Sunday, December 8, 2013

PEMEX amendments are on the legislative "fast track"

Mexican literary giant has an opinion on oil issues, too

Wall art in Guadalajara's Colonia Americana: "PEMEX belongs to all of us"

Dec. 13 - Mexican states rush to endorse PEMEX reforms
Dec. 11 - Mexico's Chamber of Deputies wastes no time, approves PEMEX reforms
Dec. 11 - Mexico's PEMEX: senators open the door to foreign expertise and private capital
Guadalajara -
Debate has opened in Mexico City on a controversial proposal to open the nation's state owned oil monopoly, Petróleos Mexicanos, to private capital investment. PEMEX was established 75 years ago, when president Lázaro Cárdenas nationalized the Mexican petroleum industry on March 18, 1938, expelling foreign oil companies from the country and seizing their assets.

Under consideration are amendments to article 27 of the nation's federal constitution, which provides that all natural resources under Mexican soil and seas are the exclusive property of the republic.

The measure is being advanced with the overwhelming support of the conservative, center right National Action Party (PAN) and the center left Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which holds Mexico's executive mansion. All the parties of the far Left are unalterably opposed. Leaders of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) call the proposed amendments "savage privatization," and said they would work with other opponents to resist it.

Sen. Manuel Bartlett of Partido Trabajo, the Workers Party, said today that anyone who votes for the amendments is a traitor to Mexico.

A leader of Mexico's ultra left National Regeneration Movement, MORENA, argued that the PEMEX reforms are a "veritable counterrevolution." MORENA senators and deputies told constituents that "the hour has arrived to defend our national petroleum resources" from a sellout to foreign interests, and especially to the United States.

Last week Mexico's grand dame of letters, esteemed writer Elena Poniatowska, joined the fray when she squarely sided with opponents of the PEMEX reforms, saying "the Mexican people will stop the greatest robbery of all time." Less than a month ago Poniatowska won the prestigious Cervantes Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of Spanish literature. An unabashed supporter of MORENA and its founder, two time PRD presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Poniatowska has also publicly endorsed Mexico's politically radical and frequently violent school teachers' union, CNTE, a fellow traveler of MORENA. Opinion: Elena Poniatowska, entirely out to lunch in New York.

But it appears at this hour that PRI and PAN senators have the votes they need and are determined to push the amendments through as quickly as possible. A roll call could come late tonight or early tomorrow morning, after Senate conferees agreed to completely bypass a referral of the measure to subcommittees, which is the standard legislative procedure.

Mexico has an estimated 30 billion barrels of oil and 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas which are yet to be developed. Advocates of the proposed energy reforms maintain that without foreign capital and technical expertise, they may never be. Forbes praises Enrique Peña Nieto's "courageous" energy policy. Mexico's secretary of energy, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, said in September that if PEMEX is not substantially modernized, the country will need more than half a century to reach U.S. energy output. "By then it will be too late," he added. Last week Coldwell promised that energy reforms would bring at least 500,000 high quality jobs to Mexico, which desperately needs them. Sluggish labor market a victim of Mexico's economic backslide in 2013.

Dec. 9 - After a day of continued legislative wrangling and endless rhetoric, Mexico's Permanent Congressional Committee (PCC) today approved the proposed PEMEX reforms by a vote of 24-9, along party lines. The PCC is a multi-partisan commission which speaks for the senate or house of deputies when the chambers are in recess, or are not ready to address a matter in full session. PCC votes serve to test support for pending bills. All the yeas were cast by PRI, PAN and environmental party (PVEM) senators. All the nays were cast by PRD and PT (Workers Party) senators. Passage seems assured when the full chamber votes, presumably tomorrow.

MORENA protesters today in Mexico City, outside barricade erected to protect Senate deliberations

Dec. 16 - San Luis Potosí puts PEMEX reforms over the top
Dec. 10 - Mexican leftists go to court to stop PEMEX reforms
Dec. 7 - Mexico's congress slams through political reforms, as it prepares to take up energy ones
Nov. 30 - Energy reform vote approaches as PRD exits Pact for Mexico

© 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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