What’s Going On In This Country?

March 21, 2016 Edition
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

Mexican insurance. Everyone who works and pays taxes gets access to the Mexican national health insurance program for themselves and their families. Last year this system, called IMSS, spent about $1000 U.S. per beneficiary.

In comparison, workers at Pemex paid top peso for their health plan and they don’t like it. The state owned company paid about $2300 U.S. for each beneficiary and the employees want to abandon that ship and go with IMSS.

Speaking of Pemex. Pemex announced it has set up lines of credit with Mexico’s development banks to improve their liquidity and start paying back some of these billions of dollars they owe suppliers, as the firm seeks to repair finances hit by a dive in crude oil prices.

Pemex has deferred payments to dozens of suppliers and contractors since last year, racking up some $8.2 billion in debt. Their new loan to cover this, floated from three development banks, total $836 million. So, are we supposed to quit our whining about high prices at the pump? Aint gonna happen. We’re not crying for Pemex.

Sea Creature Washes Up. A 12 foot long sea creature that washed up on an Acapulco beach following a storm out to sea, has experts baffled. It looks like a rock in pictures, but it’s soft and mushy and definitely at one time not long ago was alive. While beach goers prod it with feet and sticks, marine biologists were on their way for their own investigation.

Remember Gulf gas stations?  The big orange disc for a logo? Maybe you’re not old enough. Looks like they’re not dead, they’re popping up in Mexico’s retail market, becoming the first foreign company to arrive here under an energy overhaul that loosened more than seven decades of government monopoly in the sector.

The company will open its first four gas stations in Mexico in June and July and aims to operate at least 100 by the end of the year. In the next three years it hopes to reach 2,000. Gulf has a target of 25 percent of the national market, which currently comprises more than 10,000 gas stations across Mexico, so get used to seeing orange instead of green.

Mexican gas stations must sell fuel at a fixed price, and Gulf will be subject to the same system. However, Mexican officials have said that in the future the prices will vary at the pump according to market forces.

In other news, private businesses will be able to import gasoline and diesel beginning two weeks from now instead of in 2017 as initially planned. Gulf’s headquarters are in Framingham, Massachusetts.