Mexicans are livid because President-elect Donald Trump is keeping the promises he made on the campaign trail to the American people, and Mexico is feeling the heat.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Thursday that the Mexican government will raise the price of gas at the pump, the latest in a slew of bad news for the people of Mexico, as the country is heavily dependent on gas imports. Following the announcement, large numbers of Mexican citizens took to the streets, looting and rioting as news broke that gas prices would rise as much as 20 percent in one weekend.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) January 5, 2017
Protests erupted all over Mexico over skyrocketing gas prices pic.twitter.com/bvwJfTBdTJ
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 4, 2017
While many Mexicans are angry over soaring gas prices, the most recent outburst is likely due to a culmination of ills plaguing the nation: corruption, historic homicide rates, a vibrant drug trafficking economy, and a recent onslaught of attacks from President-elect Donald Trump.
Trump promised throughout the course of his presidential campaign that companies would pay for moving operations overseas, and, in particular, to Mexico. Trump promised to “build a wall,” along the U.S. shared border with Mexico, and to introduce stricter immigration and trade policies. All of these promises have fostered a great deal of unrest in Mexico, as the nation gears up for the incoming Trump administration.
The fear among the Mexican people is not unwarranted, since Trump is living up to his promise to be tough on multinational corporations. Trump went on a Twitter tirade against General Motors Corporation for exporting car manufacturing to Mexico, after which Ford announced the next day that it was cancelling plans to build a $1.6 billion car manufacturing plant in Mexico. Trump also threatened Toyota last Thursday, tweeting out if the company goes through with its plan to build cars in Baja, Mexico, the firm will face a “big border tax.” Trump’s warnings to these companies seem to have mainly impacted Mexico. The Mexican Peso hit record lows last week after Trump went after General Motors and Toyota.
General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2017
“The market is increasingly convinced Donald Trump wasn’t kidding around about tackling Mexico and production in Mexico,” Currency Analyst, Adam Button, told reporters.
Mexico is outraged, not just at Donald Trump, but with their own president. Shortly after announcing that gas prices would rise significantly, social media exploded with policy recommendations for President Nieto, many of them showing their disgust for the current administration, the New York Times reports. Nieto’s approval ratings are now below 25 percent, and the Mexican president appears to be struggling to stoke national moral.
Mexico voted in October to end the state’s monopoly over the energy industry, and allow gas prices to fluctuate based on the market forces of supply and demand. The country decided to stop subsidizing the energy sector in hopes that the government would be able to allocate more of its discretionary funds towards social programs.
Mexico imports over half of its gasoline from the U.S., and Trump’s recent tirade against businesses with operations in Mexico sent the Peso tumbling, making gas imports that much more burdensome.
Presumably sparked by the price increase, and further fueled by outrage over Trump’s recent comments, Mexicans began rioting. Protestors staged marches and blocked traffic on major highways.
While looting and criminal activity largely subsided by Sunday evening, protests are still ongoing.
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