Ask A Mexican

This week we asked: How much do you plan on spending on gifts this Christmas? What are you buying for your family? Your kids?


At the very beginning of the year, a gasoline shortage descended on many parts of mainland Mexico. The President, (AMLO), announced he was fighting the gasoline pipeline thieves popularly called huachicoleros. Nobody really knows what that word means, by the way.

Many people said there was no way Pemex was working illegally but some people say a pipe can’t be tapped unless an inside engineer lowers the pressure first. Some fuel thieves claim they can do it without arranging an inside job.

The shortage is a combination of thieves taking so much fuel and the President shutting some pipes down to save the gasoline from being stolen.

The current president blames previous presidents: Peña Nieto, Calderón, Fox and Cedillo because it was the people they placed in Pemex who are milking the company.

 AMLO decided to take Pemex into his own hands, and so far, three people were removed from their jobs and put straight into jail. According to his calculations, in three years Mexico could save enough money not snatched by the Pemex officials to pay for another refinery, making the overall price for the precious liquid lower than it has ever been.

AMLO has teamed up with over a dozen organizations to help him fight huachicoleos. However, so far this whole plan has only made life uncomfortable for Mexicans. As soon as his actions were announced, people started to panic fill. Three days later, shortages were reported. Cars were left abandoned on the side of roads and streets. Some people camped out for days to get gas.


We asked six random Mexicans,  do you agree with AMLO, that he should close down the pipelines and create gasoline shortages as a way to stop the stealing of gasoline? Here is what they said.


1. Daniel Ortega, 29, accountant.

No, I don’t agree with him. Our entire workforce runs on gasoline and he is punishing everyone for actions of a few. I think there should be an easier a smarter way to end the problem, because we are all suffering. Maybe if he turned to our neighboring countries and asked them, because no other country has had a problem like this. I understand that the problem is us as the people, because the huachicoleros has been doing it for a very long time but only the amateurs have been involved in the explosions. I’m not saying it’s right but at least we could be smarter about it.


2. Oscar Reynoso, 42, driver.

I agree one hundred percent with him, and he is the president for a reason. This situation has been so bad for such a long time that it’s going to be extra difficult to fight. We could take advantage of this; we are one of the countries with the highest obesity numbers, and a little exercise could help. We could use more public transportation and walk a little more too. If we were solidary with him, we would understand and fight along with him because I am sure we all have heard about the illegal pipe taps from someone.


3. Kevin Morales, 33,

I do not agree with him one bit. These problems should be fought directly, not in such a way that the population is being affected like this. He as a president I am sure that is stealing from some other place, but he is being discreet. Things worked fine the way they were, and there is no way he will lower gasoline prices, not after so many years of gasoline increasing the way it has. He is neurotic and way too old to do this.


4. Alicia Lopez, 46, secretary.

I am one hundred percent on board with ending the illegal acts with gasoline, but I don’t think AMLO is doing things right. And if this were to be the only way, I think it would only be fair to make a better planning with bicycles and public transportation. Gasoline in other countries is very cheap, and there are not as many cars as the Mexican families are used to have. In Canada and the United states there are carpool lanes, in Mexico those lanes would be always used for anyone who was not carpooling. I think education is key and should be part of his plan.


5. Hilda Barron, 62, housewife.

I don’t care much for whatever he said but I have seen people struggle with all this craziness. I have never owned a car anyways. A friend of mine has not been able to deliver her products because of the shortage and members of my family have been penalized for getting late to work, as they were used to getting there by car and have not calculated their commute times properly.


6. Angelica Vega, 72, retired.

If this nightmare is going to help us in the future, then I’m all for it. If gasoline prices are dropping and we all get to enjoy crime free transportation, then fine. But of this fight is only going to end up being too hard or nothing changes then this is not worth it. I think there should be so many more steps to take but if this is his approach and his advisors think it will do, I hope and pray it will help.