basco has become one of Mexico's most troubled states, where it was once the centre of Mexico's burgeoning oil industry. The rural region has been rattled by violent crime and is battling a mounting recession. I's also the birth place of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the man most likely to become Mexico's new president.
Reuters correspondent, Gabriel Stargardter.>> Tabasco is the cradle of Mexico's oil industry. The first oil discovery was made there in 1863, and it has long been a rural backwater which was has subsisted on enegy and oil production.>> But the state-run oil company Pemex took a big hit when President Enrique Pena Nieto staked his reputation on a landmark energy overhaul to attrack foreign money.
The reforms kicked in, in 2014, just as oil price has collapsed, weakening the appetite of international energy investors. Pemex was forced to slash thousands of jobs across Tabasco, leaving a once prosperous state with the highest unemployment rate in the country.>> We're a town of oil workers who are totally miserable, because if you go to the market a hen is sold to you for 150 or 200 pesos, when in other places it's less.
Why? Because here, to them, we are workers who make a lot of money, when we don't even have a job here.>> With the state mired in recession, crime has has also spiked. Just last year, Tabasco police registered 388 murders, 3 times higher than 2012. Tabasco's woes will surely play into the country's presidential election on July 1st.
>> The problems in Tabasco are symptomatic of larger problems afflicting Mexico, and have helped propel the state's most famous native son. Lopez Obrador has long been a critic of Pena Nieto's energy reform, and advocates returning to a time when Mexico was more energy self-sufficient. Those arguments have seen his appeal grow within Pemex's workforce.
>> The 64 year old candidate has promised to build a refinery in his home state and take measures to restore peace.