By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO
As millions of Mexicans look forward to an uncertain future in terms of transport because of the growing nationwide shortage of gasoline and other fuels, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) decided to look instead to the country’s past with the announcement on Friday, Jan. 11, that 2019 will be dedicated to the memory of Mexican revolutionist Emiliano Zapata Salazar.
Speaking at his daily early morning press conference at the National Palace and surrounded by descendants of the Morelos-born peasant leader of Mexico’s 1910 Revolution, AMLO said that the year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the so-called Caudillo del Sur (Military Leader of the South), will be dedicated to helping the nation’s most underprivileged and marginalized communities, especially young people, the handicapped and the elderly.
AMLO said that “for the good of all,” he planned to put into a practice a program dedicated “first and foremost to the poor.”
During the conference, the leftist populist Mexican president, who took office on Dec. 1, also announced a program to provide apprenticeship programs to at least 2.6 million youths, with a monthly salary of 3,600 pesos during their training period.
AMLO also announced a program to support up to 1 million impoverished physically and mentally challenged Mexicans with a monthly stipend of 1,274 pesos, as well as doubling the monthly stipend to 1,200 pesos a month for up to 8 million underprivileged elderly.
But the majority of the press attending the press conference were far more concerned with the growing shortage of gasoline that has now seriously affected at least seven states, as well as Mexico City, asking what the president was doing to solve the problem, which is rooted in a program he has launched to combat the theft of the precious fuel.
AMLO said that more 60 billion pesos in fuel were stolen last year as a result of impunity within the state-run Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) oil company and a corrupt system of distribution.
In order to halt this illicit loss of oil, AMLO has ordered the closure of a number of gasoline ducts across Mexico
, particularly in the central region of the country, and the use of more than 4,000 members of the military to supervise the remaining ducts.
To compensate for the areas where gasoline is no longer being distributed via the ducts, AMLO had enlisted a system of tankers to handle distribution, but the tankers have not been able to meet demand and shortages are rampant, with long lines at many filling stations snaking around blocks and many other stations either closed or limiting sales to 10 liters.
In response to the media questions, AMLO repeated his appeal for the Mexican people to be patient while the gasoline situation normalizes and said that his government is working diligently to resolve the problem.
He also pointed out that since he launched the program to halt the robbery gasoline, the government has been able to prevent about 300 million pesos in gasoline robberies.