1. This weekend, the Senate approved changes to the regulatory framework of the Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE by its acronym in Spanish) and PEMEX as part of the new legislation of the Energy Reform. Among the main changes are the following: it provides technical, operational and managerial autonomy to both companies, thereby reducing the administrative burden to which they were subject. Furthermore, the labor rights of workers are protected and the unions are allowed to remain as key players in the decisions of both companies. Specifically for PEMEX, it facilitates the creation of various subsidiaries to operate a variety of hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation projects; meanwhile, authorizes the CFE to provide private firms access to the national transmission and distribution electric network.
This is the third set of changes approved by the Senate. The fourth and final set of legislative changes are expected to be discussed during this week. The changes are still pending discussion and approval in the lower house of the Mexican Congress.
2. The Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS for its acronym in Spanish) and the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE for its acronym in Spanish) are facing budgetary pressures due to large pension obligations. According to the Ministry of Finance, over 50% of their annual expenditure goes directly to pension payments, which could threaten their financial viability in the long term according to experts. Several voices from the academic and private sectors have called to take action to address the problem of the national pension system. Several state and municipal governments are facing similar challenges.
3. Following a confrontation between residents and police in Puebla, one child died. On July 9th, there was a clash between residents of San Bernardino Chalchihuapan and state police in Atlixco-Puebla highway. Protesters blocked both directions of the road and were asking for the return of the Civil Registry Office to the municipal council. Members of the state police forced them to leave, which led to a confrontation that resulted in four people arrested, 18 injured policemen and a seriously injured child, who later died at the hospital. Controversy surrounds the case: the boy’s mother accused the state police of hurting her son with a rubber bullet, while the state government blamed the protesters. The Secretary of Public Safety rejected the notion that the state police used rubber bullets in the confrontation. Puebla’s State Government requested the Attorney General’s Office to deal with the matter in order to determine responsibility for injuries to the minor.