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.
This month, authorities in Peru uncovered a widespread baby-trafficking ring in and around the southern city of Arequipa. It appears that the gang operated by preying on poor pregnant women who could not afford to raise a child, and convincing them to sell their babies when they were born. Peruvian authorities have labeled the trafficking ring’s participants ‘Los Desalmados del Tráfico Humano’ (‘The Soulless Human Traffickers’). Although it is seldom discussed in mainstream circles, the trade of newborns and young children is relatively common in developing countries all around the world, including Indonesia and Nigeria.