Tag Archives: pemex

Surviving an Oil shortage in La Yacata

oil production

Mexico is the eleventh largest producer of oil in the world and the thirteenth largest in exportation of oil. It has the seventeenth largest oil reserves and is the fourth largest producer in the Western Hemisphere. In 1938, Petroleos Mexicanos was founded, otherwise known as Pemex, when the Mexican government nationalized all oil resources and facilities. This expropriation didn’t make the US happy and it put financial pressure on Mexico through boycotts.

The US put the pressure on again when Pena Nieto was elected. Bowing to demands, the president changed the 27 and 28 amendments of the Mexico constitution thereby allowing private and foreign investors to conduct exploration and extraction operations within Mexico once again. As of April 2016, private companies were allowed to open gas stations in Mexico, invading the previous monopoly held by Pemex, with the condition that the fuel would be directly purchased from Pemex. Full liberalization is scheduled for 2018 making it clear that Pena Nieto’s intentions are to privatize Mexico’s oil reserves completely.

Although some are touting this as a landmark advancement for Mexico, it just may be what leads to a full-scale oil shortage.  In fact, it’s not unheard of for the Mexican government to manufacture oil and gas shortages in order to control a volatile area.

So what would happen in the event of an oil shortage? The impacts go beyond just fuel for our vehicles.

Some suggest that we will quickly become cannibals because we would be unable to obtain food. See, natural gas is used to make nitrogen fertilizers which are used in large-scale farming operations. Tractors and harvesters need oil based products to plant and collect the food. As all those chemically grown crops are not consumed where they are grown, oil is necessary to transport the food to the supermarket. And of course, you need an oil dependant vehicle to get from your house to the supermarket. So cannibalism would be the natural result because EVERYONE has forgotten how to grow their own organic food! We, in La Yacata, have not forgotten. (See Obligatory Organic, Sharecropping, Las tres hermanas, Container Gardening)

An oil shortage would also impact electricity, heating and cooling systems, gas powered vehicles and oil-based products, such as paint, plastic, medicine, toys and more, would become scarce. The interruption in these services and scarcity of these products would cause the total breakdown of society, or so some foretell.

La Yacata has no electricity, so no problem there. (See La Yacata still has no electricity, Chim-chimney, All sizzle and no spark). We currently use a gas stove, but we could switch to leña (wood) or cow patties for cooking without much fuss. We use our fireplace to heat our home on the rare occasions that it is needed. Walking, horseback riding or bicycling could easily replace our motos (motorcycles). In our case, I can’t see that we would be so dreadfully affected that we would succumb to despair and riot in La Yacata.

oil bird

On the flip side, some predict that running out of oil would be a good thing in the long run. We would have cleaner air, less contamination from plastics, no more fracking pollution, and a large-scale move to renewable energy sources and organic, local farming.

How ya like them apples? Sure sounds good to me!

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This post was proofread by Grammarly.

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Gasoline protests 2017

Max the little looter brings some levity Dog joins supermarket looters in Chetumal but is rewarded for his crime

Max the little looter brings some levity
Dog joins supermarket looters in Chetumal

So Tuesday we decided to go to the tianguis in Valle, just because. We gassed up the truck and headed out. We arrived, parked the truck, and started walking toward the tianguis. (flea market). An elderly lady grabbed my arm and said “No vayas alla. Van a explotar un tanque” (Don’t go there. They are going to blow up a tank.) Looking down the road, there was a lone police vehicle with lights flashing. It seems that there had been a report that protestors were going to blow up the Pemex across the street from the tianguis. Just to be safe, we headed home early. Of course, the only way out of the town was to drive past said Pemex and traffic was backed up to the wazoo, so it took 15 minutes to drive a mile.

We did get home safely. The report of that particular gas station being targeted was false. But is served as an extreme wake-up call for me.

crisis

On January 1, the crisis is over. Now begins the misery.

So what’s this all about? January 1 marked an increase of 20 percent in gas prices in Mexico as part of the opening of government-owned petroleum investments to foreign investors. (See After Privatizing Oil Mexico Becomes Net Importer of US Fuel) If it were just gas, that would be one thing. However, the spike in gas prices means every single item, not locally made or grown, is more expensive. Since Mexico has become dependent on its imports, that pretty much is everything. (See also Gasoline Hikes lead to food shortages in Mexico) In order to be fair, the minimum wage has also increased. The daily minimum wage increased from $73.04 to $80.04 pesos (currently, approximately $3.90 USD). Yep, the average Mexican worker makes less than $4.00 USD per DAY.

fill-your-tank

As of 2017, it takes an average Mexican 12 DAYS to earn enough to fill up a tank of gas.

