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By Azucena Mazón and Shandra Keesecker-Rivero
2017 began in Mexico with a rise in gasoline prices. This, detailed Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in a televised press conference late last week, is apparently from increases in gas prices across the globe as well as from a new Special Tax Law on Production and Services (IEPS). The situation has caused a wave of discontent among Mexicans across the country, who have been finding ways to demonstrate against the price hike through mostly through peaceful marches, as well as blocking public offices and gas stations, under the motto “No al Gasolinazo” (No to Gas Hike). There have also been reports of looting in parts of Mexico, though not locally.
As of January 1st, gas prices were “freed up”, or rather are now determined by offer and demand in each region. This has seriously impacted family and local economies across Mexico as the gas hike has led to a rise in prices for goods and services that require gasoline (i.e. transport of goods, or basically everything).
Gas prices in Mexico have risen by 23% over recent years, and although the federal government had announced there would be no more increases, the New Year began with a considerable hike in prices.
Gas price increases have been met with disapproval across the country, including Puerto Peñasco where since January 2nd dozens of people have been meeting to find ways to peacefully demonstrate against the increase. Those involved in local demonstrations have expressed they do not wish to negatively impact the community or local businesses, yet still raise their voices while raising awareness as to how the rise in gas prices will impact families in Puerto Peñasco and Mexico in general. In addition to temporary blockage of some gas stations in the city, local demonstrations have included blocking entry to the Fiscal Agency (state office – i.e. DMV) and Municipal Collections.
In a press release, Mayor Kiko Munro expressed his support for peaceful protest against the gas increases, stating, “What we must do as a people, as individuals affected by this cause, is to call on federal legislators. They have the manner to seek reversal and modification to the Special Tax Law on Production and Services (IEPS).”
The mayor encouraged demonstrators to continue with peaceful protests, while not affecting third parties or businesses, noting the federal government is responsible for resolving and providing a favorable response to the unjust increase in gas prices across the country.
It is worth noting concerns of adequate gas supply making its way to Puerto Peñasco, following blockage of different gas plants that serve the city, prompted many in the community to fill their tanks on the evening of January 7th to prevent running out of gas in coming days. While many of the stations ran out of gas that evening, particularly due to the heavy traffic through the stations, gasoline services remain open in different parts of the city. Visitors driving in from the U.S. are encouraged to fill up before crossing the border and conserve gas during their stay.