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Fight over revered ex-president's image dominates Mexico's oil debate

The debate over proposals to open Mexico's oil industry to private companies has become mired in a battle over the memory of revered former president Lazaro Cardenas, roughly Mexico's equivalent of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Current President Enrique Pena Nieto has launched a blitz of TV ads that prominently feature photos of Lazaro Cardenas, who expropriated foreign oil companies and nationalized the industry when he was president from 1934 to 1940.

Cardenas' son and other leftists say the government is trying to re-privatize the state-owned oil company, Pemex.

Pena Nieto denies that. He says private companies will be allowed only profit-sharing contracts, not ownership of the country's oil.

But Cuauhtemoc Cardenas said Friday that the government was insulting his father's memory.