Mexico’s new government is resorting to drastic measures against massive petrol attacks: pipelines have been shut down. But now the megacity Mexico City threatens to stagnate.
At one o’clock in the morning, in the middle of Mexico City, gas station attendant Ruben Linares and his colleagues are waiting for a new gasoline delivery. With them: a kilometer-long queue of desperate drivers. Since the morning the petrol pumps are still. „We’ve never experienced anything like that, fuel shortage!“ Linares scolds. Tankkeepers lived off the tips – „and if there’s no fuel, we do not deserve anything, it’s that simple.“
For four days, the war of nerves for the inhabitants of the megacity has been going on: Finding gas stations that are still open, standing for hours – sometimes for nothing, because it was not enough for everyone -, congestion by the waiting in front of the still open gas stations.
Overnight, the new government has declared war on gasoline thieves, the „huachicoleros,“ and shut down the pipelines. The criminals had tapped her. The damage amounted to about 2.7 billion euros in 2018. For years, the state was unable to stop the criminals.
For the first time is now being investigated against them, the main pipelines protected by the military. The new distribution system works only on tanker trucks. 5000 are in action, but that’s obviously not enough. Gasoline is scarce in the capital and other major cities of the oil-producing country of Mexico. Seven states are affected by the shortage.
Also in the morning, many gas stations have not yet received their longed for delivery. Taxi driver Oscar Mota has been waiting for two hours at one which has been supplied. He thinks it’s good that the president is doing something about the „huachicoleros,“ he says. „But it does us harm, we have to do two or three hours to get just as much fuel as they want to give us, and nobody pays me that time.“
Good will, bad planning?
Many in the queue acknowledge the good will of the government to do something about organized crime, but criticize the planning. In the metropolis of millions with their poor public transport network, all are affected by the lack of gasoline. Laura Carreon will not be able to drive her children to school tomorrow if she does not get gasoline today: „I hope this is all for a good cause,“ she says. Somewhere you have to start, if you want to change things. „I hope our snake standing is worth it.“
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador calls patience on the people and makes clear who has the fuel tap in his hand. „We’ll see who’s the stronger, and the criminals are losing their income now.“ Of course, the measures would cause problems. Therefore, he was grateful to the population for their support. „Help us, so that there is no panic, remember that we have enough gas!“ Everything is just a matter of distribution.
When it will give enough gasoline is unclear. Already some capital fails from the lack: In social networks the liter of gasoline is offered at twice the price.