Mexican voters will go to the polls June 6, 2021 for what is being widely touted as the largest election in the country’s history. Citizens will cast ballots for nearly 21,000 public offices including all 500 seats in the federal Chamber of Deputies and 15 of 32 state governorships, among many local elected positions. Turnout is expected to be higher than usual for a non-presidential election, due to the polarized political atmosphere currently prevailing in the country, and the media are regularly running pieces arguing that the stakes are high for institutional democracy in Mexico. We agree that the institutions underpinning democracy in Mexico, such as it is, are under attack right now to an alarming degree, but we feel that this is most likely a short-term problem. The larger challenges to Mexico’s development as a nation-state, alas, are more long term. Here is a brief summary of how we see the situation: Continue reading Mexican mid-terms giveth or taketh away for AMLO
Here in Mexico the big midterm elections coming up in June are absorbing a lot of attention right now, but before we talk about that we just wanted to make some comments on a topic currently flying a bit under the radar: Lithium mines. The issue is, prior administrations granted a number of concessions to foreign private companies for the exploration and eventual production of lithium in Mexico, and a small number of these companies have been out in the desert scratching around in hopes of finding a viable mining site. Two things make this more important to Mexico now than it may have seemed a few years ago: First, a massive lithium deposit in the northern state of Sonora is being developed by foreign capital with plans to begin commercial production within two years; and second, Mexico is currently governed by a president who views the private sector — and particularly foreign companies — to be exploiters, thieves and enemies of the nation. Continue reading AMLO to lithium: My precious!
We have commented before in this space about President López Obrador’s relentless campaign to dismantle the previous administration’s energy sector reform that cleared the way for participation by private companies. For us, the historic reform was akin to throwing open the door to an attic that had been locked for years with a dead body inside (Pemex, in this case) to finally let in fresh air. Most of the ham-fisted maneuvers by the president and his enablers in the Mexican Congress have been at least temporarily blocked by legal challenges, including at the Supreme Court level. Undeterred, Mr. López Obrador (AMLO) launched his latest and most ambitious salvo this past week, ramming through the Chamber of Deputies via fast-track a reform of the current electricity law granting advantages to the state-owned former monopoly Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) at the expense of privately financed electricity generation plants. Continue reading Retrograde electricity reform upsetting the neighbors