I don’t know how I managed to miss this news from four months ago, but I betcha you didn’t hear or read about it either.
In January 2017, the price of gas in Mexico increased 20%.
The Mexican government said the price hike is part of a plan to gradually cede control of the fuel market to private development as part of government deregulation of the energy sector. President Enrique Pena Nieto said it was a necessary move to reflect higher global prices.
Outraged Mexicans reacted with violent demonstrations and looting.
Protesters blocked highways and petrol stations across the country. Demonstrations in the northern city of Monterrey turned violent on January 5 when protesters tried to force their way into the government palace, smashing stained glass windows and setting off fireworks and pepper spray.
After the fifth day of unrest, which had spread to at least 14 of Mexico’s 32 states, at least 987 people were arrested.
Looters ransacked at least 250 stores across Mexico, including this Walmart, where looters brazenly walked away with big-ticket items like big-screen TVs.
Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB, Grupo Comercial Chedraui SAB, Grupo Elektra and Organizacion Soriana SAB stores were among those targeted in a wave of anger about the gasolinazo or fuel-price hike. Looting, preemptive store closings and truck robberies were widely reported in local press and social media since the night of January 3.
Officials said three people were killed amidst looting in the eastern state of Veracruz on January 5, while a police officer was killed on January 4 while trying to prevent robberies at a gas station in Mexico City.
Planigrupo Latam SAB, a real estate investment company, said in a filing that two malls in which it has a controlling stake were looted and vandalized on January 4 and 5. The company is working with local and federal authorities to protect the locations and the people who work there.
Antad, the Mexican retailers’ association, said government efforts haven’t been enough to calm the situation.
Here’s another video of looting:
Sources: Bloomberg; The Guardian
Bear in mind that Mexicans were not starving; they were just angry about a gas price hike.
Imagine what they would do if the Mexican economy collapses and the people are starving — like Venezuelans in their crumbling socialist utopia losing an average of 19 pounds last year on a starvation diet of one or two meals a day, and forced to eat garbage and household pets.
Mexico shows that civilization is a veneer that can be frighteningly thin.