Mexico: guerillas bomb pipelines
Honda, Nissan, Hershey's, Kellogg, Grupo Modelo and other multinational companies temporarily shut their plants in western Mexico after rebels attacked a key natural gas pipeline. The Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) guerrillas claimed responsibility for the explosions. The government ordered an increase in security at "strategic installations" across Mexico. The state monopoly Pemex said an explosion July 10 and two more last week affected different sections of the same pipeline linking Mexico City to Guadalajara. The explosions forced the evacuation of some communities but caused no injuries. In a statement July 10, the EPR said it was waging a "prolonged people's war" against "the anti-popular government."
The left-opposition Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) issued a statement July 11 casting doubt on the EPR's involvement, saying it "wasn't ruling out" the government's own involvement "to distract people from the grave problems that afflict the country."
Pamela K. Starr, a Latin America analyst at the Eurasia Group in Washington, called the attacks "mostly symbolic, limited by the small size and logistical capacity of the group." George Baker, a Houston-based energy analyst, also dismissed the attacks: "As long as we're talking about just some pipelines in the desert someplace, we don't have to worry about it too much," Baker said. (AP, July 10)
A Bloomberg report painted a grimmer picture, noting that more than 100 companies reduced or suspended production after the blasts, which took place in the central state of Queretaro, cutting supplies to the cities of Guadalajara, Queretaro, Aguascalientes and Leon. In Queretaro alone, 90 factories were left without natural gas as well as 1,000 retail businesses and 58,000 households. Pedro Ruiz, head of the state's industrial chamber (CANACINTRA) said: "This will be a big cost for the companies. This will cause setbacks in production and sales will drop." (Bloomberg, July 11)
The Prosecutor General of the Republic (PGR) said there was no record of the arrest of two supposed EPR supporters reported "disappeared" since May 25, Raymundo Rivera Bravo and Edmundo Reyes Amaya. The state of Oaxaca, where they disappeared, has also denied holding the men. (La Jornada, July 11)
Meanwhile, an apparent accidental leak in a Pemex gasoline pipeline in the Mexico City district of Iztapalapa caused a road accident that left one youth dead. (El Universal, July 11)