Video of border protests posted by Hiram Gonzalez Machi

Anger Erupts in Nogales, Mexico 

January 8, 2017

A video of Nogales, Mexico police firing in the direction of border protesters this afternoon has gone viral on Facebook.

Sunday marked the fifth day of border protests near the border in Nogales, Sonora, as the growing crowds of protesters vent their anger and frustration at a national deregulation of gasoline prices that led to a more than 20 percent increase in prices in the first week of this year, that hit hard in a country whose currency has experienced annual double-digit devaluation every year in each of the last two years.

At the time of publishing, the live Facebook video posted by Nogales journalist Hiram Gonzalez Machi had more than 500,000 views, of which 12,000 viewers who had registered a response to the video (more than 5,500 of them “angry,” more than 800 as “sad,” and the other 4,000-plus registering a “thumbs up” for the protests) and had been shared more than 12,000 times. The video received a constant feed of comments, many coming from other parts of Mexico in support of the Nogales protesters.

More than nine minutes into the video, a group of protesters began throwing large rocks at the group of Sonora state police. In response the police unleashed a barrage of gunshots, fired into the air in the direction of the protesters. During the shooting you can hear Mr. Gonzalez Machi narrating “disparos por parte de las policias, disparos con armas letal” – shots fired by police, shots from lethal weapons.

The video shows the ground littered with expended police shotgun shells and brass casings, and one of the persons interviewed by Gonzalez Machi is holding three of the shells. Although the shots were fired in the direction of the rock throwers and protesters, although none was reported to be injured. On the contrary, the group appeared to be more animated following the violent police outburst.

Update: Click here to see photos of injured protesters posted to Facebook.

The video ends with scenes of protesters boarding a stopped Union Pacific train, and individuals pleading for peace, not violence. That they just want to be heard.

The value of the Mexican peso on January 1, 2015 was 14.74 pesos to the dollar. On the first day of 2016 the peso was valued at 17.27 to the dollar, and on the first day of this year the peso had slid to 20.74 to the dollar. The rapid devaluation was blamed in large part on the drop in international oil prices due to overproduction by OPEC nations that led to a global glut of oil, which had a dramatic impact on the economies of Latin American oil-producing countries like Mexico and Venezuela.

The devaluation of gasoline prices was originally scheduled to take effect next year, but Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto decided to impose the new deregulation this year, supposedly so that its effect would have less impact on the nation’s 2018 elections.

As this is a fluid and growing situation, tourists should be aware of potential delays this may cause to cross-border visitors in the coming days. We will post more local news stories in the coming days as well.

Pimsleur Spanish

visit the virtual nogales website