The price of tacos will be going up too. The price of tacos will be going up too.

Thousands protest fuel price increases

And a taco vendor warns his prices will have to go up too, by as much as 20%

Thousands of Mexicans rallied yesterday against the big increase in fuel prices, taking to different forms of protest in the streets, on beaches and even on the water.

In the country’s capital, over 200 people marched from the Ángel de la Independencia  to the zócalo, while in the state of Guerrero it was taxi and public transit drivers who protested, along with representatives of the left-leaning Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and the National Renovation Movement (Morena).

In Zihuatanejo, protesters blocked four gas stations and reproached President Enrique Peña Nieto for a campaign promise that he would lower fuel prices.

In Acapulco, PRD and Morena members embarked on a boat to protest at a Navy facility, and marched on several beaches of the port city as well.

Citizens of the Tepeji del Río municipality in Hidalgo have been protesting for three days against the federal government’s decision to raise fuel prices, while gas stations reported shortages and shut down their operations on the last days of December.

In Saltillo, capital of Coahuila, close to 1,000 people took to the streets and marched to the state Congress, where they demanded their local and federal lawmakers reverse the price hike, and called for the resignation of Peña Nieto and state Governor Rubén Moreira.

Protesters in Monterrey, capital of Nuevo León, focused on transportation companies, warning them not to use the gas price hike as an excuse to increase their fares, which they said are already high.

Yesterday saw the fourth day of protests in Ciudad Victoria, capital of Tamaulipas while a small protest of 20 people was reported in La Paz, Baja California Sur.

One gas station in that municipality limited its sale to 300 pesos per customer on December 31, a limit was was lifted after midnight.

Similar conditions were placed the same day by a gas station in the community of Guerrero Negro in Mulegé. But soon after a sign attributed to the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) had been posted.

It was addressed a local gas station owner: “Humberto Ibarra, if you don’t give away 40 liters of gasoline between 9:00am and 5:00pm to the people of Guerrero Negro, from whom you have stolen so much, we are going to burn your gas stations. We’re here and we didn’t come for nothing.”

Today a group of protesters gathered outside the offices of the Supreme Court to demand it intervene on the grounds that the price increases violate human rights.

Possible political fallout from the new prices doesn’t worry the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, according to its national president, Enrique Ochoa Reza, who said the party is leading in its polling in the State of México, Coahuila and Nayarit when its numbers are combined with those of allied parties.

He also defended the fuel price rise, saying it was necessary that the price at the pump take into account the real cost of the fuel. Ochoa said maintaining artificial prices has been costing taxpayers 200 billion pesos annually.

To continue subsidizing fuel for another year would have required spending cutbacks or tax increases totaling the same amount. A cutback of that magnitude would represent half the annual budget of IMSS, the national health service, he said.

However, economists and private-sector interests worry about the domino effect of higher fuel prices on another sectors of the economy and increased inflationary pressures.

One such sector is food. A taco vendor in San Luis Potosí warns the price of the traditional tortilla dish will rise 15%-20%.

The owner of Los Toreados said a taco costing five pesos would probably have go to six “because everything will go up, from the meat, the tortilla, the [propane] gas, the vegetables; that’s going to affect us.”

Prices have remained unchanged for the last two years, said Ángel Castillo Martínez, despite other, previous cost increases, but this time he would be unable to avoid raising the price of his tacos.

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

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