As the US government continues to pander to the farm states by subsidizing the price of ethanol and encouraging its use as an energy fuel, our southern neighbors are feeling the pinch.
According to a February 1, 2007 article on CNN.com, there have been mass protests over a dramatic rise in the cost of corn based tortillas, a staple of the Mexican diet. For many US consumers, it is hard to imagine how the price of such a product can spark any kind of reaction at all, but here is a quote from the article titled Mexican official downplays protest over tortilla prices:
Since taking office December 1 after a disputed election, Calderon has drawn his greatest criticism for failing to control the largest tortilla price rise in decades.
Many Mexicans are angry about tortilla prices that have doubled over the last year to roughly 10 pesos (91 cents) per kilogram (2.2 pounds).
With the new prices, workers earning the minimum wage could spend a third of their earnings on tortillas for their families.
I find it interesting that CNN played the story as a battle against actions or inactions taken by the Mexican government, while Earthtimes.org found a different cause for the problem in a post titled Mexicans march in protest against soaring tortilla price:
MEXICO CITY: Several thousands of Mexicans marched through the capital Mexico City Wednesday protesting against the rising price of tortillas, the flat bread that constitutes the staple diet for the poor in the country.
The higher demand for corn in the U.S. to make ethanol has sent its prices soaring, which in turn has affected price of tortilla, which is mostly made of corn flour. According to estimates, there has been a 400 per cent increase in the price of the bread in recent times. Mexico imports corn from the U.S. to meet shortages in its domestic production.