U.S. eyes Mexican oil

U.S. eyes Mexican oil

By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

There’s more evidence that oil supplies will peak out with recent developments in this country concerning Mexico.

Mexico soon will be unable to provide enough natural gas for its own needs, not to mention exporting any. Its oil and natural gas resources are controlled by Pemex, the national oil company.

That’s why a move in the U.S. Congress has greatly angered our southern neighbor. Some Mexican newspapers have accused American lawmakers of arrogance and blackmail.

The House International Relations Committee has given narrow approval to an amendment tying immigration reform to opening Pemex to U.S. investment.

The amendment is non-binding—a “sense of Congress” proposal tacked on to a State Department funding bill and still needs approval by both houses of Congress to take effect.

Mexicans are incensed. A front page headline in El Universal read: “Blackmail in the U.S.; immigration accord for Pemex.” Another daily, El Sol, called the proposal “the Halliburton Amendment.” Halliburton is the energy company formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, that has been given a contract to extinguish oil well fires in Iraq.

The resolution fed Mexican suspicions that the invasion of Iraq, an event highly unpopular in Mexico, was simply a naked grab for Iraqi oil.

Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C., who drafted the resolution, said Pemex “is inefficient, plagued by corruption and in need of substantial reform and private investment” in order to “fuel future economic growth, which can help curb illegal migration to the United States.”

Mexico’s Economy Secretary Fernando Canales Clariond said Pemex “definitely will not be opened to foreign capital.”

Mexico’s federal Justice Department is probing several oil union leaders accused of diverting millions of dollars to the 2000 presidential campaign of the then-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party.

The Mayor of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who may seek the country’s top post, snapped: “The oil belongs to all Mexicans. It’s the nation’s—not that of the state or the government.”

El Universal, in its lead editorial, said: “Swelled by their military victory in Iraq, some sectors in (the United States) are trying to carry out a policy of imposing might over right in all areas of their relationship with the rest of the world.”

U.S. media mostly ignored or were unaware of the amendment, while it set off a firestorm in Mexico.

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