Though protests and riots have broken out across Mexico, a recent hike in gas prices is not the real culprit.
Since the New Year began, Mexico has been in a state of near-constant chaos. The announcement of increased gas prices in Mexico sparked outrage among a majority of the nation’s populace as the cost of gasoline spiked by nearly 20% – an increase now known throughout Mexico as the “gasolinazo.” Though the gas prices are ostensibly to blame for the mass protests taking place throughout the country, they are in actuality only a consequence of a much larger reform aimed at privatizing Mexico’s entire economic system, a reform which has its origins in World War II and is motivated by a long-standing US goal to subvert the national sovereignty of its Southern neighbor.
Mexico’s “Miracle” and the Slow Revenge of the Rockefellers
In the 1930s, Mexico’s economic “miracle” began, ushering in an era of impressive economic growth for the once impoverished nation. Though is was dubbed a “miracle,” this golden age of Mexican economic strength was based strongly on the government policy. High tariffs on imported domestic goods, a focus on primary education, and strong public investment in agriculture, energy, and transportation infrastructure were all largely responsible for this period of prosperity. Not only that, but in 1938, Mexico amended its constitution to nationalize the nation’s raw materials – including its oil reserves.
Though these policies, brought to fruition by then-President Lázaro Cárdenas, were wildly popular with everyday Mexicans, the foreign corporations that had grown accustomed to exploiting Mexican resources for their own gain were extremely displeased. Among them was the Rockefeller-owned Standard Oil Company, of which companies like Chevron and Exxon are derived. Despite the fact that the US already had an established practice of overthrowing governments who nationalized their most profitable industries, the US – already involved in World War II – was unable to devote many resources to up-end Mexico’s anti-corporatist policies. Though the Rockefellers and their ilk blockaded Mexican oil exports and did their best to undermine the implementation of Cárdenas’ policies, World War II, along with Mexico’s official decision to ally with the United States in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, ultimately saved it from a US-orchestrated coup d’etat.
However, Mexico would not be safe for long. As an outright overthrow of the Mexican government became unfeasible, the US government, or rather the “Deep State” pulling the strings, chose instead to take a long-winded and subtle path to achieve its ultimate goal – the privatization of Mexico’s resources. Mexico’s economic miracle lasted for four decades, ending promptly in the 1980s when manufactured banking crises devalued the peso and generated unrest. The unrest paved the way for the election of Miguel de la Madrid, the man who would introduce neo-liberalism to Mexico during much of the 1980s. After the stage had been set, the following president of Mexico, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, began to realize the long-standing US goal of privatizing Mexican infrastructure and commerce. During his term, nearly 2,000 Mexican business were privatized, including major companies such as TelMex, Mexico’s largest telecommunications company, and FerroMex, the nation’s largest system of railroads. Salinas de Gortari ended his term with the signing of the much-maligned North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which all but unraveled Mexico’s last remaining hopes of reclaiming their economic “miracle.”
Peña Nieto and the Approaching End of Mexican Sovereignty
Over the next few decades, Mexico’s US-guided march towards privatization continued. Taking office in 2012, current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has proven to be one of the most obedient of all to foreign private interests. Peña Nieto, not long after assuming the office of the Presidency, amended the Mexican constitution, revoking the clause protecting the nation’s natural resources from foreign exploitation. One of Peña Nieto’s first initiatives following the change to Mexico’s constitution was the privatization of the nation’s petroleum industry – known in Mexico as the “Reforma Energética de 2013” (Energy Reform Act of 2013). Though the act was rammed through Congress over three years ago, it took effect just recently less than two weeks ago on New Year’s Day 2017, provoking the beginning of the “gasolinazo” protests.
Now, it seems, the US’ long-standing goal of privatizing and exploiting what remains of Mexico’s resources is reaching fever-pitch. Though gas prices are sure to blame for popular anger among Mexicans, it is but a consequence of the Energy Reform Act, which itself is based on decades of harmful neo-liberal policies. Now, with gasoline prices jumping as much as 20%, Mexicans will only continue to feel the pressure of privatization as mass corporate looting seeks to rob them further. In addition, many other Mexican crises are only fanning the flames as other unpopular neo-liberal reforms coupled with Mexico’s horrific drug war (made possible in large part by US intelligence) have raised the ire of a substantial portion of the population. Looting and riots have become widespread, as have arrests. Much of the violence, however, has been fomented by the Mexican state itself as undercover police provocateurs have been caught on numerous occasions posing as looters and vandals to justify police crackdowns on peaceful protests.
Ultimately, Mexico’s latest struggle is endemic of the international fight between regular people against corporate-driven, neo-liberal policies seeking to stratify human society into one large underclass controlled by a handful of rich elites who “know best.” However, Mexicans – as well as those living in other nations – must become aware of the bigger picture. Failing to do so may give the elite exactly what they want as any popular or violent removal of Peña Nieto or revolt against his US-supported policies could easily be used by the US establishment to justify their decades-old goal of Mexican regime change along with complete corporate control of its resources. Yet, if Mexicans successfully stand up to the tide of privatization that Peña Nieto seems content to ram through, they will be among one of the few countries to halt the transformation of their once “miraculous” economic landscape into a neo-liberal wasteland.
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