On March 18, 1938, it had arrived with a convulsive situation in Mexico when the oil workers (Pemex did not exist) had been fighting for several years against the foreign monopolies that stole that wealth, relegating Mexican capital and, very particularly, the workers who were paid a pittance and exploited endlessly.
The mission of foreign companies, the overwhelming majority of which were American, was to completely appropriate hydrocarbons, at that time the most precious and expensive natural resource in the world, without which modern life was impossible.
This situation of exploitation led to the creation of a very combative union which, unfortunately, over the years, became a mechanism used by those who obstructed its creation.
The new union claimed economic demands, which were rejected by the oil companies, among them: a forty-hour work week; salary payment during illness, family compensation for death or total disability, minimum wage of five pesos, retirement, among other demands.
Faced with this rejection, in May 1937 the union declared a strike if the companies did not respond satisfactorily to what the workers demanded, which it presented to a Federal Board of Conciliation and Arbitration (JFCA) as a conflict of an economic nature. The JFCA reviewed the situation and determined that the companies had sufficient resources to comply with the workers’ request. In December of that same year, the board issued an award for the owners of the wells to establish the required working conditions, starting in the first week of 1938.
They did not comply and the conflict worsened, and so came March 18, 1938 when President Lázaro Cárdenas issued the Oil Expropriation Decree, which consisted of the legal appropriation of the oil exploited by 17 foreign companies that had control of the industry, to become property of the Mexicans.
This consisted of the legal expropriation of machinery, facilities, buildings, refineries, distribution stations, vessels, oil pipelines and all movable and immovable property, of the Mexican Oil Company called El Águila (Royal Dutch Shell), the San Cristóbal Shipping Company , the San Ricardo Shipping Company, the Huasteca Petroleum.
But, in addition, the Sinclair Pierce Oil Company, the Mexican Sinclair Petroleum Corporation, Stanford and Company, the Penn Mex Fuel Company, the Richmond Petroleum Company, the California Standard Oil Company of Mexico, the El Agwi Oil Company and the Gas Company and Empire Fuel.
It also included the Consolidated Oil Company of Mexico, the Compañía Mexicana de Vapores San Antonio, the Sabalo Transportation Company, Clarita S A and Cacalilao Sociedad Anónima, as well as their affiliates or subsidiaries.
The Cardenista decree also established that the Mexican State would have total control over the production and commercialization of oil in national territory, that is, on land and sea.
Almost immediately, on June 7, Mexico founded the parastatal Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), granting it the necessary powers to carry out all hydrocarbon exploration, exploitation, refining and commercialization work.
The following year, 1939, the right wing affected by the nationalization organized into an ultra-conservative party to oppose Cárdenas’ measure, the National Action Party (PAN) which, from that moment until today, used all its might to dismantle the decree, and return the industry to foreign hands.
Incredibly, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) itself, which nationalized it with General Cárdenas, was the one that contributed to denationalizing it in a conservative alliance that the people called PRIPAN or PRIAN.
With the start of the neoliberal governments from Miguel de la Madrid (1982-1988), and Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994), the process of denationalization and delivery of oil to foreign companies began.
This was more dramatic with Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto who, in addition, dismantled the Federal Energy Commission, with sell-out energy reforms.
All this is what will be in the speech that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will give today to exalt the recovery of these resources with his government of the IV Transformation and the fight against corruption.
Source: Prensa Latina