Looters during gas price protests. Looters in Veracruz during protests.

Million-peso claim filed for looting

Chain store is the first to file after over 400 stores were targeted during gas price protests

The first of what could well be a large number of insurance claims for losses incurred during vandalism and looting that accompanied gas price protests has been filed by one of the stores that was targeted.

One of Mexico’s biggest chain stores filed the claim for more than 100 million pesos (US $4.56 million), said the president of the Mexican Association of Insurance Institutions, who declined to name the firm but said it was a large one.

Mario Vela Berrondo also lamented what he described as state governments’ failure to take responsibility and act against the looting, which took place during the first week of January.

“At no time did security forces intervene, giving people three hours to rob the stores.

“It is very sad that the state governments did not take responsibility to act as they should have acted.”

Looters appeared very organized and keen to engage in stealing. “The Mexican people do not have the profile of thieves,” said Vela, “so someone sent them and unfortunately they followed . . . .”

The state governors should be brought to account for their inaction against the looting, he said, which was carried out in some cases with criminal intent.

At least 423 stores were looted in the State of México, Veracruz, Chiapas, Hidalgo, Puebla, Mexico City, Querétaro and Nuevo León, according to Cantad, an organization of supermarket and department stores such as Walmart, Chedraui, Soriana, Costco and others.

The State of México was the worst hit: 170 stores were targeted.

Vela, who is also general manager of the insurance firm GNP Seguros, said other stores have yet to file claims.

An Antad spokesman said on January 5, by which time 250 stores had been affected, that the looting was “out of control.”

Source: Forbes (sp)

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