Saint Paul, MN - More than 75 people came together to say "Pemex is not for sale!" at a protest outside the Mexican consulate here on Aug. 24. They denounced Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s scheme to privatize the Mexican state-owned oil company, Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos).
The protest was organized by the Minnesota chapter of the Mexico-based organization MORENA, the Movement for National Regeneration. MORENA is leading a movement in Mexico and internationally to try to stop the privatization of Pemex.
The demonstration included several speakers and a performance by the Aztec dance group Kalpulli Ketzalcoatlicue. Protesters demanded that someone from the consulate come out to receive their petition and signatures against the privatization of Pemex. Unable to ignore the protest, a consulate official came out and spoke to the protesters, promising to share their demands with his superiors.
Pemex was formed in 1938 when Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas sided with oil workers striking against foreign-owned oil companies demanding an increase in pay and social services. On March 18, 1938, citing the 27th article of the 1917 constitution, President Cárdenas embarked on the state expropriation of all resources and facilities, nationalizing the U.S. and Anglo–Dutch oil companies to create Pemex. Pemex now has a total asset worth of $415.75 billion, and is the world's second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009, surpassed only by Petrobras (the Brazilian National Oil Company).
Under the guise of ‘modernization,’ Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is pushing a scheme to privatize Pemex, which would allow it to be sold off to multinational corporations. This would be a bonanza for the multinationals and would deprive the Mexican budget of huge amounts of resources, leading to inevitable cuts to social programs and services.
A similar energy ‘reform’ passed in 2008, legalizing the sale of national territory to private corporations. Peña Nieto is pushing to unite all Mexican parties into the privatization scheme with the neoliberal Pact for Mexico, which includes the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), National Action Party (PAN) and the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD). MORENA rejects this as nothing more than a pact for privatization of national resources in order to sell them off to multinational corporations.
According to Francisco Chavez, a member of MORENA-Minnesota, “MORENA-Minnesota protested today at the consulate in defense of Mexico's petroleum and Mexican families' economic well being. Enrique Peña Nieto's PRI government wants to open Pemex up to the large multinationals, many of which were expelled from Mexico in 1938 by the nationalist government of Lazaro Cardenas del Rio. We feel that the protest was a complete success, which had a big political impact on the Mexican government's diplomats in Minnesota."