and Tijuana were without gas as cars began to line up at some closed stations, hoping to be the first in line when fuel eventually comes in.

The violence unfolding this weekend came as authorities attempted, unsuccessfully, to free up the roads used by Pemex, so tankers could resupply gas stations in Tijuana and Rosarito.

In the state capitol, protesters also controlled Mexicali’s refuelling stations this week, freezing fuel distribution in cities across northern Baja.
Retired Americans living in beach towns throughout Baja shared their tips for finding gas on social media, and residents in Tijuana begged their friends for info on open gas stations, hoping to have enough gas to make it to work, or the border. Similar conversations unfolded in cities all over Mexico.

All along the northern border, hundreds with dual citizenship opted to go for gas runs in the United States, driving across the line where—despite the crippling exchange rate—their dollars would stretch just a bit further. On Facebook, thousands in Mexico shared tips on which gas stations were closed, which streets to avoid, and estimated wait times at gas stations that remained open.
Still, many were left homebound.
* * *
It’s not just the fuel prices. Sweeping fuel shortages threatened to cripple the economy in dozens of Mexican cities in the last week of 2016. These were attributed to everything from widespread, organized criminal fuel theft, to breaks in the supply chain, increased demand, and the measures taken following energy reforms ushered in by President Enrique Peña Nieto, who pushed to privatize Mexico’s historically State-owned—yet crippled and deteriorating—energy industry.

Oil theft enriches Mexico’s criminal cartels and lone wolf gas thieves to the tune of $1 billion a year, but this week people across Mexico accused the government, not the gangs, of ripping them off.

The president shied away from the thought that his controversial energy reform was responsible for the gas prices, instead blaming an almost 60 percent global increase in petroleum costs for the steep hike.

For those wondering why an oil-rich country would be affected by global rates, Mexico now imports more than 60 percent of its fuel, after having allowed its refineries to severely deteriorate through years of unwillingness to increase spending for infrastructure in the oil sector.
Pemex released a graphic, on New Year’s Eve prior to the price adjustment justifying Mexico’s lack of functioning refineries, claiming that it “is more convenient to bring gasoline from where it is cheaper, to save resources.” The real problem, they claimed, lies with the lack of storage facilities and transportation.

This dysfunctional system, which has been artificially propped up with massive government subsidies, is now finally coming into the public eye as a result of the changes brought in by the reform. That is inarguable.

“Trying to maintain the artificial price of gasoline would have forced us to cut social programs, raise taxes, or increase the country’s foreign debt, placing the stability of the entire economy at risk,” President Enrique Peña Nieto said Thursday night, addressing the nation.
But, as one follows the bouncing ball back around, Mexican Finance Minister José Antonio Meade explains that continuing gas subsidies would have cost the government $9.3 billion in 2017, an increase from the nearly $5 billion spent last year.
But, still, nowhere near the damage seen in recent years. As the barrel price of oil soared in 2012 to nearly double today’s value, so too did subsidies in Mexico, which came to a whopping 223 hundred billion pesos in 2012—more than $17 billion when adjusted to today’s exchange rate.

While unwilling to acknowledge his administration’s role in the price surge, or stoically defend his revolutionary energy reform—which few would argue was unnecessary—the president coyly blamed rising global oil prices, apparently as a way to mitigate the severe criticism leveled against him.

“What would you have done?” the president asked the country, meekly, in his evening address, in what quickly became a national meme and trending topic.
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Unlike other crises seen in recent years such as the months of fiery protests that erupted following the mass disappearance and almost certain execution of 43 teaching students  in Guerrero in 2014, this may be the most important period of civil unrest in recent memory in terms of economic impact.
 
In front of a road blocked with seized fuel tankers in Baja, protesters who claimed no political affiliation handed me a leaflet explaining their discontent, in days before the conflict with authorities. It was printed by Mexico’s Communist Party.

“Down with the powerful monopolies!” the pamphlet read, ironically protesting the side effects of Mexico’s attempt to do away with its historic energy monopoly by calling for a return to the same state-monopolistic practices that led to the current crisis.
One similarly ironic sign of things to come in 2017, following Republican populist Donald Trump’s surge toward the White House, is the renewed rise in Mexico of leftist populist Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has lost two presidential elections since 2006 but is now favored to win the 2018 elections and become the next leader of the Mexican people—81 percent of whom believe Donald Trump is a direct threat to Mexico.

Lopez Obrador famously held up an upside down photograph during the 2012 presidential debates in a gaffe that made him the butt of instant ridicule.

But there was nothing amusing about the photograph, which showed now-President Enrique Peña Nieto seated with Mexico’s favorite villain, former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, whose family has been caught moving hundreds of millions of dollars through Swiss bank accounts after pilfering them from the country.

In February, Peña Nieto appointed Salinas’s brother-in-law, José Antonio González, to be the director of Pemex.
“It’s the world, upside down,” the twice-failed presidential hopeful quipped of the upside down photograph. “Look.”
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.