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Looting, Riots In Mexico Spiral Out Of Control Over 20% Gas Hike; Hundreds Arrested

Looting, Riots In Mexico Spiral Out Of Control Over 20% Gas Hike; Hundreds Arrested thumbnail

Four days after the first sporadic protests emerged in Mexico City, following the infamous “gasolinazo”, or mandatory 15%-20% increase in Mexican gas prices which went into effect on January 1, the mood across the country has significantly deteriorated, with hundreds of demonstrators blocking highways, snarling traffic, raiding gas stations, jeopardizing critical supplies, and looting stores as angry but impotent motorists lashed out at the price surge, which is only going to get worse as inflation spikes even more following the record plunge in the Mexican Peso.

Residents steal fuel and diesel from a gas station in Veracruz state

As a reminder, the price of oil rose Sunday by as high as 20.1% to 88 cents per liter, with diesel at 83 cents — the equivalent of 12 days of a minimum wage to fill a tank of gas – compared to the U.S.’s seven hours — and the price ceiling will be adjusted daily starting Feb. 18, before letting supply and demand determine them in March.

The unrest has caused some gas stations to close altogether. Antonio Caballero, who heads a network of 800 gas stations, said at a press conference this week he will temporarily close any filling station threatened by violent protesters. According to unconfirmed reports, even the local drug cartels warned ahead of the price hike they would burn down gas stations should the price increase come into effect.

However, as tends to happen during mass civil disturbances, it’s not just gas stations that are being targeted. Some protesters have used the gasolinazo as an excuse to loot supermarkets and other stores in several states.

A man runs with toys as a store is ransacked by a crowd in the port of Veracruz,
Mexico after gas price hikes rage out of control

As of Thursday morning, 250 stores had been looted and 170 were closed or blockaded in all of Mexico, according to the National Association of Self-Service and Department Stores.

At least 430 protesters were detained on charges of vandalism, including four police officers according to El Universal.

Protesters block the entrance to a Pemex gas station as they burn tires during a
protest against the rising prices of gasoline

The unrest ‘resulting in the theft of merchandise put at risk the lives of clients and workers in the stores, primarily in Mexico State, Michoacan, Hidalgo and Mexico City,’ the statement said.

Suspects are detained by navy police after a store was ransacked by a crowd in
the port of Veracruz during gasoline price protests

In the Gulf coast city of Veracruz, store guards were overrun Wednesday
by crowds who carried off clothing, food, washing machines, televisions,
DVD players and refrigerators; 50 establishments including convenience stores, supermarkets and big-box outlets suffered looting, according to a preliminary count by the local chamber of commerce.

A group of people grabs toys as a store is ransacked by a crowd in the port of
Veracruz, Mexico after frustrations over a sharp gas price hike erupt into violence

Store guards were overrun by crowds who carried off clothing, food, washing machines, televisions, DVD players and refrigerators

Extra police patrols were deployed, and at least 14 people were detained, the state government reported. At one supermarket officers fired into the air to disperse the multitudes.

According to Fusion, adding to the chaos on the streets is a wave of unconfirmed news and threats on social media perpetuating rumors about a curfew on Wednesday, pushing some businesses to temporarily close two days before Mexico’s Día de Reyes, a religious holiday that normally has parents flocking to stores to buy toys for their kids.

People form a human chain to block access to a gas station in Mexico City

The state-owned oil company Pemex said Tuesday that blockades of fuel terminals in the states of Chihuahua, Morelos and Durango had caused a “critical situation” in distributing fuel to gas stations there. It said that if the blockades continued, it could interrupt operations at airports in Chihuahua and Baja California.

Mexicans’ collective anger over the situation is being directed mostly at President Enrique Peña Nieto, who in 2015 had promised that country’s frequent pump price hikes would end with his much-touted finance and energy reform plans. However, as a result of the plunge in oil prices , the long-awaited liberalization of the country’s energy sector which would have led to lower prices, the promised relief at the pump has yet to materialize.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, president Nieto called the gas price hike “painful” yet “inevitable.”

