A senior government official in Oaxaca who resigned after his son used a government helicopter to go on vacation is back on the public payroll, this time with responsibility for millions of pesos in social program spending.
Former interior secretary Alejandro Avilés Álvarez resigned hours after it was revealed that his son and a group of friends used an official helicopter to travel from the state capital to the resort town of Puerto Escondido during the Easter Week vacation in April.
The affair earned Avilés the hashtag moniker #lordhelicoptero.
This week, the federal Secretariat of Social Development, or Sedesol, designated the longtime Institutional Revolutionary Party politician as its representative in Oaxaca, managing the nearly 112 million pesos (almost US $6.3 million) allocated by the federal secretariat to the state of Oaxaca this year.
Oaxaca’s social development secretary welcomed Avilés back at the swearing-in ceremony yesterday, remarking that his challenges will be great given that an estimated 2.6 million of Oaxaca’s 3.9 million citizens are under the poverty line.
Avilés will also oversee several welfare programs including Oportunidades, senior citizens’ pensions, and life insurance for female heads of family, all of which amounts to over 12 billion pesos.
The new delegate pledged to spend Sedesol funding in a “faultless” manner. The career politician said people in over half the state’s 570 municipalities live in “extreme poverty,” and that he would work with the state government to raise the level of Oaxaca’s development, one of the lowest in Mexico.
Also yesterday, the Secretary of Accountability and Government Transparency exonerated Avilés of any wrongdoing in his son’s use of a helicopter and a senior Sedesol official said there was no legal impediment to Avilés holding his new position.
The appointee himself told a reporter there was no investigation under way against him, rather there had been a ruling in his favor by the Accountability Secretariat.
According to the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval), 75% of people in Oaxaca lack access to social security, almost 61% lack access to basic services in their dwellings, 36% have shortfalls in their diet, 27% do not have access to a proper education, 22% live in crowded conditions and 1.1 million people live in extreme poverty.
Half the federal funds funneled through Sedesol to Oaxaca are spent on abating poverty, according to the secretariat’s figures.