Mexico is experiencing fuel shortages as Lopez Obrador attempts to combat widespread fuel theft and corruption.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has asked the public for patience and said the country was “completely destroyed” by previous administrations, with several cities and states experiencing fuel shortages.
“I say it in a responsible manner: [the government] was not destined to help the people; the government was a broker for corruption,” said Lopez Obrador during a speech at Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero, on Friday. “Now we have to remake the government as an instrument at the service of society, at the service of the people.”
The president was visiting the town to launch a program for the elderly and announced future measures to help local agriculture.
“Everything saved up by stopping corruption and being a humble and austere government will go to development projects and to promote productive activities.
"We will support producers, land owners, community land and small owners,” AMLO promised while committing to deliver fertilizers and other supplies and set a fair price for their products so Campesinos “don’t grow illicit crops” instead.
The comments were also in reference to the fuel shortages caused by the new strategy implemented by Lopez Obrador to combat stealing from the state-owned petroleum company’s (Pemex) pipelines.
He denounced sabotage against one of the pipelines that supply Mexico City and two other states as security forces try to secure the routes and prevent further illegal valves being used.
“We’re repairing the pipelines. Fortunately we have no gas scarcity, there’s enough. We won’t get tired. Let’s see who gets tired first, but I can assure you we will put everything in order,” he said.
Lopez Obrador announced the plan to combat fuel stealing, known as 'huachicoleo,' on December 27, saying that such theft costs the state more than US$3 billion every year.
On December 20, security officers began monitoring the state-owned fuel company’s pipelines. In January, AMLO closed them, opting instead to transport fuel by road in supervised tanker trucks.
Even though there’s enough fuel, the strategy and collective panic caused shortages in several cities, leaving people facing long queues to get their tanks filled.
At Tlapa de Comonfort, Lopez Obrador was welcomed by the state governor, Hector Astudillo, who was interrupted by the public’s jeering. The president asked the people to behave and vote if they wanted the governor to continue to speech by raising their hands, concluding that it had been a tie and letting him continue.