In the opposite corner, Lopez Obrador's archrival Felipe Calderon insists that opening PEMEX to private capital will somehow make Petrolios Mexicanos "more Mexican" ("more productive, more competitive, more Mexicano.")
"To hand over our natural resources to foreign powers is an act of treason," AMLO responds, quoting the man who expropriated and nationalized Mexico's petroleum in 1938, President Lazaro Cardenas. Lopez Obrador's defense of Mexican oil will be a first test for the grassroots base the leftist has been cultivating since the tainted 2006 election and is sure to frame the next round of his ongoing bout with Calderon and his allies. AMLO, who in the past has been able to mobilize millions, is calling for nationwide protests this March 18th, the 70th anniversary of Cardenas's expropriation.
Petroleum is a patriotic fluid here. Expropriation of the oil industry from the "extranjeros" (foreigners, literally "strangers") was the high point of revolutionary nationalism in Mexico. But in a globalized world, the coming battle around the privatization of PEMEX is not just a Mexican matter anymore and, indeed, has far-reaching implications for the future of neo-liberalism in the Americas.
Sprawled in the Oaxaca street, the life blood leaking from him, the last thing Brad Will could have imagined is that in death he would become an accidental pawn to the transnationals' ambitions to privatize Mexican oil. Tragically, in the end, that may be Wills' most significant legacy.
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