Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Showdown Coming In Mexico Over Privatization
"Resistance to privatization has often been fierce. Soldiers had to occupy the port of Veracruz at gunpoint in order to privatize it and fire its workforce. Mexico City's bus drivers fought the selloff of the Route-100 company for three years, including one in which their union leaders were imprisoned. Wildcat strikes hit the railfroads when they were sold to Grupo Mexico, and copper miners fought a valiant battle against job reductions when the Cananea mine was bought by the same owners in the late 1990s.

"While these resistance efforts were defeated, one of the government's most important privatization schemes has consistently been held at bay - the selloff of the electrical system. Controversy over the rapid growth of private power generation in Mexico boiled over this year, as President Vicente Fox introduced legislation to privatize the industry. A former CocaCola executive, Fox is allied with the industrialists of Monterrey and their US energy partners. His proposals carry the blessing of the World Bank and the IMF, who have been mandating the privatization of Mexican industries for over a dozen years."

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