The Fox and the Henhouse: A Mexican Fairytale
By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
In what can only be considered a case of the fox being sent to guard the henhouse — and then, declaring himself innocent while standing in a coop strewn with dead chickens — Baker Hughes Latin America director Bob Pérez on Monday, Feb. 21, said that having “thoroughly reviewed” the contracts his company has with Mexico’s state-owned oil venture Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and the yearlong rental of a million-dollar Houston mansion to the eldest son of Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), he and Baker Hughes had determined that there was “no conflict of interest and nothing irregular” in the two arrangements.
Even more absurd than the fact that the alleged culprit in the nepotistic affair felt that the controversy could be swept aside by an incredulous self-proclamation of innocence was the venue where Pérez’s declaration was made: inside the Pemex facilities, with Pemex Director Octavio Romero Oropeza standing at Pérez’s side.
Pérez said that Keith Schilling, the Baker Hughes executive who rented the home to José Ramón López Beltrán and his wife, had “left the company in December 2019” (about the same time that López Beltrán was living the mansion) and that he had never worked in Baker Hughes’ Mexico branch (so apparently, there is no internal communications between the company’s different regional branches; uh-huh).
(Conveniently, Pérez did not touch on the fact that the rental of the home was never registered officially as is required by Texas law.)
But all this so-called “evidence” of the absence of a conflict of interest, Pérez said, has been turned over to — wait for it — Pemex (the other guilty party in the scandalous affair), which he said would, in due time, be channeled to the federal Attorney General’s Office.
So, case closed.
The fox has spoken.
But even the most faithful and myopic AMLO-ites may have trouble swallowing this fable.