The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Gas Diverted

Jun 3, 2024

Mexico’s electrical system crashed this May during an extreme heat wave. Hours-long blackouts hit 21 Mexican states. Millions of homes lost air conditioning. The country has been importing more and more natural gas from fracking in the U.S. in the name of generating electricity. But nobody takes ordinary people’s power needs into account. It’s all about the dollar.

U.S. company Sempra Energy has spent more than 10 billion dollars over almost 30 years, building thousands of miles of natural gas pipelines through more than half of Mexico’s states. U.S. and Canadian natural gas companies now own almost half the gas pipelines in Mexico. But even as more and more industrial parks have power, electrical use per person has stagnated for two decades.

The gas companies don’t even want the gas to be used in Mexico. They build port facilities to liquefy the gas and pipe it onto ships for quick export and sale in Asia and Europe. They intend to pass twice as much natural gas through Mexico for re-export as the country can use to generate power. This is using Mexico as a big, cheap pipeline.

As a result, whenever there is an extreme problem, such as May’s heat spell—problems which happen more often because of climate change—Mexico’s power grid crashes. In May, temperatures in a third of the country topped 113 degrees. Mexico City hit 93 degrees by day and didn’t cool down at night, unlike in the past. It is unhealthy to try to sleep in such heat. But power went out for hours.

U.S. companies make billions of dollars exporting environmentally hazardous fossil fuel through Mexico, making climate change worse. Working people in Mexico pay the price.