According to Reuters, Tabasco is a state in southern Mexico that relies heavily on the oil industry, which has been hit hard by lower prices, troubled energy reform, and worsening gang violence. The state has seen a surge of kidnappings, extortion, murder, and other crimes, some of which target Pemex, the state-owned oil company, and its employees. Many locals have lost their jobs, income, and security, and some have sought asylum in other countries.
The situation worsened in September 2023, when a series of violent incidents occurred in different parts of the state.
According to El Informador, hooded men burned two houses in the town of Cárdenas, one of which belonged to a local government official. The governor of Tabasco denied that any organized crime groups were operating in the state, and blamed the attacks on social discontent and political interests.
In another incident, a group of armed men blocked several roads and highways in the state and set fire to vehicles and gas stations. They also attacked the house of a former Pemex worker, who was accused of being involved in corruption and fraud. The attackers left a message demanding justice and accusing the authorities of being complicit with the oil company.
The violence and instability in Tabasco have raised concerns among the residents, the oil industry, and the federal government. The state is also the home of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has promised to revitalize the oil sector and combat corruption and crime. However, his critics say that his policies have failed to deliver results and have worsened the economic and social problems in the state.
Reports from local media suggested that it was an attack directed against the Secretary of Public Security and Citizen Protection of the government of Tabasco, Hernández Bermúdez Requena.
However, local authorities soon rejected this version, calling it unfounded. Tabasco is the home state of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
This was announced by Juan Carlos Castillejos, spokesperson for the government headed by Carlos Manuel Merino, through social networks.
“As the institutional spokesperson for the government of Tabasco, I want to categorically deny recent rumors about an alleged armed attack against Hernán Bermúdez. The information disseminated lacks veracity, and it is crucial to avoid the spread of fake news,” declared Castillejos.
In addition, he called on citizens to remain calm, ensuring that local authorities are committed to guaranteeing the safety of the inhabitants of Tabasco.
Later, the same Secretary of Public Security, Hernán Bermúdez Requena, came out to deny an attack against him, ensuring that he and his family were fine. However, he admitted that there was a police mobilization near his house.
En llamas tierra de AMLO.— Jesús Rubén Peña (@revistacodigo21) December 23, 2023
Grupo criminal realiza de manera simultánea quema de vehículos, narcobloqueos y balaceras en Villahermosa, Paraíso y otras ciudades de Tabasco.
Medios reportan que presuntamente fueron incendiados reclusorios de Villahermosa y Comalcalco. pic.twitter.com/Bff9YxR5PD
Hours later, burning vehicles such as cargo trailers, cars, and trucks began to be reported in different parts of the municipality of Centro.
According to reports from the State Institute of Civil Projects, fire personnel from the Guayabal, Norte, and Planicie bases apply an emergency response protocol for vehicle fires on several roads in that state. In addition, videos and photos circulated through social networks about the burning of cars at three points on the Villahermosa-Frontera highway, one near the Carlos Pellicer area; another at the entrance to Tercer Milenio, and one more at the junction to Tamulté de las Sábanas.
Sources: Reuters / El Informador / Excelsior