Home Feature BlackRock, the financial giant accused of corruption and environmental damage, is AMLO’s ally on the Mayan Train.

BlackRock, the financial giant accused of corruption and environmental damage, is AMLO’s ally on the Mayan Train.

by Yucatan Times
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BlackRock is the world’s largest investment fund with a presence in over 100 countries. This financial giant has been accused of several corruption projects, environmental damage, and human rights violations. Today it is emerging as a supplier in the construction of the Mayan Train.

MEXICO CITY (piedepagina) – BlackRock was the only consortium to bid for the construction of Section 5 of the Mayan Train that runs from Cancun to Tulum, Quintana Roo.

This Monday, the decision will be made to determine whether the consortium will be awarded the 125 kilometers project.

The bids for the project are made at an international level, but even so, BlackRock was the only candidate for the project, according to the National Fund for Tourism Development (Fonatur).

The 1,500 kilometer Mayan Train is the most important project ever undertaken in the Yucatan Peninsula, but the plan has met opposition from some Mayan groups and environmental organizations.

Although Black Rock will be in charge of the master plan’s shortest stretch, there are concerns about the company’s modus operandi.

The Poder organization has been documenting the operations of this investment fund for years. BlackRock began operations in Mexico in 2008, during the six-year term of Felipe Calderon. The former undersecretary of finance at the time, Gerardo Rodriguez Regordosa, is now part of the New York company. At that time, the assets were concentrated in two areas: investment funds and the stock market.

When Enrique Peña Nieto arrived, the company began to stand out for its interest in the energy sector, after the Energy Reform.

Since the energy reform, the fund manager has invested in the energy industry in such a way that in just three years, between 2015 and 2017, BlackRock has taken direct and indirect control of five energy infrastructure projects, including two pipelines considered to be of national security, and six oil exploration blocks.

Black Rock’s first investment was in constructing a section of the Los Ramones pipeline, the mega-project that would bring gas from the Texas fields in the United States to the state of Guanajuato. Interestingly, another contractor for the work was the transnational company Odebretch, accused of paying bribes to officials such as Emilio Lozoya.

In the publication made by Poder, it is noted that Black Rock’s board of directors, including its director Laurence Fink and senior Mexican officials, met on several occasions during the past six years. Even before the 2018 elections, several presidential candidates met with Fink: José Antonio Mead, Ricardo Anaya, Margarita Zavala, and now President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

In another investigation called “BlackRock, the Unknown Giant,” Poder points out that the investment manager and Afore Banamex signed two contracts in 2014 to invest Mexicans’ savings abroad. The problem, according to the publication, is that the company “did not comply with the guidelines of the National Commission of the System for Savings (Consar), which requires that for this type of management company to invest the pensions of Mexicans, they should not have pending investigations.

At that time, BlackRock Investments Management UK was being investigated in Italy.

BlackRock is probably the most powerful company globally, but despite its influence, it is a little known company outside of financial circles. In Mexico, it is the main shareholder of companies listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange. The fund manager has close ties to companies linked to Carlos Slim and has been one of the most prominent stockbrokers in América Móvil for years.

Outside of Mexico, BlackRock has power in transnational companies such as Exxon Mobil, Shell, Citigroup, Bank of America, JPM Chase, Apple, McDonald’s, and Nestle. Pharmaceutical, real estate, banking, oil, aviation, chemical, mining, automotive, and food industries are part of its portfolio. It is also a shareholder of some of the world’s largest arms companies, such as American Outdoor Brands Corporation, Sturm Ruger & Company, and Vista Outdoor or mercenary armies.

Black Rock is in virtually every area of the economy and has even been accused of using that power at critical times, such as the 2008 economic crisis, when the company doubled its profits. The company has also been involved in advising governments. For many analysts, Black Rock is a sign of the excessive power of the banks.

Recently BlackRock obtained permission from the Chinese government to establish a mutual fund company. It is the first foreign company to obtain authorization in the Chinese market.

So far, five of the eight bids for the construction of the mega-project have been delivered.

1. Section one of the project (Escárcega-Plenque) was delivered to Mota-Engil Mexico SAPI de C.V. in agreement with China Communications Construction Company LTD, Grupo Cosh S.A. de C.,V Eyasa and Gavil Ingeniería S.A.

2. Section two of the project (Escárcega-Calkiní) was delivered to Operadora CICSA S.A. de C.V. in an association agreement with FCC Construcción S.A.

3. Section three of the project (Calkiní-Izamal) was delivered to Construcciones Urales, S.A. de C.V. in an association agreement with GAMI Ingeniería e Instalaciones, S.A. de C.V and AZVI, S.A.U.

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