Mexico: University forum examines Peña Nieto’s energy privatization and US national security

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for Novembr 12, 2013. See original here.]

By Elizabeth Velasco C.

Mexico City – The privatization of the Mexican energy sector serves the interests of the United States government, which, for national security reasons, requires an assured supply of oil, gas and water during the course of the first half of the 21st century, according to Josefina Morales and Carlos Fazio, professors at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and José Antonio Almazán, a representative of retirees of the Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (Mexican Electrician’s Union), and Jesús Ramírez of the executive committee of the Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (MORENA – Movement for National Regeneration).

The panelists concurred on the description of Enrique Peña Nieto’s energy reform as “the outcome of 30 years of neoliberal reforms imposed since Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign,” which have already brought to Mexico “a war of plunder of its strategic resources and the social gains bequeathed by the Mexican revolution.”

During their participation in the forum, “Las Reformas Peñistas en su Laberinto,” organized by La Jornada and [Centro de Cultura] Casa Lamm, they agreed that the country has become more and more entangled in the “imperialist labyrinth of the United States.”

The panelists evaluated developments from the occurrences of the ‘70s, “when the United States was losing its energy autonomy” and “Mexico was compromising itself with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other tools of imperialism,” to the recent acts of United States espionage on the governments of Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto at a time when the country’s energy resources are at stake.

Fazio posited that the United States’ interest in securing control of the energy market in the north is linked to the energy reform being promoted by the PRI and the PAN.

“The United States transnationals’ interest in hydrocarbons is part of a policy of small steps that began before the North American Free Trade Agreement and continues through the Puebla-Panama Plan, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America and the Mérida Initiative.

“It’s about establishing a quadrangle as the territorial space of North America (the United States, Mexico and Canada), with an interest in energy: from oil, natural gas, shale gas and water, on the continent, and in the particular case of Mexico, it is after the oil that is in the Gulf of Mexico, both the Sabinas Basin and Burgos, on the border with Tamaulipas.”

Fazio specified that this treasure found in the deep waters is the motive for United States spying on the governments of Felipe Calderón and Peña Nieto because “hydrocarbons are the crux of the dispute among the Anglo-Saxon petroleum transnationals, to whom Peña has promised to give legal assurances with the changes in Articles 27 and 28 of the constitution.”

Morales stated that the contention over hydrocarbons occurs in the context of the world crisis resulting from neoliberalism. “A crisis that demands that we all re-think the kind of life we have in the social, economic and political structure. We are facing moments of historical transcendence, when more than a third of the national territory has been granted to foreign interests,” he reflected.

Ramírez, of MORENA, asserted that the United States is after not only the oil, water and forests but also Mexican territory itself.

“Peña’s energy reform,” he stressed, “represents not only the surrender of an important part of the economy, but the heart of the national wealth. The reform of constitutional Articles 28 and 27 is the surrender of sovereignty.”

This sovereignty, he said, has been renounced by “the elites of the Mexican government and the intellectuals, which is like surrendering the country to the United States economy, because the notion of a national project is lost.”

Fazio declared that Peña Nieto’s reform benefits a minority to the detriment of the majority of Mexicans, and the only thing that can stop it is peaceful civil disobedience in the streets.

He regretted that that citizen force in the streets does not seem so powerful despite the fact that the country is a few days away from the energy reform being approved by the PRI and the PAN.

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