Petroleos Mexicanos, the mainstay of Mexico's economy, was created in 1938 when then-President Lazaro Cardenas expropriated and nationalized private oil companies operating in Mexico. That action came amid growing nationalism over Mexico's natural resources-not to mention Cardenas' personal displeasure over what he considered a lack of respect by foreign oil companies toward Mexicans. Pemex's contribution to the Mexican economy is imposing.

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