Sunday, December 8, 2013

Should Mexico 'privatize' its oil industry?

(photo from

In 1938 Mexico's President Cardenas 'nationalized' the oil industry. This means the Mexican government took control of the oil industry from foreign businesses. He did this because foreign companies had been making a huge amount of money from Mexican oil, yet, the people of Mexico were not benefiting very much.  Now, however, there are plans to privatize the oil industry again.

Here is an article about this controversy in Mexico.

Here are vocabulary words to help you understand the article:

a controversy - an issue that causes people to argue

a firm is a company

a reform - a positive change

beleaguered - if someone or something is beleaguered, a lot of people have been complaining about it or attacking it

a state-run sector - a part of the business world run by the state

investment - when people can buy shares of stock in a company; in this way people can put money in the company and if the company makes money, they make a profit

to grant contracts - to give contracts

to extract - to get

a monopoly - when one company has control of an entire type of business.  

royalties - a small share of the profits

a oil concession would give a company the right to 'own' the oil it finds and extracts.  Mexico will keep this right for itself and not give it to any companies.

a bill - a proposal for a law

the crowning piece - the most important piece

to target - to focus on

crucial - extremely important

impacting - affecting

unprecedented - never done before

the wherewithal - the ability

to exploit - to use

oil and gas reserves - there are huge areas where Mexico can get oil and gas, but they do not seem to have the ability to get to these 'reserves'

a policy leap - a change

commercially attractive - if businesses will like this idea

a public referendum - a vote by the people

leftist - liberal, perhaps socialist as opposed to rightwing. Rightwing people are conservative and favor the interests of business over the interests of the common people.

fiercely protected - strongly protected

profiteering - when companies misuse a countries resources purely to make money

it was hashed out - developed, worked out

moderate - not extreme, in the middle

mobilization - the organization of people to try to protest or speak out against this new policy

killed the attempt - stopped the attempt

sidelined by a heart attack - he is unable to do much because he is recovering from a heart attack

protesters - people who gather publicly to speak out against things they don't believe in

increased substantially - increased a lot

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