Enrique Peña Nieto ran for election as representative of "the new face of the PRI." Energy is one of the four or five grand areas in which he wanted to undertake structural reform in order , as he put it, to break old patterns and put Mexico on a path to growth. At the moment, the path appers murky and the Mexican public has given him very low ratings. But still, he and his government persist.
Here, I am dealing with energy reform efforts, first with the personnel.
Below, center, you see the head of Pemex, Emilio Lozoya Austin, in an appearance before the Commission of Energy in the Chamber of Deputies. (Pemex is the state-owned oil and gas company; the head has influence as if he was a member of the President's Cabinet and is listed as one of the ten men who has the most influence on Peña Nieto.) Lozoya Austin is a politician and economist of considerable stature not only among the educated Mexican elite, but internationally in organizations such as the World Economic Forum, which named him a Global Young Leader in 2011. He has a degree in economics from the Institúto Económico Autónomo de México and in law from UNAM. Like many of his peers in the PRI he has a degree from Harvard- His is in public administration and international development.
His father, incidentally, was Secretary of Energy under President Carlos Salinas Gortari who was in office prior to the election of Vicente Fox of the PAN.
Lozoyo Austin is a member of a rich and established family in Mexico as is his wife, the former Mariela Eckes Fassbender. His family's ties with the PRI are also of long standing. This group seems almost to be a state within a state. It is the 1- or 2% of Mexico but with ties of longer and stronger duration than those binding the increasingly infamous 1% in the United States.
On as the right is a picture of the Secretary of Energy, Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, former senator and former governor of Quintana Roo. He comes from a prominent and very rich Quintana Roo family and is apparently a beloved son of that state. He and his family also have their fingers in a number of energy pie. When Coldwell was appointed by Peña Nieto as Secretary of Energy he didn't have to face any questioning from or anythhe Mexican Chamber of Deputies or anyone else. THe President gets to appoint whom he wants to, period. Thus, when the issue of energy reform heated up, Coldwell had no problem openly asking cohorts in the energy industry to be sure to support the reform so that those who opposed it wouldn't defeat it. The Coldwell-energy connection has been addressed frequently and angrily in the Mexican press. Here is a link to an article by Denise Dresser in Spanish in La Reforma, a major Mexico City newspaper. La Reforma is a subscription only publication so you can either get yourself a fifteen day free trial as I did or read a good summary of it here on Aristegui's noricias page. Animal Político has a good article on the Coldwell energy connections with Pemex here, also in Spanish.
Here in our very local lives our rainy season began quite early and has been marked by drenching downpours. During the dryer winter, the landscape looks almost like that in, say, New York State in the summer. After the rains have cleansed and drenched plants and rivers and earth and people and houses, it becomes much more jungle-like, with the branches and leaves pressing their abundance against each other. The green becomes almost overwhelming.
Yesterday we went to a party at some friends' house in the hills above what I think is the west side of Coatepec. A string quartet provided us with a concert of exceptional quality. I think the cellist was in the Orquesta de Xalapa and the other three were students, but I'm not sure. Everyone brought something to eat and something to drink (many bottles of red wine, one of white which was ours). We sat out on the open porch cushioned by the lush countryside. The people who live in the area have banded together to form a group to protect the environment which is under pressure from developers. I remember once reading an interview with a woman who had lived in suburban Boston before it was suburban saying that the developers advertised the area as beautiful and rural and used that as a selling point as they built row upon row of houses to smother the fields and woods. It takes a little longer for that to happen here, but happen it does. Our area has a reputation for being more tranquil than a lot of places and it of course attracts people looking for a quiet that can't exist in crowds.
We gave our godchild in the neighborhood a camera for her fifteenth birthday. Yesterday we took her, her sister and a friend to Coatepec to pick a bunch of the pictures to print.The girls bought a kilo of peaches which are just coming into season. We're probably half-way through the Mangos de Manila season. They are my absolute favorite fruit in the world. Succulent, so sweet, and just a hint of sour. I especially like sucking on the pit which is kind of like sucking on an ice cream pop, but it lasts longer and has better flavor. Lots of the flesh of the plant sticks to it. Also around now are tiny purple plums, pomegranates, some pineapples, bananas of several kinds, oranges again, and some fruits that are pretty common here but still exotic to me whose names I can't remember.
Some friends of ours from Coatepec are building a house on the high-up edge of our colonia next to the football fields. It is large and has quite an interesting shape, taking as its guide the shape of the terreno's front borders wchich form an acute angle. The second floor has still another angle. As people here do, they have been constructing it as the money becomes available. The husband is the albañil and chief construction worker.
That's all for now.