Mexico Senate debates disputed oil reform

Christmas in August

A woman protests next to a fence in front of the Mexican Senate building holding a sign (reading: "Representatives and Senators will go down in history as what they are, traitors to the nation, vultures!") on December 5 2013, in Mexico CityMexico's Senate opened a debate on controversial legislation to break the country's oil monopoly by allowing foreign firms to drill for crude for the first time in 75 years. The bill, which has sparked demonstrations, is the centerpiece of President Enrique Pena Nieto's sweeping reform drive, which has led to new laws in tax collection, telecommunications and education in an effort to revitalize Latin America's second biggest economy. The latest reform would let private firms explore and extract oil and gas as well as share profits, production and risks with state-run energy giant Pemex, ending a ban cemented in the constitution. The proposed constitutional changes stem from a deal between Pena Nieto's centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the conservative opposition National Action Party (PAN).

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