National Guard to be called out to protect gas trucks driversBy Antonio Trujillo | Mon, 08/16/2021 - 08:28
On Wednesday, President López Obrador promised to call out the National Guard to protect those who complained they could not distribute LPG (liquified petroleum gas) due to fear of vandalization and threats, and to guarantee the distribution of this basic good.
During his Daily Press Conference, the president addressed the fears and worries generated by the LPG retailers who participated in last week's strike. As reported by MBN, the strike began on Tuesday morning when all trucks were ordered to remain in their storage yards and were called to stop any distributing efforts. Soon after, the strike went national and, in many cases, in order to keep up the fight, organized protesters made sure no truck could possibly get out from their storage yards; some were even recorded smashing the windows of several units. The strike was called following price caps and controls on LPG imposed by the López Obrador administration, announced on July 31 by the CRE (Energy Regulatory Commission).
The president said that all plaintiffs and complaints from retailers that fear job and income reductions have been attended,, explaining this is a “transitory strategy” aimed at balancing out prices and protecting the income of Mexican families that could be adversely affected by out-of-control prices. Comparing his offensive to the administration’s 2019’ fight against huachicoleo (oil thievery), the president reassured the government won’t back down and is confident that the majority of people, “as it did back then,” he stated, will support his move.
López Obrador said the National Guard would not be used to placate protests or break off conflicts amongst distributors or commissioners, but its only function would be to protect trucks and consumers.
In other attempts at defusing the severity of the strike, President López Obrador had threatened to jail those who “fault their obligations and refuse to provide the service.” Furthermore, MBN reported that industry analysts and international organizations alike have offered their words in regards to the price caps, ranging from COPARMEX’s assertion of “irreversible effects for Mexico’s economy and competitiveness” to IHS Markit's less drastic reporting of other Latin American governments “evaluating market intervention,” due to LPG’s key role in the region.
The Mexican government has announced efforts to help consumers, including an app that helps users monitor daily gas prices in real time, in order to avoid abuses and frauds, and, more importantly, the launching of the government’s own gas company Bienestar (Wellness), to be rolled out first in Mexico City, where profit margins for the sector are greater, and subsequently to the rest of the country.