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Summary of the Petroleum Industry for 1921..
Summary of the Petroleum Industry for 1922..
Summary of the Petroleum Industry for 1923.
Capital Invested in the Petroleum Industry..
Names of Oil Companies Operating in Mexico.
Statistics of Immigration and Emigration, 1922..
SECTION I-HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
HISTORICAL SUMMARY, 1921-4*
The 1920-21 edition of the Mexican Year Book was issued shortly after President Obregón came into office. The problems which Mexico then faced were very great. There was still opposition to the new régime in certain quarters and this had to be dissipated either by force or by conciliation.
The economic situation of the country also left much to be desired. The railroads, for example, were in wretched shape and could not serve the nation's transportation needs until they had been rehabilitated and supplied with new equipment. Though much still remained to be done to bring the railroads up to an adequate standard of efficiency, the improvement in railway service during the first three years of Obregón's administration (until the De la Huerta revolution undid much of what had been accomplished), was very marked. Two enterprises of especial importance were begun by the Southern Pacific of Mexico and by the Mexican Railway, both of which, it might be added, are privately operated, independent lines.
The Southern Pacific, employing funds received from the Mexican treasury to satisfy the company's claims against the government for damages suffered during the revolutions, set out to build some ninety miles of track between Tepic and Guadalajara. It is estimated that the cost of this undertaking will be in the neighborhood of $16,000,000. When completed the line will link the rich west coast of Mexico with the capital, and also furnish a direct means of communication between Mexico City and all the Pacific States of the United States. No more important railway project has been. undertaken in Mexico in many years.
The Mexican Railway, operating between Mexico City and Vera Cruz, in its turn undertook to electrify a portion of its line which leads over some of the steepest grades known to railway engineering from the high central plateau to sea level.
In addition to the railway problem, Obregón had to face many other serious issues of an economic and social character. He was
*For a summary of Mexico's historical development prior to the Obregón administration, see the Mexican Year Book for 1920-21.
confronted with the difficult task of reconciling certain of the provisions of the Constitution of 1917 with Mexico's international obligations and with his own earnest desire to see the country prosperous and contented...
The Agrarian-Laws, of which Dr. Priestley writes in Section IV of this volume, were particularly troublesome. Labor, moreover, was restless, hot exactly sure of its own mind, and much inclined to strike at the bidding of certain leaders who often used their power for selfish purposes. The disastrous and long-continued conflict in the fall of 1923 between the railway employees and the marine workers at Vera Cruz (a quarrel not between labor and capital, but merely between two labor organizations) was a case in point.
From an economic standpoint, also, the country did not revive 'after Carranza's downfall as rapidly as certain enthusiasts predicted. The petroleum industry, fortunately for the government as well as for the country at large, experienced a genuine boom during 1921 and 1922, as the statistics published further on in this volume will show. But in 1923 a reaction set in which has had a depressing and widespread effect even beyond the oil fields.
Mining during the past three years has shown some improvement over the stagnation of 1920; but the revival has not been uniform nor continuous, and it would be an exaggeration to say that the industry today is in normal or satisfactory shape.
Agriculture, also, had by no means recovered from the disastrous effects of the long years of revolution, which followed Madero's overthrow, when Obregón became president. The economic depression which followed the World War also laid a blight upon this branch of Mexico's economic life, as the almost complete collapse of the henequen industry in Yucatán so sadly showed.
Furthermore the uncertainty to which the Agrarian Decrees gave rise also retarded any genuine agricultural revival. These conditions, however, were gradually growing better when the De la Huerta revolution, which will be spoken of a little later, disrupted the normal trend of this revival. How seriously the revolt has affected Mexican agriculture cannot be determined at this time.
From a financial standpoint, Mexico has made little progress in the last three years. The banking system, so completely ruined by revolutions and Carranza's manipulations, has never been restored. Interest rates are so high as to strangle all attempts at business expansion, and several disastrous banking failures have occurred since 1921. More serious still, there has not been any very great influx of American or European capital to furnish the necessary elements for a genuine era of national prosperity.
From these financial evils the Mexican government itself has not escaped. At the very beginning of Obregón's term, the treasury was confronted by the most insistent obligations. Interest had not been paid on the national debt since 1913. Tremendous claims for