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Home / World / Gas shortages in Mexico are widespread as the government tries to thwart fuel thieves: NPR

Gas shortages in Mexico are widespread as the government tries to thwart fuel thieves: NPR



On January 8, petrol is bought at a petrol station in Morelia, Michoacan. Michaocan is one of several Mexican states where gasoline shortages have been reported.

Enrique Castro / AFP / Getty Images


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Enrique Castro / AFP / Getty Images

On January 8, petrol is bought at a gas station in Morelia, Michoacan. Michaocan is one of several Mexican states where gasoline shortages have been reported.

Enrique Castro / AFP / Getty Images

Drop by drop, gallons by gallon, thieves have drained the pipelines and coffers of the Mexican government.

Last year, Mexican oil company Pemex stole $ 3 billion in fuel, the country's new president. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, however, has left the crush of many ordinary Mexicans looking for gas.

The government has shifted the transportation of fuel to tankers and railroad cars and away from pipelines that are regularly tapped by thieves. However, the new distribution systems obviously can not keep up with consumer demand. Pemex had to tell customers that they should not panic or hoard fuel .

Significant fuel shortages have been reported in at least six Mexican states in recent days. Empty canisters in hand .

Video by Guanajuato – where the Associated Press reports that 84 percent of gas stations are closed – a kilometer-long series of cars waiting to be replenished.

In Michoacán, a vehicle jam got stuck when he tried to get to the pumps of a gas station. It also reportedly closed some gas stations in Mexico City.

López Obrador, who had promised his job in the fight against corruption, says that the new defensive measures are taking effect and that the thefts of fuel have dropped significantly.

Fuel Thieves – known as huachicoleros – has long been part of Mexican crime, as Rolling Stone has reported. In recent years, however, they have evolved from groups of rags into organized gangs controlled by the country's infamous cartels – and their lucrative robberies were outrageous.

On Tuesday, López Obrador, who has deployed soldiers to secure fuel supplies, said the government has discovered a two-kilometer hose that sucks fuel directly from a refinery. He also said that special camps were built by thieves on pipelines.

López Obrador found last month that even these courageous tactics are still not responsible for the huge amounts of fuel being stolen each year. He said corrupt officials are involved in far-reaching plans to benefit from stolen government oil.

The theft of fuel has also become a lucrative profession for those in poorer parts of the country. As the New York Times states, "Where a farm laborer could earn $ 7 to $ 11 a day … a lookout for the gasoline thieves can bring up to $ 54 a day."

"I ask citizens for their understanding and support because we have to solve this problem together," said López Obrador last week. On Monday he told the Mexicans that he would not resign from his campaign to fight the thieves.

"Let's see who gets tired first: those who steal the fuel or us."


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