The robbery of oil and gasoline—or huachicoleo, as it’s known in Mexico—has become an increasingly prominent issue in oil-producing countries around the world. In recent weeks, the matter has become a headlining topic in Mexico, where newly-inaugurated President Andrés Manuel López Obrador established controversial reforms to begin combating the crime networks that allow for fuel theft, causing widespread gasoline shortage throughout several states. In an incident related to fuel theft and this recent gasoline shortage, over 80 were killed on Friday, January 18 due to a pipeline explosion in the state of Hidalgo. In light of the President’s crackdown on fuel theft and this recent tragedy, it is imperative to understand what exactly huachicoleo is and why it’s such a big problem today.
At the start of this month, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, often referred to as AMLO, was sworn in as the latest president of Mexico and the first leftist leader to be elected since 2000. He entered office with a relatively high approval rating of 56 percent, considering the 24 percent approval rating of his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, upon leaving office. Following his official ceremony, López Obrador took part in a traditional indigenous ceremony in Mexico City’s Zócalo square (BBC News 2018).
Just last week, Mexico entered a new chapter in history as Andrés Manuel López Obrador, better known as AMLO, secured his position as future president of Mexico in this year’s highly anticipated elections. López Obrador, who founded his own leftist party MORENA (Movimiento Regeneración Nacional) in 2012, led a highly controversial campaign in the past year which led him to decisive victory.
As Mexico’s July elections quickly approach, many are raising concerns regarding potential foul-play from Russia. In December of last year, the U.S.’s former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster alarmed Mexicans and internationals alike when he announced in a speech to the Jamestown Foundation in Washington that evidence of Russian meddling in Mexico’s elections had already been uncovered (Garcia & Torres 2018).
As we move into the New Year, many around the world are at the edge of their seats, awaiting one of the most highly anticipated elections of the year: the Mexican presidential election on July 1. With Enrique Peña Nieto leaving office after the end of his highly contested 6-year term, this year’s elections will play a large role in determining the future of the Mexican economy and party politics.
Over the past few years, Mexico’s financial landscape has been undergoing a painful transformation, largely due to the sudden drop in oil prices seen worldwide. Just ten years ago, 35 percent of the government’s revenue was derived from crude oil production. As of last year, though, this had fallen to 20 percent as prices fell and the Mexican state-owned company Pemex reduced its typical 3.4 million barrel per day (bpd) production rate to around 2.2 million bpd.
A certain atmosphere of “rehearsal” is always present when sub-national or mid-term legislative elections take place with a new race for the national executive already in sight. The electoral dispute for diverse state-level and municipal offices, including the governorship of Mexico’s homonymous metropolitan state (Edomex), on June 4th was no exception.