“I call society to listen to the reasons for taking this decision, which, without having been made, I must say, would have led to more painful effects and consequences,” he said Wednesday after several days of notable silence. He added that he understands the anger of Mexicans and did not want to make the “painful, difficult and inevitable” move, but had to.

He told Mexicans Wednesday to accept the dramatic hike in gas prices as a necessary move, to the anger of “gasolinazo” protesters, who reiterated their call to take down the country’s most unpopular president on record.

Demonstrators stormed several government buildings on Wednesday, demanding the resignation of Nieto and sympathetic state governors who have promoted the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s neoliberal reforms that have included privatizing the national oil company Pemex. Pena Nieto had promised to lower gas prices in his campaign, but they have kept rising since he took office.

A series of actions, including boycotts, petition signing, meetings, assemblies and civil disobedience are planned for the week, as the prologue to a national march next week. As of earlier this week, tens of thousands have already participated in roadblocks and seized, looted and vandalized gas stations, prompting 400 stations to close and affecting the operations of airports and bus stations.

The tweet below lays out a “map of peaceful protests against gasolinazo. We have the right to protest.”

Meanwhile, the blowback against the unpopular price hike is spreading to the political class. Pemex has requested that state governors help open access to stations to continue business, but several governors have already come out against the hike. The governor of Chihuahua, Javier Corral, said he would not deploy forces to quell the protest, which he supports, and Aristoteles Sandoval of Jalisco, who is a member of the PRI, said Mexicans have a right to be angry. Veracruz Governor Miguel Angel Yunes said he expects the rise to mostly affect the poor and threaten political stability, lamenting that Peña Nieto did not consult governors before implementing the measure.

Taxes represent 44 percent of the price of gasoline, tweeted Guadalajara Mayor Enrique Alfaro, adding to a trending hashtag, #ReversaAlGasolinazo, to reverse the measure by lowering taxes.

Several media and politicians, including Peña Nieto, have denounced the protests as violent, which organizers insist is a mischaracterization of the peaceful actions, which aim to redistribute oil for free or at significantly reduced prices. Many extrapolated their opposition as opposition also to violence, corruption and impunity in the country, with which they hope to create a wider front against Peña Nieto’s administration and business-as-usual in traditionally authoritarian Mexican politics.

“The history of our country is stained with big and deep social problems without resolution,” wrote feminist group MujerEs YA!, “where violence and impunity have marked the path of daily life, until the point of voracious alienation that plays between indifference and immobility, which uses whatever measure to convince the public of its uselessness, of its drowned inert voice, accustomed to the toxic, a population that merits little, because it demands little, because it naturalizes its own death.”

But the worst is yet to come. According to increasingly more analysts, who initially were silent on the topic, the price increase will raise the price of basic goods, provoke unemployment, inflation, economic stagnation and potentially economic contraction and even recession.


44 Comments on "Looting, Riots In Mexico Spiral Out Of Control Over 20% Gas Hike; Hundreds Arrested"

  1. dave thompson on Thu, 5th Jan 2017 7:36 pm 

    This story makes me wonder what is really going on to cause these people to riot.

  2. makati1 on Thu, 5th Jan 2017 7:38 pm 

    Coming to America. Be patient.

  3. Go Speed Racer on Thu, 5th Jan 2017 8:01 pm 

    Ha ha, so the rioting will refill the oil well, yeah right.

    What did I tell ya, type RP for peak oil. That is,
    the Rich get to have fuel and the Poor do not.

    I don’t see any rich people in those photos,
    burning down gas stations and setting tire fires.
    No rich people filling up 5 gallon gas cans
    with stolen gas.

  4. penury on Thu, 5th Jan 2017 8:32 pm 

    To give one answer to the rhetorical question above. The people are poor, real poor, The oil company (PEMEX) used to provide the majority of the money funding the government. No more, depletion has set in. Governments who have decreased revenue must cut ant the first thing to go are social programs including medical for the poor. Even with the open border policy of the Obama admin not enough people can leave to reduce the population pressure on the governments. Criminal gangs control half the police and most of the local governments and it is safer to riot against government taxes than against the criminals.

