Sunday, 15 January 2017

Catching Up on Mexico and other topics

     We had a little under a couple of week's stay down at our little mud hut on the edge of civilisation and at the face of the Sierra Madre Oriental.   It was a remarkably arduous period with a prolonged periods (for the area) of temperatures hovering from 32 to 39 and night, for four days calendar days and three nights.
(Left to Right) Cleopatra, Calico,
 and Smokey working as heaters
each for the other.

     El Gringo Viejo held out for a couple of days, but finally, as the temperature plunged even in the normally exempt interior of the adobe abode it was obvious that we would have to start burning the precious firewood.   The rule that we should not burn the firewood because there might be a greater need for it later had lost its lustre.  If not now, then when?....and if not here, then where? became the new general orders.
     There were a couple of the distant, really high peaks to our west and northwest that had snow, especially the Pen~a Nevada at 13,000 fasl and the Cerro Potosi that is just shy of 11,000 fasl .   Such were the conditions  this before departure, but the area was already beginning to show signs of entering into an early Spring episode as we departed early yesterday, Saturday, at 06:50, nearing daybreak.

     These are nice little collateral tales, but during these times Mexico really had a seizure that overshadowed even the misery of enduring Winter for this Old Gringo.  To wit:


    To the right one can see a blockade of a PEMEX station between Cd. Juarez and Chihuahua, Chihuahua.   This scene was repeated in several score places across the Republic during the period from 3 January to around the 10th of this month.
      The Palacio de Gobierno (State Capitol Building) in Monterrey was badly damaged by rioting vandals.  They destroyed many of the impressive stained glass portraits of venerable 
personages of the State of Nuevo Leon during the centuries.   Public and private property damages throughout the Republic totaled "easily over a billion dollars" according to one reliable analyst.
     If there was any positive information to come out of this matter it was that the police, private security guards, and military stood up to and into the anarchists and looters.  There were several thousand arrests in scores and hundreds of sites.  Particularly hurt were middle and high end commercial properties and several capital buildings and county main buildings in major provincial cities.  Even our capital city of Ciudad Victoria there were significant albeit brief disorders.  Thankfully, things calmed down as quickly as they had ignited.

     The aftermath will be slow to heal.  There is considerable bitterness at all levels against the present administration; i.e.- President Ernesto Pen~a Nieto et al, and "The Oligarchy of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional. 
     The arbitrary raising of prices on gasoline and diesel was a shock foisted on people who, as with most Americans, have no idea of what government control and market forces can do to foul up natural law.   Mexico, since the expropriation in 1938, has used the state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos as a monopolistic foil that slays many of the Left's ogres as well as working to enslave people to a certain customary dependence upon The Government.
     As I went down and back this last time, it was necessary to consider that many PEMEX stations were being shut down, blockaded, and /or sabotaged.   Many had been unable to off-load combustibles, be they high-test Supreme gasoline (half of which is supplied by EXXON - MOBIL), regular Green Pump, or diesel fuel, and therefore had had to literally shut down, save for personnel to at least throw the pump switches off in case of fire or whatever.
     The price of fuel had been increased a little more than 20% overnight, bringing the Supreme to around 3.90 or thereabouts in American dollars per gallon.  The regular fuel and diesel rose up to 3.45 plus or minus while other basic commodities and price controlled things were rising at or near the same rate or a little less.   It was a classic backwards step by statist economists who are attempting to "provide for those who have less" through anti-market price controls and labyrinth-like regulations.

     There was one article published by I believe a major Brit newspaper....perhaps The Guardian, that pointed out that the Mexicans were used to have the National Patrimony (oil) used as a way to "give the people" cheap energy, and "the people" resented having their "patrimony taken from them".   The reporter / observer was and probably remains a willing fool, and probably is making similar banal and inane statemenst in articles being dispatched even as your humble servant clatters away here in his cave.
     Diesel was used for about 50 years by the government as a tool to pacify the industrial and transportation "oligarchs".   For instance  even into the 1980s, a good quality diesel fuel was provided for the price of about 18 American cents per gallon.   And as for the notion that the Mexicans participated in some kind of "patrimonial subsidization" at all levels was and is silly to the point of being preposterous.  Mexican fuel prices, save for the "diesel deal" had always been from 60 to at times 100 per cent higher than American fuel at the retail level.
     Much of the difference in the cost was passed along to the Secretaria de Hacienda (Mexican Federal Treasury Secretariat) essentially as a tax levied on the automobile driving middle and upper economic classes.   That practice has continued up to the present, and as of the 3rd day of  January, 2017 it was re-accentuated.  So, as the OROG can clearly see, the GASOLINAZO has been alive and well for a long, long, long time.

    Fortunately for me, my fuel purchases were limited to two stops, one going down and one going back up at the same place, just to have enough....just in case.  I spent 400 pesos (about 20 USD), all told, for the Supreme fuel, which actually renders my old hoss about a 15% mileage increase as opposed to the regular.
     Also, people where we were took everything in stride, and a general calm has been restored.  The national demagogue-in-chief Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), the Left's perpetual candidate for the presidency  every six years for the past quarter century, it seems, has been a little less than strident and hysterical while trying to stake out every left-of-centre vote that exists in Mexico before the next campaign begins in a couple of years.  Mon Diux!!  Seulement deux ans!!

More later,
El Gringo Viejo