Mexican leftist imitate loony left in US on oil investments
Mexico's giant state-run oil company was once a source of universal pride here. Ballads were sung in its honor, and the money gushed as much as the crude.No wonder they can't invest in increased production. They have been following the formula that people like Hillary Clinton and other Democrats have suggested for US oil companies, sucking up the profits and not permitting new drilling. If you wonder why there is an oil shortage the left in this country and others is primarily to blame. They hate energy production and they want to starve the oil supply in hopes of driving up the price to a level that people will use less.
But the company -- Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex -- is not aging well, and it is fast eroding into a creaking, crippled behemoth that even its biggest defenders say must change to survive.
In a once-unthinkable move, President Felipe Calderón urged an overhaul of Pemex earlier this month, calling on the Mexican Congress to allow the company more freedom to sign contracts with foreign firms better equipped to build efficient refineries and conduct expensive deep-water drilling.
But the proposal -- being touted by its supporters as one of the most important economic reforms in recent Mexican history -- has drawn fierce resistance from a determined coalition of left-leaning opposition parties for whom outsider involvement in Pemex is anathema. They seized control of the Mexican congressional building for more than two weeks this month, with some members spending nights on the floor and leading rowdy protests during the day.
"This is the inheritance of my grandfather, this is our company, and we're not going to let them take it away from us," Congressman Alejandro Sánchez Camacho, of the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party, or PRD, said in an interview.
The fight has major implications for the United States, which counts Mexico as one of its four largest foreign oil suppliers, along with Canada, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Here in Mexico, the titanic political battle could paralyze the government for months.
Mexico nationalized its oil industry in the late 1930s, seizing control of British and U.S. companies as part of a movement to bring large industries under state control. For decades, Mexicans bragged that their grandmothers had donated jewelry to help pay for the takeover.
The movement toward nationalization, though, has been steadily reversed. The government privatized its national telephone and railroad companies, and last it year sold off the state-run airline, Aeroméxico, at a price that Calderón's critics asserted was far too low.
Pemex has been untouched, in large part because of its extraordinary financial importance. Under the constitution, the company must turn over most of its revenue to the federal government, which relies on Pemex for 40 percent of its annual budget. After paying its huge tax obligation, Pemex must also pay salaries and pensions to members of the enormously powerful oil workers union.
Every time you fill up now you should remember that the Democrats are responsible for doubling the price of gas. Before they took over Congress you were paying less. and you would be paying even less if they would allow drilling in Alaska and off shore US waters.
Calderon is probably the most intelligent President Mexico has had in my lifetime. No wonder the left is going crazy.