  5. Rockman on Thu, 5th Jan 2017 9:47 pm 

    P – Sadly enough this isn’t the first chaos in Mexico caused by the govt pulling financial support away from a commodity. About 40 years ago when the Rockman was in grad school in Texas there were riots with fatalities in Mexico when the govt raised its fixed price on tortillas.

    Very sad and will get worse.

  6. Sissyfuss on Thu, 5th Jan 2017 10:17 pm 

    Let’s play the feud, shall we. Look at the money these folks are saving on retail items so they afford to fill up on gas later. 21st Century capitalism coming to a Sprawlmart near you soon!

  7. makati1 on Thu, 5th Jan 2017 10:32 pm 

    Americans are arming for the event to come…

    “Just released FBI background check numbers, which roughly equate gun sales, totaled some 27,538,673, 4 million more than in 2015 and nearly double the number in President Obama’s first year.”

    Not bad! That one year increase is at least five times the total guns of the military and the police forces of America. And you thought it would be peaceful in the future. LMAO

  8. makati1 on Thu, 5th Jan 2017 11:57 pm 

    Who has the worse drug problem? Hint: It has 50 States.

    “The crisis of opiate addiction is very real in the United States. In 2015, more Americans died from drug overdoses than gun violence. According to the Washington Post: “Opioid deaths continued to surge in 2015, surpassing 30,000 for the first time in recent history… That marks an increase of nearly 5,000 deaths from 2014. Deaths involving powerful synthetic opiates, like fentanyl, rose by nearly 75 percent from 2014 to 2015.”

    “Who is to blame the crisis? Almost all experts agree that roots of the crisis began in the 1990s when American pharmaceutical corporations began pushing pain-killer medications, and encouraging doctors to over prescribe them, hoping to drive up their profits. … Today, the drug inventors who brought Fentanyl into the world have been absorbed into the Wall Street “Fortune 500” medical giant known as“Johnson & Johnson.” … China’s Revolution “Wiped Out” Drug Addiction. … The Chinese Communist Party effectively wiped out drug addiction on the mainland during the first years of the People’s Republic. The public was mobilized in a mass campaign to fight against substance abuse. (Sounds like the policy of President Duterte.) … Rather than blaming China for the drug problems, perhaps we should learn from the methods used by the Chinese people to wipe out drug addiction, and raise millions of people out of poverty. If history shows us anything, it is that solutions are a thousand times more valuable than scapegoats.”

    The U$ “War on Drugs” is really Capitalism at it nastiest. Profit above morals. A $70,000,000,000.00+ per year business. Forty thousand Americans dead each year. Millions crippled for life. Families shattered. Just “Business as Usual”.

  9. Go Speed Racer on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 1:23 am 

    It’s not a crisis.
    You want the druggies to die of an overdose.

    When they have all died of a drug overdose,
    that will make America Great Again.

  10. makati1 on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 2:34 am 

    GSR, unfortunately, the pushers do not die, they just infect more and more people and get richer. Pres Duterte has the right idea. The citizens know who the pushers are. The threat of death is more powerful than a few arrests. They know that to arrest all of them and give them trials would never end.

    So what if 100,000 pushers die and maybe a few others as collateral damage? How is that different from what the U$ does every day in other countries. That equals about 3 years of US addicts deaths. Start now and avoid the rush. lol

  11. makati1 on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 2:37 am 

    GSR, if a usher had addicted one of my kids, I wold be glad to kill them, after I cut off their balls and a few other parts, slowly and with as much pain as I could afflict.

  12. brough on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 3:21 am 

    On one of the pictures above I see that someone is filling a plastic container with petrol. We’re lucky in the UK, because thats illegal.

  13. Davy on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 5:41 am 

    makati, this is coming to the Asia soon you are just old and blind to see it. It will be in America and Europe but likely with less emphasis on food. Have fun sucker.

  14. makati1 on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 6:24 am 

    Dream on Davy. Dream on. It will tear down America first. And those who have lived the highest have the farthest to fall. SPLAT!

