At least 15 mayors have received threats from gangs of fuel thieves, according to a political party official, who is calling on the federal government to cooperate more with state and municipal authorities to combat them.
Ángel Ávila Romero, a member of the national executive of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), told reporters Saturday that fuel thieves, known as huachicoleros, warn mayors “not to interfere” and to “let them work.”
He said that among those who have been threatened is Pedro Porras, mayor of Tezontepec de Aldama, a municipality in Hidalgo that adjoins Tlahuelilpan, where more than 100 people were killed in a petroleum pipeline explosion on January 18.
“Other mayors have approached mainly state authorities [to report the threats] but they don’t get a clear answer,” Ávila said.
The party official charged that the federal government’s strategy to fight fuel theft is not well-coordinated with municipal and state-level authorities.
“The federal government has forgotten that a large part of the preventative strategy against fuel theft has to do with state and municipal coordination and protection of mayors who have been threatened by the fuel theft cartels,” Ávila said.
“. . . It’s a good thing that the army is patrolling the pipelines, but it’s not enough,” he said.
Ávila described the threats as “extremely serious,” adding that “hopefully there’s a response” from the federal government and better coordination of the anti-fuel theft strategy between all three levels of government.
If President López Obrador doesn’t work with mayors his strategy will fail, he said.
Ávila also contended that authorities in states where López Obrador’s Morena party is in power have had “direct access to members of the federal cabinet” to discuss the strategy and the government’s response to the gasoline shortages that affected a large part of the country.
He pointed out that Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum was also afforded a meeting with Pemex CEO Octavio Romero.
However, in states such as Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato and Querétaro, all of which suffered from the shortages, governors haven’t had the same level of access to federal authorities, Ávila claimed.
“. . . What I see is unequal treatment,” he said.
Source: El Universal (sp)