Sunday, May 04, 2008

May Day Parade in Mexico City

We saw just a bit of the May Day Parade in Mexico City before we left on May 1. Every street that emptied into the Zocalo was filled with people carrying banners, wearing the T-shirts of their Sindicato (union) and chanting slogans. I would have loved to have seen the Zocalo filled with the workers but we didn't have the time or a vantage point. However, from what we did see it seemed that the Sindicatos are rallying against any changes in the way Mexico manages their oil despite dropping production. Pemex, the National Oil Company, besides financing most of the government, is also tied into the Mexican's feelings of Nationalism and it is an emotional issue. According to this article in the LA Times, President Calderon is proposing sweeping changes that would allow foreign investments.

The reserves of Pemex, as the oil company is known, could disappear in a decade, officials say. Calderon said Mexico doesn't have the resources to undertake expensive deep-water drilling on its own, and contracts with private companies are essential to the survival of Pemex, whose massive revenue is the lifeblood of Mexico's government.

There is just one little problem. The Mexican Constitution forbids direct foreign investment in the oil industry or private ownership of it.

From what I saw of the May Day Parade, the Sindicatos don't like Calderon's proposal. On the other hand, they don't want to pay taxes to finance the government.

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