  15. Hello on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 6:30 am 

    Burning und destroying all those stores will create a lot of jobs rebuilding.

    Will mexicans be up for the task? Or will they do as always. Blame the government and corruption and move north?

  16. Davy on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 6:37 am 

    So what makati if the US is first you will be very soon after. Poor sucker can’t face death. Makati, you are a poor old man living far away with no family to wipe your ass. That sounds to me like a horrible situation and the reason you spend your every waking moment trying to shift blame and doom to elsewhere. What a pathetic bag of shit. A bag of shit is a worthless human near his terminal end.

  17. Cloggie on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 6:38 am 

    Coming to America. Be patient.

    Mexico has more resemblance with the Philippines than with the US.

    Coming to the Philippines. Be patient.

    Fortunately you have a US passport and can always return home from you tourist destination back into safety. Obviously not to Philly or similar locations in Trans-Apalachia, but Bozeman-Montana will be fine.

    Will happen. Be patient.,_Montana#Demographics
    93.5% white.

    Found you something in Bozeman for $512,-

    Yummie location:

    We all remember Bozeman from the classic “Zen and the art of motor cycle maintenance”

    Ozarks is probably even cheaper.

  18. onlooker on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 6:41 am 

    Blaming the Mexicans are we Hello. Well, all this is so predictable, a country whose people have been systematically exploited by first the Spaniards, then a combination of its next door neighbor the Empire and its own ruling mestizo ruling class. Just the same inequality and corrupt ruling class structure so prevalent around the world but now mix in its terrible drug and crime problems , the falling price of oil, well all the makings of total collapse mode for those poor people , yes Hello poor forlorn people.

  19. Hello on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 7:15 am 

    Mexico is a democracy. They have a choice. They could get their shit together. But they don’t. They keep voting for the guy that bribes them with cheap tortillas.
    They keep blaming government for their ills, yet do nothing to change it.

    Last year they got close to finally cleaning up the government mess, yet they didn’t follow through. Maybe because it’s easier to vent the surplus population to the US instead of rolling your sleves back?

  20. Cloggie on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 7:17 am 

    Blaming the Mexicans are we Hello. Well, all this is so predictable, a country whose people have been systematically exploited by first the Spaniards

    Are you a moralistic leftist American by any chance, onlooker?

    Without these Spaniards and their rape campaign, Mexico today ($18k/capita) would be like Bolivia ($3k/capita). This is not to advocate rape campaigns, but as always there are unintended consequences of actions in the past.

    It is the same with slavery, (in hindsight) the best thing that ever happened to Africans. Turned them from stone age cannibals into folks who (sometimes) can read, drive cars, operate phones and vote for Democrats, all in a matter of a few centuries.

  21. Davy on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 7:48 am 

    Wow, clog, I hope like hell you are right because Stone Age cannibalism situation is likely a lot nicer than the techno brutal modern type we may turn into. LOL, Clog, I think there is a fine line between civilization and savagery and the modern kind of savagery from failed civilization is a much more awful thought. Imagine huge amounts of people in a destroyed landscape with nowhere to go. That sounds a lot worse than some Africans long ago who had a Garden of Eden to get lost in, you know the ones that didn’t get caught. We are trapped clog so you best keep shoveling coal in that burner on our potential train to hell because there is nowhere to hide this time. Maybe staying Stone Age was a better option. Maybe black Africans pre-modern is where a better human narrative is after the dust clears.

  22. Rockman on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 8:04 am 

    Hello – “Mexico is a democracy.” Been decades since I worked in Mexico so it might have gotten better. But the it may have appeared to have a democratic system. But it didn’t. I dealt on the very outside edge of TPTB in Mexico. As bad as seeing the country being controlled by a short list of powerful families was their attitude towards the public: complete disgust of the rest of the 99% of the population. It wasn’t just greed but an absolute certainty the public deserved nothing from their ruling class.

