A few months ago now, I was going to provide posts on Mexican history leading to an explanation for Americans about why Mexicans were so hostile to the idea of the privatization of Pemex, the nationalied oil monopoly. It is unfortunately at this point (maybe it's changing, especially considering the very friendly nationalization of US banks undertaken by Paulson, et.al) a knee jerk reaction among Americans that privatization is good, nationalization is bad. The nationalization of the Mexican petrochemical industry, however, represented the seizure of assets from the very rich and often foreign and the sharing of them with Mexicans themselves. It also represented concern for the rights of laborers. I haven't yet provided such a series of posts, however. Instead I find myself wandering around in Mexican history, nowhere near the twentieth century and the original nationalization of Pemex in 1938. Therefore, I'm going to jump in and give just a brief explanation of the hostility to privatization and a brief history of what happened before I dive back into the Olmecas who lived and thrived before Christ and find more stuff I hope to share about them.
To understand the nationalization of Pemex, one must realize that Mexico's resources have been preyed upon, seized, stolen, controlled, etc. by non-Mexican forces for five hundred years. In contrast, following the American Revolution, it was Americans who gained control of their economy.
One could say that the Spanish Crown was a government entity, but in fact, it was a capitalist entity during the conquest and colonial era, and it certainly wasn't Mexican. To jump ahead a bit, private interests, or at least non-democratic interests, deeply wounded Mexico as it struggled after its war for independence to achieve stability and democracy. Porfirio Díaz, a capitalist par excellence, resurrected the Mexican at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries by continuing on and perfecting old patterns: he invited foreign private investors to make money off Mexican resources and labor. The wealth was not shared among the bulk of the population.
Díaz started out a hero, but ended a villain, and it was against his government that the Mexican Revolution, rife with its own tragedies, was fought for more than ten years, starting in 1910.
Here is a bit about the history of Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) from Funding Universe, ironically I suppose a business site. The history up through its nationalization is recounted pretty accurately.
The seeds for the creation of a national oil company in Mexico can be traced back to the 1910 revolution. In order to ensure adequate supplies of fuel for its locomotives, the National Railways of Mexico [a state-owned company started by Porfirio Díaz that was itself nationalized in 1938] created a petroleum division to exploit the hydrocarbons found on its lands in the rich Ebano and Panuco oil fields. Soon afterwards it became apparent that the government itself, in order to meet its oil demand, would have to develop the oil fields found onits federal lands (not including the land belonging to the railay company). At the end of December 1925, the Control de Administración del Petróleo Nacional...was set up in order to concentrate into one entity the government's participation in the development of its reserves. This government entity competed directly with private capital inthe production and refining of crude oil but at the same time regulated the domestic price of petroleum products. In December 1933 a [Mexican] Congressional decree established Petróleos de México S:A: (Petromex) -- a publicly traded company in which only Mexican nationals could purchase equity--with the purpose of supplying the fuel requirements of the National Railways in particular and the domestic market with petroleum products in general. It was also given the responsibility of regulating the domestic petroleum markets and training Mexican personnel in all aspects of the industry. Petromex lasted only until September 1934, when it was dissolved owing to a lack of interest on the part of the investing public, and the assets and shares of the company were transferred to the Control de Administración del Petróleo Nacional. In Noember 1936 a law was passed that expropriated for the state all assets considered to be of public utility, including oil and natural gas, and in January 1937 the state-owned Administración General del Petróleo Nacional was creaed to explore and develop the national reserves that were assigned to it.
As a result of long-existing conflict between the oil workers' union and the companies,which at one stage threatened to bring the oil industry to a standstill, President Lásaro Cárdenas nationalized the oil industry on March 18, 1938. A number of reasons were given for this drastic measure, among which the most important were the following: the foreign-owned companies had adopted inadequate conservation measures for existing reserves; there was a lack of interest on the part of the companies in exploring for new reserves; and the companies had used unfair labor practices.
On March 19, 1938, the day after expropriation, the Consejo Administrativo del Petróleo was established, with nine government members, to administer the assets it had taken over. In june the administration of the country's oil and gas industry was split between two government agencies....By August, 1940, however, it became obvious that this delegation was not working...and so it was decided that all matteres related to hydrocarbons should become the sole responsibility of Pemex....
With the creation of Pemex, Mexico faced an economic boycott instigated by the governments of the expropriated companies, which included an economic blockade to prevent the company from selling its oil in world markets; a ban on selling raw oil: legal action to embargo the oil that Pemex managed to export through other countries: and a massive withdrawal of bank deposits held in Mexico by foreign companies. After long and strenuous negotiations, the government finally agreed to indemnify the foreign oil companies for US$114 million....
Pemex's original brief from the Mexican government was to supply the Mexican market with oil, gas and petrochemical products at the lowest possible cost. The mandate was not profit motivated, and there was a strong desire on the part of the government to improve the living standards of its employees.
For history after 1940, you can go to the FundingUniverse.com site as well as numerous other places.