The leader of the Pemex workers’ union (STPRM) was unanimously re-elected for a fifth six-year term yesterday in a decision that will extend his time at the helm to well beyond a quarter of a century.
Carlos Romero Deschamps, who is also a senator for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), first became the general secretary of the state oil company’s union in 1993.
Members of the 36 locals of the powerful petroleum workers’ union made the unanimous decision via a vote at an extraordinary convention.
The new term starts January 1 and runs through until the end of 2024. If he completes the full period, Romero will have overseen the union’s operations for 3o years.
Although the position was not scheduled for renewal until next year, a decision was made to bring the vote forward to avoid clashing with next year’s elections, union sources said.
His re-election was questioned in some quarters but Labor Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida signed off on the decision, assuring its legal validity.
Navarrete congratulated Romero on his re-election and said the union is a pillar of the labor movement in Mexico and has managed to adapt to change and overcome challenges for more than 80 years.
“I am sure that Pemex with the backing of the STPRM will maintain its fundamental strength in the development of its more than 120,000 workers and Mexico,” he said.
Over the years, the union — and Romero — have been implicated in various scandals, most notably the so-called Pemexgate case, which came to light in 2001.
The union was found to have diverted 500 million pesos to the presidential campaign of PRI candidate Francisco Labastida who was ultimately defeated by Vicente Fox in the 2000 election.
Romero has also been accused of illicit enrichment and criticized for his ostentatious lifestyle, including giving a limited-edition Ferrari to his son.
Earlier this year, he drew criticism from opposition political parties after the lavish wedding of his daughter at an exclusive hotel in Mexico City. Romero, 74, first joined Pemex in 1969 and became a member of its union two years later.
The past year has been one of mixed fortunes for the state oil company.
While President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Pemex had made its biggest onshore oil discovery in 15 years last month, it also battled fires at one of its refineries and the company’s former CEO Emilio Lozoya has faced a series of corruption allegations.
Source: El Universal (sp)