López Obrador, left, and Alfaro are sparring over fuel shortages. López Obrador, left, and Alfaro are sparring over fuel shortages.

López Obrador and Jalisco governor clash over continuing gasoline shortages

'It is not a matter of publicity, it’s a crisis that requires complete seriousness on the part of the federal government:' Alfaro

The governor of Jalisco has hit back at President López Obrador after the latter described the governor’s comments about the gasoline shortage as a publicity stunt.

Governor Enrique Alfaro took to Twitter on Tuesday to question why gasoline shortages in Jalisco were worse than in other parts of Mexico and to accuse the federal government of abdicating its responsibility to the citizens of the state.

Calling the shortages an “unprecedented crisis” for both Jalisco and the country as a whole, the governor said that if the “federal government doesn’t assume its responsibility and generate certainty for the residents of Jalisco,” his government would take matters into its own hands.

Yesterday, López Obrador dismissed Alfaro’s views as propaganda.

“I’m not going to fall into provocation, with all due respect to the governor, I’m not getting into that, I’m breaking free! . . . He’s not serious, it’s [a] publicity [stunt] . . . Yesterday, I told them that the Salamanca-Guadalajara pipeline was tapped four times, four times!” he told reporters.

“. . . Despite that, the supply to Jalisco has been improving but the governor has been giving interviews saying the opposite, he’s within his rights but so am I, I have the right to not fall into any provocation,” López Obrador continued.

The president rejected any suggestion that the government has given special treatment to Puebla with regard to the supply of gasoline – as Alfaro insinuated – in light of the fact that voters in the state will go to the polls later this year to elect a new governor after the Christmas Eve death of Martha Erika Alonso in a helicopter crash just 10 days after she took office.

“I have the responsibility to guarantee that there is no shortage of gasoline, of fuel, in the whole country. I’m not sectarian, I represent all Mexicans, I’m the president of the republic, I’m the head of state, I’m not the head of a group, a party, a faction, that’s finished . . .” López Obrador said.

Later yesterday, Alfaro went back to Twitter to return fire at the president.

“The gasoline shortage problem in Jalisco is not a matter of publicity, it’s a crisis that requires complete seriousness on the part of the federal government, not to say, ‘I’m breaking free’ of responsibility. I’m not picking a fight, I’m very serious . . .” he wrote.

Beneath his tweet, Alfaro posted a video showing gas stations that are closed in Jalisco and long lines of motorists waiting to fill up at those that remain open.

In subsequent posts, he detailed the severity of the shortages in several municipalities and asked:

“. . .  Should we keep quiet? Do we have to accept that Pemex doesn’t say a single word? Do you seriously think that the governor of Jalisco should say nothing? . . . When are you going to tell us how much longer it will be until the shortage problem is solved?”

The federal government has explained that the gasoline shortages, which persist in at least five states, are the result of López Obrador’s decision to close several major petroleum pipelines as part of the strategy to combat fuel theft.

But there have also been claims that reduced gasoline imports from the United States, inefficiency at Mexico’s oil refineries and insufficient investment in logistics infrastructure have contributed to the shortages.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Universal (sp) 

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