Saturday, September 21, 2013

"The fix is in" on energy reform, says AMLO: new laws "designed for foreign business" will be passed Oct. 15

"Energy reform has been designed for the sole benefit of huge foreign enterprises, for which our last several presidents have been nothing more than puppets" - MORENA leader Manuel López Obrador

Guadalajara -
Leftist politician Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who hopes to lead a massive demonstration in Mexico City tomorrow against pending constitutional amendments which would open the state controlled oil company PEMEX to private investment, complained today that the new laws have already been approved behind the scenes, and will be officially passed Oct. 15.

In his strongest words yet on the subject, the fiery leader of the National Regeneration Movement, or MORENA, lashed out at the PRI administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto, who has invested significant political capital in the controversial reforms:

"Energy reform has been designed for foreigners. It was sketched out from abroad, for the benefit of huge foreign enterprises which want to enter into the national political landscape - businesses with money, power, and influence, for which our last several presidents have been nothing but puppets."

Congressional hearings and debate on the proposed amendments will begin next week. López Obrador was invited to attend and address the senate, but yesterday he refused, calling the proceedings "a farce." Without energy reform, Mexico will need 60 years to reach U.S. output.

The two time leftist presidential candidate, who lost an extremely close race in 2006 and placed a respectable second in 2012, told the press today that he has seen PRI documents proving that the government already has the necessary votes lined up. "It's all been planned out. There will be two weeks of hearings, three days of floor debate and the formal approval will take place on Oct. 15."

Administration officials did not immediately respond to López Obrador's allegations.

"Tomorrow we're going to march from the Angel of Independence to the Zócalo, and if people will just wake up, participate and exercise their rights as citizens we will be able to prevent a great tragedy by stopping these so-called reforms," said López Obrador today.

The "18th of March Brigade" is a reference to March 18, 1938 - the day foreign oil assets in Mexico were appropriated and the entire industry was nationalized by former president Lázaro Cárdenas

Not everybody on the Left will be marching with AMLO, however. Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, who just two days ago joined MORENA's leader in calling for national resistance across political and social lines to already-passed education reforms, as well as pending energy and tax ones, has announced that he will not turn out for tomorrow's scheduled protest in the Federal District. Instead, Cárdenas will accept the senate's invitation to participate in the energy reform hearings next week, calling it an "important opportunity to try to convince legislators to vote against the proposed constitutional amendments."

Cárdenas is the son of former Mexican president Lázaro Cárdenas del Río (in office 1934-1940), who on March 18, 1938 nationalized Mexico's entire petroleum industry and expropriated all assets of foreign oil companies in the country. PEMEX was born as a result. In 1989 Cuauhtémoc was one of the founders of the left wing Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), and is often referred to as its "moral compass." He is intransigently opposed to any change in the structure of PEMEX which might result in a loss of Mexico's sovereign ownership and control of the enterprise, especially to foreign investors.

López Obrador said the hearings are a waste of time, with the result already a foregone conclusion. "Only citizen mobilization" will get the job done, he said in an interview. "The senators and deputies are not the popular representatives they claim to be. In their chambers they vote according to orders given to them."

For his part, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas said that he would call upon Mexico's congress to submit the proposed energy reforms directly to voters for a plebiscite, a proposal enthusiastically endorsed by López Obrador. "Yes, why don't we just ask the people, and let them decide?," he said. It is highly unlikely that federal deputies would agree to such a legislative maneuver, however.

Mexico's national congress has 128 senators and 500 deputies. The parties holding the most seats, from the political right to left, are the National Action Party (PAN), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).

Oct. 7 - López Obrador calls for campaign of protest and civil disobedience over PEMEX reforms
Sept. 25 - "Peña Nieto completely under the control of Obama," says MORENA official
Sept. 23 - Energy reform debate opens in Mexican Senate, with grave warnings of "foreign takeover" of PEMEX
Sept. 21 - Andrés Manuel's vision for Mexico
Sept. 19 - Mexico's Left determined to shackle the nation to the past
Sept. 18 - Mexico is in full recession

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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