Spanish – The massive blackout, which occurred on Monday, December 28, in Mexico, left 10.3 million people without electricity service. For two hours, at least 12 entities in the country, including the capital, were without power.
The unexpected failure immediately caused the hashtags #SinLuz (without electricity) and #Venezuela to trend on social media, referring to the frequent blackouts that occur in Venezuela.
Siempre me ha parecido exagerada la comparación con Venezuela… pero con cosas como el apagón de hoy se empeñan en mantener vivo ese espectro. ¿Hace cuánto que no sucedía una cosa así en México?
— Pascal BeltrandelRio (@beltrandelrio) December 29, 2020
Tuvimos ya nuestro primer apagón nacional, el primero de muchísimos que vendrán, vamos a estar como Venezuela Donde lo único que se puede ir del país es la Luz 💡
— Antonio Garci Nieto (@Garcimonero) December 29, 2020
There had not been a mass blackout like the one on Monday since 1980. The Federal Electricity Commission reported that there was an “imbalance in the National Interconnected System between the load and the generation of energy. This caused the loss of approximately 7500 MW.”
A las 14:28 (centro) se presentó un desbalance en el Sistema Interconectado Nacional entre la carga y la generación de energía, ocasionando una pérdida de aproximadamente 7,500 MW. A las 16:15 se restableció al 100%
— CFEmx (@CFEmx) December 28, 2020
Whatever that means, millions of users had no electricity for two hours. The lack of electricity affected, among others, citizens who are working from home because of the pandemic.
The federal government said that hospitals were not affected because they have electric plants. We will have to wait for the real count of the damages.
Another unfulfilled promise
In his morning address, Lopez Obrador assured that a massive blackout would not happen again. A year ago, the Mexican president had already promised that there would be no blackouts. There is always a tweet that reminds us of that.
Al término de la gira por centrales eléctricas de la CFE en Querétaro, Michoacán y Colima, reitero el compromiso de que no habrá apagones y de mantener sin aumentos el precio de la luz. Seguirá habiendo progreso con justicia. pic.twitter.com/QE6EKgaVDo
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) December 23, 2019
The question is, will AMLO’s government will begin to ration electric energy as in Venezuela? Will it recommend women not to use the hairdryer too much, as Nicolás Maduro did?
Los apagones son muy de Venezuela y ahora de México.
¿Hacia dónde vamos como país?
— Mariana Gómez del Campo (@marianagc) December 29, 2020
Lack of expertise forces private sector involvement
Faced with this unprecedented blackout, PAN senators called on the government to maintain the participation of the private sector in the generation of electricity, in addition to the need of autonomous agencies. They say that AMLO’s government intends to remove the private sector from the electricity competition.
However, López Obrador made it clear and reiterated that “the production of electric energy will not be privatized” because the CFE functions correctly, and it is not necessary to contract private companies.
Once again, the system failed the controversial Manuel Bartlett
The Federal Electricity Commission is headed by Manuel Bartlett Díaz, a controversial politician with a long career within the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Labor Party (PT), and today in Morena, AMLO’s party.
In 1988, as a PRI member and Secretary (Minister) of the Interior, Bartlett announced that “supposedly,” there were difficulties in receiving information about the presidential election. It was the first time that there were preliminary results. The electoral districts informed the results of the voting by telephone to the Federal Electoral Commission (electoral arbiter).
And he failed just when the PRD candidate, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, was ahead in the votes. When the system was re-established, the PRI (his party) had already recovered, and Carlos Salinas de Gortari won the elections.
Of course, AMLO’s opponents flooded social media with mockery of Manuel Bartlett as an expert on system failures.
However, the director of the CFE is one of López Obrador’s spoiled men. He was recently named for alleged acts of corruption within the Commission. He was also accused of having presented an incomplete estate declaration, where he did not reveal the total of his “inexplicable fortune” and several residences he owned. The Secretary of Public Function cleared him, and AMLO defended him.
Is this the fault of the neoliberal governments of the past?
Therefore, it will not be surprising that before blaming him for the blackout, AMLO will argue that it is all the consequence of previous bad, neoliberal, and corrupt governments that did not do their job well and only stole from the coffers.
This is the rhetoric that the Mexican president uses to justify all the problems Mexico faces: the pandemic, the health sector, the economy, insecurity, education, and so on.
AMLO has copied words, phrases, and fragments of speeches of the former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. There are even those who have written about their similarities.
There, the Fifth Republic was promoted; here, the Fourth Transformation. There, the Army was given extreme power; here, it is already the case. Venezuela faced a shortage of gasoline; the same is happening here. Over there, blackouts are frequent; here, the first one has already occurred.
The López Obrador government has copied communication strategies, pamphlets, even the so-called “servants of the nation,” who carry out the census for the government’s assistance programs.
The comparisons may seem exaggerated, but each situation that occurs in Mexico, and that has happened in Venezuela will not cease to be a strong call of attention for the Mexicans.