The ruling Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI) defended itself from criticism by members of the opposition who say that there is nothing to celebrate on the 78th anniversary of the 1938 expropriation of Mexican petroleum resources, which will take place tomorrow.
PRI deputy Fernando Moctezuma Pereda criticized members of the opposition National Action Party (PAN), saying that former president Felipe Calderón, of the PAN, had destabilized the national oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), with his proposal to build a new oil refinery in 2008. After ten states applied to host the refinery, the federal government chose the state of Hidalgo. However, the refinery was never completed, and the project was abandoned.
“Of course, there have been a lot of mistakes. One of the biggest was that the president of Mexico [Felipe Calderón] let states compete to host the new oil refinery,” said Pereda. “Incredible, that a statesman would put the country at risk. He promised a refinery and never built it.”
Pereda emphasized that the Mexican petroleum industry has been a major driver of development for the country, in spite of the difficulties it has faced in recent years.
“Before the crash of petroleum prices at the end of 2014, Pemex used to finance four out of every ten highways, four out of every ten hospitals and four out of every ten public universities,” he said.
However, he acknowledged the end of the so-called Era of Easy Oil, because of which the government decided to impose the energy reform, which allows for foreign investment in Mexican oil and is seen by many as a step towards privatization. He asked the opposition to make proposals, instead of criticizing the PRI.
“The country deserves more than false criticisms and empty populism,” he said.
The leader of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), Francisco Martínez Neri, said that the anniversary of the 1938 oil nationalization was no cause for celebration, but should rather be observed as a day of mourning because of the dismantling of Pemex.
The president of the House of Deputies, Jesús Zambrano Grijalva of the PRD, argued that there is nothing to celebrate on the 78th anniversary of the oil expropriation, because “the energy reform of 2013-2014 has been an absolute failure.”
“Before the crash of petroleum prices at the end of 2014, Pemex used to finance four out of every ten highways, four out of every ten hospitals and four out of every ten public universities.”
Fernando Moctezuma Pereda, PRI Deputy