MEXICO CITY – The leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) said Monday it would fight to scrap the fuel price increases that took effect on Jan. 1 in Mexico, setting off nationwide protests.
“We say, ‘No to the gasoline increase,’ because the government wants to deceive us with false arguments, saying it is a product of other factors and other international issues. But this is the fruit of the energy reforms,” PRD secretary-general Beatriz Mojica said during a protest in Mexico City.
Mojica, who was accompanied by about 100 supporters, said the PRD opposed the energy industry reforms, which opened the sector to private investment after nearly eight decades under a state monopoly, in 2013.
The 14 percent to 20 percent hikes in fuel prices that took effect on New Year’s Day will affect the basic basket of essential goods and public transit systems, the PRD official said.
“There are other ways, you have to tighten your belt, and the federal government has not shown us real austerity programs,” Mojica said.
The PRD official took a shot at Peña Nieto, who told Mexicans last week in an address that there was nothing the government could do about the fuel price increases, saying that her party had “lots of ideas.”
The government can take measures to reduce fuel theft and invest more in refineries, Mojica said.
The Mexican oil industry has limited refining capacity and much of the gasoline used in the country is imported.
PRD members of Congress will work to scrap the fuel price hikes and “revise the energy reforms” in an effort to “create other conditions for the people,” Mojica said.
The fuel price increases angered people across Mexico, triggering nationwide protests and looting that left at least six people dead and more than 1,500 others under arrest.