    Hardy a democracy when, despite what might exist on paper, there’s only one effective political party…the PRI. It wasn’t until 1989, that the first non-PRI governor of a state was elected. It was in 1997, that PRI lost its absolute majority at the Congress of the Union, and in 2000 the first non-PRI president was elected since 1929.

    It may not be as bad now with TPTB in charge when I dealt with them. But now there’s a new ruling class: the drug bosses. Not sure how they’ve integrated with the original TPTB. Back in the day they were safe in their compounds from the peons. Now I suspect many have relocated out of the country where they are closer to their foreign back accounts.

  23. Davy on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 8:07 am 

    Wait a minute cowboy someone else is in line first!

    “Venezuela’s March Toward Default”

    “It is only a matter of time until Venezuela will default on its foreign debt. After a short peak in 2009, when the country’s foreign exchange reserves stood at over $40 billion, Venezuela has been steadily hemorrhaging its reserves down to $10 billion. In 2016, Venezuela started to sell gold in order to compensate for the loss of its monetary reserves. As a consequence, Venezuela’s gold reserves plunged from over 360 tons down to less than 190 tons. Other than in the case that some foreign power, such as China, for example, would jump in as a lender, Venezuela’s default seems unavoidable.”

  24. onlooker on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 8:11 am 

    Hello, your missing the entire point. The Mexican ruling class is not representative of the Common folk of Mexico. This ruling class would like nothing better than continuing BAU so they can maintain their wealth and privileges which fits nicely with the Empire’s goal of looting the resources of the country. It is a win win for both and a lose for the continuously exploited masses. Oh yes the Mexicans and Africans are so grateful for being and having been brutalized and exploited. I think Clog and Hello you better try your Schick routine on someone else, as I do not buy it for one second

  25. Baptised on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 8:11 am 

    In Portugal they legalized all drug use in 2001, Heroin, LSD, etc. So what happen ALL Drug use went down with the exception of a small rise in cannabis. And Mak. talks about killing users sad. Make anything legal and cheap and people will get tired of how it diminishes their life. Read real magazines, JAMA, Lancet and you will see were study after study shows that 90% of cocaine user’s quit within 5 years. Never listen to the ratings junkies called Mas-Media.

  26. Hubert on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 8:46 am 

    Oil Apocolypse:

    Looting in Mexico:

  27. Cloggie on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 8:58 am 

    I think Clog and Hello you better try your Schick routine on someone else, as I do not buy it for one second.

    My opinions come free of charge.

  28. Hello on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 9:25 am 

    rockman & onlooker.

    Yes, your points are certainly true, to an extent.

    It’s up to the mexicans to take charge and solve their problems. Just blaming the government/elites and moving to the US doesn’t do the trick.

    It was 1 or 2 years ago, when the school bus of 40 kids got shot. The people were almost ready to take control and kick the elites out. They burned municipal palaces. I was hoping they would take this momentum and finally take their destiny in their own hands.

    But they didn’t. Why? I don’t know. Maybe leaving for the US was easier? Maybe they got a truck load of free tortillas?

    Well, who knows. Maybe they will get their stuff together sometimes, but them being of the southern type, mayeb that’s too much to hope for.

  29. Davy on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 9:32 am 

    You all act like there is a solution for Mexico. You act like there is one point of blame. Get real.

  30. onlooker on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 9:32 am 

    Thanks Rock for that first hand account. Yes it is that way apparently in pretty much all South and Central America. Kind of the the legacy from the Spaniards. A group who from the get go was above the indigenous and they seem to stay there even after the so called revolutions for liberation. My parents are from South America and I have always heard of the endemic corruption and the great chasm between the wealthy ruling and other masses. Fact is that is the same pretty much everywhere, my wife from the Philippines also attests to the corruption of power and its monopoly on wealth. I think one poster who could speak of this is Juan who I think is from Uruguay.

  31. onlooker on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 9:37 am 

    Hello, what makes you think they have the slightest capacity or ability to tackle their situation. Their fault is ignorance which is also product of this worldwide system that has worked for few but not for many. We in the US ourselves have not really as of the last few decades done much to force the system to attend to some outstanding grievances. So, peoples like the Mexicans have even less chance given their total subservience status within their country.