Is it any wonder that people have been protesting this government reform? (See Por tercera vez, protestan en la Mexico-Queretaro por gasolinazo) As the most common form of protest here in Mexico is road closures, the situation becomes compounded when fuel can not be delivered to gas stations, so they close. (See Chihuahua ‘chaotic’ as gas stations close)

Of course, the government isn’t taking this lying down. Oh no! In response, Facebook posts and Tweets bombarded the social media networks with photos of looting being done by protestors and subsequent arrests of 4 looters in attempts to discredit the validity of the protestors. (See Mexican media botnet study)

yellow-truck

There was also repeated video exposure of a man in a yellow El Camino who rammed riot police, injuring several officers.  Of course, what is left out of the story is that just hours previously, the same group of riot police rammed protestors and ran over and killed the driver’s elderly mother.

The President attempted to win the sympathy of the Mexican people by addressing them with the words I share your pain.” over the gas price increase claiming it is a financial necessity and will strengthen the Mexican economy over time. (See El gasolinazo es doloroso, pero es para proteger la economía de las familias: Peña Nieto)  In a second address, he said raising gas prices was the only option.  After all, we wouldn’t want to have to cut Seguro Popular now,  would we? (See México es el quinto país del mundo que más aumentó precios de gasolina; y 40 ni lo movieron)

As that didn’t seem to go too far with calming the national outrage, there was yet another group arrested for looting. This time 46 alleged looters were arrested in Mexico State after breaking into Chedraui and stealing flat screen TVs. In the governor’s press conference, he assured the Mexican people that they had every right to peacefully protest the gas hike, but that well, this sort of chaos could not be allowed to continue. Sounds like martial law in the wings to me.

In fact, this looting bit seems to be sponsored by the government  (See Acusan al gobierno de Puebla de pagar a pandilleros para la rapiña, Elektra store looting was well organized) which really shouldn’t surprise anyone.  The stores that are targeted, Bodega, Chedraui, Soriana, OXXO etc have absolutely nothing to do with the ongoing protests. They are, however, big foreign businesses. (See Looting ‘out of control,’ says retailers’ group)  Well, the local communities had enough.  Armed with sticks, rocks and kitchen knives, more than one neighborhood has taken a stand against the looters. (See “Sáquense a chingar a su madre”, vecinos enfrentan a saqueadores en Veracruz and Así la movilización de locatarios, ante amenaza de posibles saqueos)

police-robbers

Of course, there is no doubt in my mind that the police took their fair share of the spoils as well. Here’s a video captured by the community organization Tepotzotlán Sin Basura. I’m not sure how long it will be available as we all know who controls the media in Mexico.  Four officers were taken into custody after this video was made public.  (See Cops help themselves after looters flee)  Those four officers were not the only guilty parties, but they were the four caught on camera.  Shame!  Shame! (See also Catean domicilio de exregidora priísta; tenía articulos de saqueos)

egypt-mexico-riot

Young men armed with tubes and knives run through the streets of Tultepec, Mexico–oops Egypt.

Another breaking news story about riots in D.F. needs a closer examination.  The photos accompanying the article are not from Mexico City, but Egypt.  (See Usa Radio Fórmula imagen de disturbios en Egipto para “informar” sobre la supuesta violencia en Tultepec, Edomex )  Ok, so brown skinned people rising in revolt, close enough.

There have also been reports of the people taking over gas stations, sending the workers home, and dispensing the gas to those who wish it, free of charge. As that is just bad business, Pemex is planning on closing those gas stations in high-risk areas. (See Insecurity could close 400 gas stations today)

gas-station-worker

It’s not this worker’s fault. When the gas station closed, he was left without pay, not even a tip to take home. Think about the workers when closing the gas stations. At least give them a food allotment to tie them over.

Protestor groups are claiming that the government has sent in their own provokers to stir up trouble. (See Acusan ONG a Eruviel de infiltrar provocadores en protestas anti gasolinazo) The government firmly denies the charge. But how do they explain away this video footage of a protest group getting off the POLICE bus? No comment, of course.

US/Mexico border at Tijuana on January 15, 2016. The Mexican government requested the US deny access into Mexico due to protests.

US/Mexico border at Tijuana on January 15, 2017. The Mexican government requested the US deny access into Mexico due to protests.

Mexico has gone so far as to ask the US to close the border entries at several locations during protests, not because there is any violence, but because the protestors have closed the casetas (toll booths) and without that income, what’s the point in having the entry opened? (Protests prompt closure at U.S.-Mexico border for 3rd weekend)

patrol

So why the continuing protests? (See Gas price protests are still drawing crowds) What’s done is done, right? Suck it up and move on. Well, February 3 will mark an additional 8 percent increase in gas prices throughout the country. Furthermore,  Pemex sells gas in the US for half of what it charges for gas in Mexico. Where’s the economic necessity in that? (See Gasolinazo: Mexican Energy Minister Has Stake in Gas Stations)

raise-salary

So who pays the difference? The Mexican people do. The workers, the proletariat, the plebians. Certainly not the elite. (See Mexican representatives give themselves bonus of 7,500 dollars)

And I’m afraid this is just the beginning. (See More poverty due to gas prices: experts, Consumers shafted for gasoline, tortillas)

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