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Analysis

Energy Minister Track Record

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 13:03

On December 1st, 2012, the 62-year old Pedro Joaquin Coldwell was appointed as Energy Minister in President Enrique Peña Nieto’s cabinet, only hours after he resigned as President of the PRI. In this position, which he held for just under a year, Coldwell worked closely with campaign manager Luis Videgaray, the current Finance Minister, on the successful election campaign of that resulted in the PRI reclaiming the presidency after 12 years of rule by the PAN.

After graduating with a law degree from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, Coldwell was elected deputy to the Congress of his home state Quintana Roo at the age of 25. He served four years as Secretary General in the Quintana Roo government, and became a Federal Deputy in 1979. Two years later, Coldwell was elected Governor of Quintana Roo at only 31 years of age, a position that he held until 1987. He subsequently served as Director General of Fonatur (National Fund of Tourism Promotion), and was Mexico’s Tourism Secretary from 1990-1993 in the PRI-led government of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Coldwell’s long history of involvement and leadership in the PRI – which also included a post as Mexican Ambassador to Cuba between 1998-2000 and a term as Senator between 2006-2012 – has positioned him as a key member of the party. According to José Merino, a political science professor at ITAM, “If you open up a dictionary and look for the word PRI, the definition could include Pedro Joaquin Coldwell.”

“He is distinguished by his bargaining, dialogue, and openness. It is an appointment that will lead to a honest and healthy discussion and debate with Mexican society, with the potential to build public policies that will help the country,” says Senator David Penchyna, President of the Senate Energy Commission. “Mexico needs someone who has a lot of political muscle to push through a comprehensive energy reform and make it a reality.”

Coldwell will also have to deal with multiple issues during his tenure as Energy Minister, which include maintaining and increasing current oil and gas production levels, improving and expanding transportation infrastructure, increasing Mexico’s refining capacity, and ensuring that Mexico’s power generation and transmission infrastructure is able to meet the rising demand to fuel the country’s forecasted economic growth. Most importantly, Mexico’s Energy Minister will be instrumental in achieving meaningful, wide ranging energy reform.