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Ex-President Vicente Fox Defends Mexico’s Gas Price Liberalization

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - Jan 11, 2017, 3:57 pm
Ex-president Vicente Fox has urged Mexicans to keep an open mind towards energy reform (
Ex-president Vicente Fox has urged Mexicans to keep an open mind towards energy reform (Voz en Voz).

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Mexico’s former president, Vicente Fox, defended the liberalization of fuel prices, arguing that by the end of 2017 “we will be living in a much better situation than we are today,” noting that the free market measure is good public policy and will ultimately benefit the Aztec country, although the benefits may not be seen until the years 2018 and 2019.

Fox expressed his opinions in his weekly Fox Populi program broadcast on Tuesday, asking the public to not merely focus on the current 20% price increase as something “in perpetuity” but as a “turbulence” that is a normal part of the adjustment process in moving from government-controlled prices to a free market.

The PAN party asked Mexicans for patience and understanding in the wake of the price increase, describing it as “the medicine which nobody likes to take.” Fox also recalled that during his government he was unable to complete the energy reform, and that neither Ernesto Zedillo nor Felipe Calderón were able to do so, and thus the gasoline subsidy remained in place for 18 years.

This subsidy cost the Mexican government at least 200 billion Mexican pesos a year (around USD $100 million), making it an extremely expensive means of currying favor with the voting public. Fox emphasized the need to escape from “that trap, this deception” referring to the populist measure.

“The energy reform was a big step forward of President Peña; a step which neither my administration, nor those of Zedillo and Calderon were ever able to take. The three of us tried to move forward on this front, convince Congress and move public opinion, as well as convince the political parties of the need for it,” said Fox.

He also pointed out that during the past 18 years, three presidential terms had passed, and the issue of energy reform was frequently blockaded, especially due to the populism and demagoguery of Mexican left-wing leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “The wealth that can be generated through these reforms is miraculous.”

Source: Milenio

Elena Toledo Elena Toledo

Educator by trade, social-media apprentice, activist for a democratic Honduras, and free thinker. Follow her on Twitter @NenaToledo.

Penalosa Will Begin Bogota Metro After $5.2 Billion in Government Financing

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Jan 11, 2017, 3:07 pm
The Colombian government has finalized plans for the long-awaited Bogota metro (

Español Following a meeting in the Palace of Nariño, the residence of the president of Colombia, the Colombian government announced its finalized proposal for construction of Bogota's much awaited metro. The national government will allocate $9.6 trillion Colombian pesos (USD $3.2 billion) to build the first metro line in Bogota, which will have a total estimated cost of $13.8 trillion Colombian pesos (USD $4.6 billion). The remaining funds will be paid from the finances of the Colombian capital itself. In addition, investments of up to $15.5 trillion Colombian pesos (USD $5.2 billion) were announced for projects that improve mobility in the greater Bogota metropolitan region, which are expected to include expansion of the articulated bus system known as the "Transmilenio" into Soacha, a municipality located south of Bogota, as well as construction of the "Regiotram" commuter train. Read More: Bogota Metro Plan Runs off the Track with Mayor Accused of Malfeasance Read More: Bogota Approves Sale of Major Internet, Cable TV Provider Soacha, located in the department of Cundinamarca, is Bogota's largest and fastest growing suburb, whose skyrocketing population has caused transportation and infrastructure headaches for local governments. The government has allocated $600 billion Colombian pesos (USD $203.4 million) to complete the pending phases of the Transmilenio's southern trunk lines, which are estimated to be moving about 420,000 passengers per day. The government has also appropriated $1.36 trillion Colombian pesos (USD $461 million) for the construction of the Regiotram, a commuter rail which will link Bogota to the Cundinamarca municipalities of Madrid, Funza, Mosquera, and Facatativá. It is expected that around 211,000 passengers a day will use this service, which will be significantly faster than the bus lines currently in use. Finally, both local and national governments will be in charge of financing Bogotá's long-awaited and elusive metro, leaving aside other models such as public/private partnerships. Thus, the Colombian state will be responsible for the paying the totality of the construction expenses. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Hours before the meeting, the government also announced the appointment of a new manager of the Transmilenio. He is Andrés Escobar Uribe, a civil engineering graduate of the School of Engineering of Antioquia, who was also manager of the Pedro Gómez and Comapañía construction company, one of the most well-known in the country. Escobar said that thanks to having an approved budget, the Bogota metro company will be able to start working, a key request of the multilateral bank that will help with the credit that is needed to finance 90% of the project. The other 10% will be financed in the future, but Mayor Enrique Peñalosa and the Bogota city council are still working out the terms. Source: El Tiempo

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