Some of you have heard about the unrest in Mexico, primarily due to several hikes in gasoline prices. Gasoline prices are set to increase by at least 20%, to somewhere around $3.17 U.S. Keep in mind that Mexico’s minimum wage hovers around $4 per day. Gas prices not only affect the percentage of the population that owns cars, they also affect public transportation costs. Check out a graph of gas prices below. For many years, Mexico’s gasoline price was actually lower than the U.S., but in recent years it has become more expensive, and announced gas price hikes will only exacerbate that difference.
We flew back to Mexico from PA last night without incident. Generally speaking riots and protests are limited to a handful of areas in the country (so far). One of those areas, however, is where we live, with highways being blocked off near Ixtapaluca and Chalco. Another area is Ecatepec, where Mayra’s parents live.
I went to Walmart this morning to find one of the two main entrances closed, and the other entrance half open and surrounded by perhaps 20 police with machine guns. A helicopter did a fly-over as I was on my way to the store. In the store I shared an aisle for a while with two police decked out in full battle gear. That was fun. Hey, they have to eat too!
It’s hard to know where this will go. As Mexico continues living a perpetual economic crisis (really), their “elected” representatives vote themselves generous Christmas bonuses. Corruption scandals are so frequent they have nearly become the norm. The current president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, only won the presidency with 37% of the vote, and his popularity level has never been lower. Most Mexicans believe that their representative democracy has long ago morphed into a Machiavellian oligarchy. The state and huge multinational monopolies pretty much control everything. The government, media and Catholic church have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. I wonder how much longer they will be able to keep that control.
Spiritually, of course, when everything is going to hell, one can more clearly present Heaven. Stability, complacency and certainly wealth are usually not allies to spiritual revival. The church, the true church, thrives on such unrest. C.S. Lewis reminds us: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
We would appreciate your prayers for this beautiful country in the days and months ahead.
*Magna is Mexico’s standard unleaded grade.