"No to the biggest robbery of all time" - Mexico City, Dec. 1
*Updated Dec. 1*
One year ago, on Dec. 2, 2012, then just inaugurated president Enrique Peña Nieto called upon leaders of Mexico's three major political parties to put aside partisan bickering and to work together for the common good, without traditional backroom wheeling and dealing. The much heralded Pact for Mexico was born as a result. But it had an all too short life. Late this week the left wing Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) announced it was withdrawing from the unprecedented 12 month old agreement.
PRD leaders claimed in public statements that Peña Nieto's center left Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has broken the rules by negotiating behind the scenes with the center right National Action Party (PAN), in an effort to win congressional support for pending constitutional amendments which, if passed, will open Mexico's state controlled petroleum industry to private investment. Most of the investors will be monolithic foreign oil companies, which alone have the technical expertise and capital to develop the country's estimated 30 billion barrels of oil and 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Without such investment, the natural resources could remain buried indefinitely. Forbes praises Enrique Peña Nieto's "courageous" energy policy.
But the PRD leadership remains solidly against tampering with PEMEX, the lumbering, 75 year old oil monopoly which is perennially cash starved and whose pension fund is arguably insolvent. Opposition to constitutionally based energy reform promoted by the new president is PRD's political lodestar and rallying cry, a position shared by Mexico's Left in general.
Senate debate is about to open on the amendments, and a vote could occur as early as Dec. 15 - if senators can get to their desks, that is. Ultra leftist leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a two time presidential candidate (2006, 2012) and founder of MORENA, the National Regeneration Movement, promised last week to "encircle" the legislative halls to prevent senators from assembling. It's not the first time he's made such a threat. López Obrador calls for public protest and civil disobedience over pending PEMEX reforms. Tomorrow MORENA will stage another major protest in the nation's capital, focused on its opposition to energy reform, to already passed and signed into law education reforms and to the PRI administration in general. AMLO: Peña Nieto has been a "disaster."
The national chair of PRD, Jesús Zambrano Grijalva, has suggested that his party will lock arms with MORENA during the upcoming PEMEX debate. Ven alianza PRD-López Obrador por el petróleo.
Mexico City's core has experienced months of occupation by political demonstrators in 2013, which both government and business leaders claim has cost the local economy many millions of dollars in lost revenues. Today security forces sealed the senate grounds with temporary fencing in an effort to forestall a takeover by MORENA or anyone else, as occurred last fall when striking school teachers - closely allied with Mexico's far Left - were in town. Secret Service locks down Mexico City's Zócalo. Mexico City officials are hoping the measure works, and that the capital is able to avoid an encore in the waning days of what has been a very arduous political year.
Tomorrow, Dec. 1, is also Peña Nieto's first anniversary in office. López Obrador couldn't have asked for better timing to lead MORENA's first major protest as a legitimate political party. Mexico's far left MORENA achieves official recognition.
Dec. 1 - In Mexico City's enormous main square, the Zócalo, López Obrador told several thousand supporters today that Peña Nieto has "already made a deal abroad" to sell PEMEX to foreign oil companies and investors. He said passage of the pending reforms would "sink the country," and called proponents "ruffians."
Still not clear on how López Obrador really feels about Peña Nieto? Here's what he said on Nov. 24, 2011: "He's a soap opera actor, more of that same group that's hoarded privileges and corrupted the country."
Dec. 12 - PRD: "The Pact for Mexico is dead"
"Peña Nieto (and PRI) repress our freedoms"
"PEMEX is not for sale"
"Say no to the PRIvatization of PEMEX"
Oct. 4 - Mexico City rioters caused millions in damages; PRI, PAN and PRD call for new laws
Oct. 3 - Anarchists in Mexico City, October 2, 2013 (with more photos by José Luna)
Oct. 1 - Radical teachers' syndicate returns to Mexico City streets, attacking police
Sept. 25 - "Peña Nieto completely under the control of Obama," says MORENA official
Sept. 21 - Opinion: Andrés Manuel's vision for Mexico
Sept. 19 - Opinion: Mexico's Left is determined to shackle the nation to the past
Sept. 14 - Opinion: Elena Poniatowska, entirely out to lunch in New York
Aug. 25 - Opinion: PRI government shows no resolve against thug teachers
Sept. 20 - Without energy reform, Mexico will need more than half a century to reach U.S. output
Sept. 21 - "The fix is in" on energy reform, says AMLO: new laws "designed for foreign business"
Sept. 23 - Energy reform debate opens in Mexican Senate; warnings of foreign takeover of PEMEX
Education reform protests
Aug. 19 - Continued teacher strikes idle almost a million students in Oaxaca
Aug. 29 - Teachers' union calls for nationwide strike
Aug. 30 - Oaxaca education at the mercy of omnipotent syndicate
Aug. 31 - Oaxaca freezes pay of striking teachers
Sept. 2 - Mexico's House of Deputies passes education reforms
Sept. 3 - Mexico's Senate passes education reform bill, as labor unions threaten civil disobedience
Sept. 4 - Oaxaca governor holds tough and refuses to pay dissident teachers
Sept. 4 - Teachers' union ups the ante, calling indefinite strike in Chiapas
Sept. 6 - School closings spread to Yucatán, but Peña Nieto says "there's no turning back"
Sept. 12 - Yucatán teachers fold, agree to return to the schoolhouse
Sept. 22 - La CNTE: entre la revolución y los privilegios
Sept. 29 - The "mafia CNTE"
Oct. 15 - Oaxaca's governor caves to school teachers
Oct. 31 - Teachers return to Guadalajara streets in large numbers, protesting education privatization
Oct. 31 - On this controversial vote, PRI and PRD joined forces to defeat PAN opposition.
© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission. Images are exclusive property of José Luna, MGR correspondent in Mexico City.