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Mexico: Calderon's bold Pemex move?

February 21, 2008 |  9:38 am

Pemex is Mexico's national oil company. American oil companies used to operate in Mexico until the 1930s, when Mexican President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized the oil fields and installations. (He's still revered as a national hero for doing so.)

Now Pemex is in decline. And conservative President Felipe Calderon wants to bring in foreign investment. But how to do so without alienating the powerful Mexican left and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), for whom any "privatization" of Pemex would be tantamount to a declaration of war?

Why not name Lazaro's grandson -- also named Lazaro Cardenas, by the way -- to head Pemex. That's the rumor circulating around Mexico these days. The younger Lazaro is a PRD leader and former governor of the southern state of Michoacan. If Calderon actually does name him to head Pemex, in effect bringing the left into his government, it would be the equivalent of a political earthquake here.

Stay tuned.

-- Hector Tobar in Mexico City

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