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.