The one year anniversary of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s inauguration saw tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets of Mexico City.
The new administration recently moved to open up the Mexican oil industry to foreign interests. Mexican oil had been for a long time controlled by the citizens of Mexico. The change was seen by some as the harkening of something sinister. Andres Lopez Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution and a former rival for the presidency was at the head of the protest. He explained the reason for the massive protest as an attempt, “to avoid a big robbery”. It is felt that the government is giving away something that money cannot buy back: The pride and independence of the Mexican people.
Tens of thousands join anti-austerity protests in Mexico City; seeking to block sell off of energy assets. pic.twitter.com/NJVRWtEefr
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) December 2, 2013
Though huge state oil firms such as Pemex have long been the familiar standard, the company is lagging with its oil production. Billions of dollars are needed to bring oil production up to optimal levels. The sort of money that non-Mexican oil companies have and are willing to provide.
As oil production accounts for roughly a third of the government’s revenue, getting money back into the industry remains absolutely crucial. Nieto’s main concern since coming into office has been the improvement of the Mexican economy. However, his methods have been less than popular.
While the new president’s motives may be genuine, it could be a case of too much too soon. Without a chance to adjust or opposition feeling that their concerns are respected, Nieto’s administration could risk a massive loss of support. At present, the president’s approval is down under fifty percent.
Image: Wikimedia Commons