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Mexico debates whether to debate, as soccer puts politics on back burner during World Cup

Mexico's congress started debate Tuesday on the rules of a historic opening of the state-owned oil industry amid doubts about whether the discussion should be held during the World Cup soccer tournament.

The World Cup opens Thursday and is expected to glue Mexicans to their television sets, just as the Senate holds a weeks-long debate on how to open the oil, gas and electricity industries to private and foreign investors.

Oil is a sensitive subject in Mexico; the 1938 expropriation of the industry still marks a point of national pride, but the country's oil production has been fallen steadily.

Some on the left say the timing of the debate is meant to keep Mexicans' attention off what they claim is a give-away of the industry to multinational firms.