SF Weekly mangles Mexican politics

Mexican electrical workers protest privatization

The SF Weekly, in its continuing effort to make everything the progressives in San Francisco do look stupid, just stepped in a major turd. A piece by Matt Smith seeks to trash the supes for passing a resolution supporting Mexican electricity workers against an effort by the Mexican government to privatize the nation's electricity system.

He notes:

However, the government of Mexico felt this one to be so egregious as to warrant fact-checking. As it happens there was no privatization. The government transferred Luz y Fuerza del Centro to a much larger power utility called the Comision Federal de Electricidad -- which is, you guessed it, also government-run.

 His single source for that information? The (utterly unbiased, of course) Mexican consulate.

Well, John Ross, our Mexico City correspondent, who has lived there more more than 25 years, has written several books on Mexican politics and is nationally known an expert in the area, has written about this issue extensively. I just sent him Smith's blog post, and here's how he responded:

Consul general Carlos Felix Corona's response to the Board of Supervisors resolution re Felipe Calderon's efforts to break the mexican electricity workers union (SME) is disingenuous. The Luz y Fuerza Company was forced to buy electricity from the federal electicity commission (CFE) at an exorbitant price, with the costs then passed along to the consumer by presidential fiat. The CFE itself now buys a third of the electricity it generates from private corporations -- in violation of the Mexican Constitutionl, which ascribes electricity generation as a state function, thus privatizing electricity generation in Mexico City and five other states in the center of the country. According to the SME, whose workers were forced out of the generating plants and which the Mexican Labor Commission has now stripped of its authority to represent the workers, Luz y Fuerza lines will now be sold off to W Communications, a Madrid-based transnational represented in Mexico by two ex-energy secretaries (Calderon himself is an ex energy secretary). W Communications is expected to install fiber optic cables on the old Luz y Fuerza lines. The Calderon administration will no doubt wait several months to seal this deal until the clamor about priviatization recedes. But the contracts have been signed, so don't be fooled by the consul's disingenuous response that Luz y Fuerza has not yet been privatized. Now that US unions and the SF Board of Supes have expressed their solidarity with the electricity workers, Felix Corona, a shill for calderon, seeks to bamboozle San Franciscans that all is honky dory South of the border and that protest marches that regularly turn out a quarter of a million Mexicans are just the work of a few malcontents  

So there's another side to this story, Matt, and the consulate is hardly a trustworthy source.