Peña Nieto with two signatories to a new accord to support families. At right, the odd man out, Coparmex head de Hoyos Walther. Peña Nieto with two signatories to a new accord to support families. At right, the odd man out, Coparmex head de Hoyos Walther.

More poverty due to gas prices: experts

Measures to mitigate effects on families earn harsh criticism from employers' group

The January 1 increase in gasoline prices could finish up creating a “nation-wide surge of impoverishment.”


That was a warning issued by a group of specialists interviewed by the newspaper El Universal, who said the negative impacts of the so-called gasolinazo will particularly affect people who are on the brink of poverty.

The daily minimum wage of 80.04 pesos, which went up the same day as gas prices, was insufficient considering the fuel price hike, but was a “stillborn” move, as prices of basic goods were already on the rise, said the president of the Institute for Democratic Transition Studies (IETD).

As an example, the price of beans increased by 12% in December. With the inevitable rise brought upon by the new gasoline prices, the minimum wage, which went up 9.6%, is insufficient, said Ricardo Becerra Laguna.

Héctor Villarreal, director of the Center of Economic and Budgetary Studies, said price increases will make the basic basket of goods inaccessible for many families.

“There’s [a part of the] population at risk of falling into poverty, put in a vulnerable position after the change in [gas] prices. I think that around 10 million people are at risk, but it is too soon to say for certain. It would be irresponsible to say that those 10 million will fall into poverty.”

This supposition could well depend on the Bank of Mexico’s interest rate, he added.


The coordinator of the non-governmental organization Citizens’ Action Against Poverty believes that society must demand the government implement measures to keep prices from spiraling out of control.

One such measure materialized in the recently signed Agreement for the Economic Strengthening and Protection of the Family Economy which, although “late and insufficient, shows that if Mexican society demands it, progress can be achieved,” said Rogelio Gómez Hermosillo.

That agreement, signed Monday by President Enrique Peña Nieto and business and labor leaders, sets out several initiatives intended to support Mexican families.

Among them: implement actions that help maintain stable prices of basic goods, modernize public transportation and improve access to credit, encourage investment and employment and strengthen the culture of lawfulness and the rule of law.

Not everyone was on side Monday with the document. One of Mexico’s leading business organizations, Coparmex, refused to sign on the grounds that such an accord required clear objectives and not “an improvised consensus.”

The business group charged that the agreement was incomplete, having been produced in just three days, was not a result of social consensus and included no metrics that would serve to evaluate its results. On top of that, it was delivered to Coparmex only two hours before the official signing.

The document served only as part of a communications strategy intended to improve the government’s image, the organization claimed.

“Coparmex has been recognized by society as the conscience of the private sector. Well then, it is precisely that conscience that today prevents us from subscribing to this improvised, incomplete and insufficient agreement,” said national president Gustavo de Hoyos Walther on Monday.

On Tuesday, Coparmex proposed its own measures, one of which was a one-peso reduction in gasoline prices. Another was the elimination of 37 social programs it says are duplicated.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp), El Sol de México (sp)

Stories from our archives that you might enjoy

  • Güerito

    Thanks, MND, better late than never.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gustavo de Hoyos Walther soon mentioned as a possible independent candidate for President in 2018.

  • Pesobill

    Well , if 15% increase in gas makes you “poor” , no change as you were poor before . Mexico’s true poverty rate is 70% of the country and a very small middle class and even smaller well off class. Gas was more when I lived in Mexico and there were no looting ,riots etc..
    Mexico is just nuts and getting worse by the month . Build the wall ,close the border to all but commerce and bring in E-Verify to all employees and let’s be rid of opportunistic people who have zero right to be in the USA..

  • Güerito

    Mexico Gasoline Crisis: Employers Confederation Has Courage to Say “No” to Peña Nieto’s Useless Pact:

    “Coparmex hit the nail on the head: we are not here for lies or improvisations. Not anymore.

    With the resounding “no” to the President, Coparmex reminded all of us Mexicans of one thing: to stand strong in the midst of a credibility crisis like the current one is not only necessary, but it is an ethical obligation.

    We all know that nothing will happen with the pact the president is proposing. It is impossible to expect something to change when what we see is a result of what happened, media damage control, and an urgency to avoid protests and public outrage.

    But it is one thing to know it, and another to denounce it. But, that is what Coparmex did: it called attention to the improvisation and also made an informed, reasonable counterproposal. “Publicity-seeking,” critics will say. I don’t think so. Since the demonstration at the Angel of Independence [held last year to protest the 3 of 3 law that would require anyone doing business with the government to make their tax forms and assets public, while not requiring officials to do so.], the confederation has been showing for a while that it truly wants to be the conscience of the Mexican business community.

    The rest of the organizations that signed the pact do not. With their complicity, they missed a valuable opportunity to remind their representatives which side they are on.

    They went back to being puppets for a discredited president marked by corruption.”

  • Henry Wilson

    “the chickens are coming home to roost”. history proves that eventually a nation in which a small percentage of the people own or control almost all of the nations wealth, destroying or preventing the creation of the middle class, disaster will befall that nation. in the case of mexico, and most of latin america., the only reason it has taken this long to start the melt down is the docility of the people in the face of a vicious totally corrupt government and public institutional system. when the people cant buy bread to feed their kids…the party will be over for these mafiosos at the top. the necktie parties will then begin in earnest.

    • Dave Warren

      The rich can easily pay better wages.There is no excuse in my opinion. Companies that were in the US made money and now they are here making way more money. Mex could double or triple daily wage for workers.

      • Henry Wilson

        agreed. mexico and most of latin america have been easy pickings and a gravy train for the capitalists, both domestic and foreign. that is why they are so upset with trump for he plans to end their little rip off paradise.

  • K. Chris C.

    Reminds me of a game of Three-Card Monte with a dealer and two shills.
    “Find the queen to know what ails you. Oh, I’m sorry, you lose. The queen was over here.”

    An American citizen, not US subject.