A series of reforms introduced during President Enrique Peña Nieto’s first year in office represent the deepest structural changes to Mexico’s economic order since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement 20 years ago.
The measures passed easily through Congress thanks to a legislative pact which includes the two largest political parties. While there’s no question about the reform agenda’s legislative majority, public support for it is far less apparent. Energy reform, which opens up the national oil company and electric utility to private investment, was particularly controversial.
Mexico City based economist Ruben Trejo points out that surveys have consistently shown that majority opinion is against Energy Reform, even though the government has said it will strengthen the national oil company, lower the cost of electricity and benefit the public. “People in this country no longer believe these types of statements,” says Trejo. The economist, who recent wrote a book on the privatization of state-owned industries in Mexico since the 1980s commented to FSRN that the collective skepticism is due to past experience with unfulfilled promises. “Not one peso resulting from those privatizations has gone towards benefitting society at large.”
Read and listen to report by Shannon Young
For more information see: Energy, Integration, and Colonialism, NAFTA linked to Massive Human Rights Violations in Mexico