Expropriation is the action and effect of expropriating. This verb refers to the conduct developed by the public administration to deprive to one person of the ownership of a well (such as a house, a company or a factory) or a right, in exchange for a compensation.
The expropriation is carried out under the pretext of the social interest wave public utility, which generally means that it is within the framework of the law. This does not eliminate the possibility, on the other hand, that the authorities commit abuses in this type of process.
Through expropriation, the ownership of an asset passes from a private owner to the State. The transfer is coercive: the person does not apply as a seller, but rather the State orders the expropriation and establishes the conditions.
The most common form of expropriation involves a fair compensation to the expropriated subject. An example of expropriation occurs when the State decides to build a highway and must demolish houses for its route: in that case, it needs to acquire said houses without their owners being able to refuse (if they do so, they would prevent the construction of the road). To solve the problem, the authorities resort to expropriation.
On other occasions, expropriation is carried out in a more violent or compulsive way and has ideological or political justifications. The Cuban Revolution, for example, expropriated in the decade of 1960 the assets of U.S. citizens in Cuba and broke relations with the North American country. It should be noted that the limits and scope of the expropriation depend on the legislation of each nation.
It is known as oil expropriation to one of the most significant events in the history of Mexico 19th century. In 1938, General Lázaro Cárdenas, then President of the Republic, summoned the media, especially the radio and the press, to make public his decision to legally appropriate the oil that, until then, had been exploited by certain Business foreign.
The oil of more than fifteen companies, among which were El Águila and the Mexican Petroleum Company of California, would belong to Mexico. It is worth mentioning that some of these oil companies have become important international corporations.
There are two milestones that were directly related to the oil expropriation: pro-worker policy and the foundation of Petromex (a public company dedicated to the exploitation of natural gas and oil, among other energy resources). In 1924, the struggle to get El Águila to sign a contract labor to its workers saw its end, after numerous frustrated attempts.
A decade later, the constitution of the Oil Workers’ Union ensured a limit of 40 hours per week for working hours, as well as full salary coverage in case of health problems. These measures sought to eliminate the differences of the many collective agreements that the companies had signed up to that moment and to substantially improve the terms of the workers.
It was an arduous struggle, adorned with strikes and demands, threats and the use of force, which generated an inevitable shortage of oil in Mexico. However, the President empathized with the workers. In July 1937, a Commission of experts set about investigating the financial situation of the defendant companies, and concluded that they were earning enough money to satisfy the demands. requests of the workers without any problem.
In the absence of a response, a new strike took place, and this led to a claim for protection by the oil companies, which was denied by the Supreme Court. That was the point at which the companies rebelled; then, the Justice set a deadline for the payment of their debt to the workers. The alleged insolence of the companies during the meetings with the President himself were one of the decisive factors for the country, finally, to seize its wealth oil company.