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Mary Anastasia O’Grady: oops, she did it again

8 February 2022

What is there to say about the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady … her bone-headed intellectual dishonesty, her inability to comprehend political processes, and her tendency to claim “dark forces” are at work wherever — and whenever — Latin American states pursue a policy opposed to her own… other than she’s been at it again. This time, a triple play — intellectually dishonest, factualy wrong, with a soupçon of “dark forces” (here, the Biden Administration).

Her 6 February column, “A U.S. Ambassador Takes Mexico’s Side” excoriates U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar for his “bad judgement” and concludes with a not so veiled suggestion that the President fire him.

FOR…? Being diplomatic — something ambassadors are not always known to be when dealing with Mexico (or any other Latin American nation, for that matter) — in following up on U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s recent meeting with Mexican President López Obrador regarding proposed constitutional changes that would regulate our electrical power system.

While there are legitimate concerns that bringing the generating and transmission of electricity under more state control (with private generating plants limited to 46% of total energy production), mostly having to do with the possibility of more fossil-fuel usage (about that in a minute). O’Grady’s misguided wrath falls on the Ambassador for admitting that AMLO has the right (or, rather, Mexico has the right) to make changes to the 2013 “reforms” that (in her words) “opened the energy market”.

Or, to put it bluntly: she’s carping that Salazar was not so undiplomatic as to say “you can’t do that!” rather than, as he did, “You can make changes” [of course Mexican can change its laws], “BUT” [there’s always a “but” in diplo-speak] “under existing treaties”.

While the biggest villains in the private energy sector are not US firms (Iberodola and Respol… both Spanish firms, are the usual suspects), the complaint is that US “investors” MIGHT lose out

Somehow. There are a couple US power plants on the Mexican side (mostly solar) which it’s hard to see affected by any overall quota on foreign controlled energy production, so O’Grady instead has to claim that NOT RENEWING contracts is an “assault on the North American energy market, a key component of USMCA and the development on both sides of the border”.

Uh…. not renewing a contract isn’t a violation of anything. When a contract term is up, its up. if some investors assumed their contract would be renewed (especially under the original terms, when the terms were seen as disadvantagous to one side) they’re kidding themselves. As to USMCA (aka NAFA 2.0) there is a provision for the signatories to control assets for “national security” reasons, something AMLO has raised, but hasn’t been decided yet (and the Mexican grid doesn’t provide very much power to the US, other than a few communities right along the border now), the only change … other than a cap on foreign investments… would be that CFE (the Mexican power authority) would be the one controlling the sale and distribution of electrical power.

But that is enough:

The US has an obligration to call for formal consultations. Mexico’s most important trading partner needs to understand where AMLO is headed with his energy reforms and related discinntion already taking place. It out to advise the Mexican president that violations of the trade agreement will have consequences, including painful retaliation.

You, and whose army (errrr… don’t answer that!)

O’Grady is just up to her usual imperialist self… given her neo-liberal bias, and her connection with the “free market/pro-corporate” Liberty Fund … infamous for having groomed pro-business judges during the Reagan Administration and after … it isn’t surprising. Given the tenor of the comments on her article, about half claiming that Biden is a commie or a half-wit (or a half-witted commie) and the other half claiming the same about AMLO (none of which has anything to do with the energy reforms), at least one can say she knows her audience. Too bad she hazy on facts and logic.

SIDE NOTE: One commentator did note (and based on some speculation by Mexicans opposed to energy reform) that with PEMEX moving away from foreign sales towards concentrating on the domestic market, some otherwise useless petroleum by-products would likely be used to generate electricity. While concerning, there hasn’t been any evidence this is going to happen, although possibly coal fired plants might still be running at least in the short run.

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