  32. peakyeast on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 9:59 am 

    The entire world is being looted.. I wonder what planet they are going to retire to to get away from the mess. Ah – now the hurry with Mars expeditions makes sense.

    I feel pretty sure Mars is going to be a tax haven/heaven when things get really bad. 😉

  33. John D on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 10:03 am 

    The moral of the story is that politicians need to understand that they their actions are not that different than parents’. Once you give a kid something it is impossible to take it away. Look at the US- prescription drug plans, pensions, Obamacare, food stamps, etc. All started out as good intentions, but all hell would break loose if any were changed.

  34. Sissyfuss on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 10:27 am 

    Lest we forget, Mexico is a majority Catholic nation where subservience and over breeding are mandatory. What that leads to is what you got.

  35. Cloggie on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 10:32 am 

    190 tons. Other than in the case that some foreign power, such as China, for example, would jump in as a lender, Venezuela’s default seems unavoidable.

    Venezuela has no cash and a lot of oil.

    China has a lot of cash it wants to get rid off and needs oil for its expansion.

    Wonder what’s going to happen next.


  36. Kenz300 on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 11:58 am 

    And the population keeps growing.

    Demanding more resources.

    The more kids you have the less you can give each of them.

    Cost of Raising a Child is Way More Than You Think

  37. GregT on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 12:09 pm 

    “And the population keeps growing. Demanding more resources.”

    And the Sun rises in the West, sets in the East, and grass is green.

  38. rockman on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 4:45 pm 

    Hello – “It’s up to the mexicans to take charge” And there’s the problem: two day two very well wealthy, well armed and ruthless groups: TPTB ingrained for decades and the new drug cartels. I don’t know if you’ve spent time there but no one outside those two groups has much ability to “take charge” of their daily lives let alone the country. Do you expect the populace can change anything by burning down their neighbors’ businesses or homes? I’ve seen first hand the private security forces armed with M-16 and HAND GRENADES. What you expect 200 unarmed civilians to attack a home or business guarded as such. Maybe you expect the power of the press to unite the masses? In the last few years over two reporters have been murdered in Mexico.

    In order to have a successful revolution you require a fair sized army of revolutionaries ready to die for the cause. That doesn’t exist in Mexico. And not because the average peon is afraid: they know are hopelessly out gunned.

  39. Boat on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 5:03 pm 


    30,000 is nothing, The US immigrates close to 1 million per year and grows 3 million per year. We need less population. If drugs trim off a few, so be it. It’s called freedom. Opioids are painkillers, who likes pain. Make them a generic and work towards depopulation.

  40. makati1 on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 5:18 pm 

    Boat, do YOU have kids? I bet not. If you did, that statement would be even more stupid than usual. If the drug pushers are allowed to addict your kid, you should be allowed to take the pusher’s life anyway you please. Has nothing to do with “freedom” or “population”.

    You live in a very twisted and weird mind world. Are YOU a pusher or maybe an addict? It would explain much.

  41. Kenz300 on Fri, 6th Jan 2017 10:12 pm 

    CLIMATE CHANGE, declining fish stocks, droughts, floods, air water and land pollution, poverty, water and food shortages all stem from the worlds worst environmental problem OVER POPULATION.

    Yet the world adds 80 million more mouths to feed, clothe, house and provide energy and water for every year. This is unsustainable and is a big part of the Climate Change problem

  42. Hubert on Sat, 7th Jan 2017 11:56 am 


    Ideal population for Mexico is $3 million. Anything more than that and you are just asking for trouble. Mexicans breed like rabbits. They are little more than Animals.

  43. peakyeast on Sat, 7th Jan 2017 7:24 pm 

    Actually has a nice discussion about Mexico…

    Situation is IMO in some ways similar to Egypt.

  44. Kenz300 on Sun, 8th Jan 2017 12:15 pm 

    Around the world poverty, suffering and despair continue to grow with the growth in world population.

    If you can not provide for yourself you can not provide for a child.

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