[Marxism] Mexican oil crisis; Venezuelan energy crisis, Cuba, etc.

nada dwaltersMIA at gmail.com
Wed Nov 11 15:59:11 MST 2009

Of course I forgot to put my own thoughts on this.

A year and half ago I visited Mexico (with an American delegation that 
included Cynthia McKinney) to a conference on privatization sponsored by 
various energy unions in Latin America. In fact it was held at the SME 
headquarters, the one now occupied by the Federal Police in their 
attempt to break the union.

The move toward privatization was, then, the single biggest issue in 
Mexican politics. The corruption IS terrible and funds are siphoned away 
by both the rich and the corrupt union leaderships. The unions are 
affiliated to the PRI opposition. Unlike the independent SME, the oil 
unions are not influenced by the socialist left nor even the very 
reformist  PRD.

Militants in these unions presented PEMEX as not unlike PDVSA prior to 
Chavez and played the same role. As David S. notes, the main issue 
outside privatization and corruption is the obvious uninvestment in 
existing fields and the known new fields that exist in places like 
Chiapas. The demand of the militants is "more investment".

I don't know much about the derivatives of the industry or what PEMEX 
was playing with regards to them.

Venezuela and Brazil have very interesting and similar problems. The 
both have this incredibly vast hydro resources but both are sometimes 
hundreds, and in the case of Brazil, even thousands of miles from where 
their power exists. Bot countries get between 70% and 80% of their 
electricity from this renewable resource. They both are partly trying to 
solve the issue by running high voltage DC lines, or more of them, from 
the dams to cities. Both are also expanding these resources. Both are 
moving toward more local generation, either gas or nuclear. Brazil, for 
example, has remarkably few combined cycle gas turbines. I don't know 
why but probably over confidence in expanding hydro resources.

On Venezuela, the numbers PDVSA says they produce in oil is about 35% 
higher than international petroleum institutes say they do. And, there 
are now accusations that PDVSA is also under investing, albeit no where 
near the problem in Mexico. I read the mostly conservative energy 
industry web sites, like Energy Tribune, who, besides being climate 
change deniers, tend to down play any accomplishments by countries like 
Cuba and Venezuela when it comes to petroleum issues. But there is 
always some truth and finding that out is an important task.

I'll try to regularly contribute information here on energy issues like 

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