Mexico’s powerful Business Coordinating Council (CCE) has called off a planned round table with the presidential candidates to discuss the new Mexico City International Airport project.
CCE president Juan Pablo Castañón told a press conference yesterday that there was no point holding the meeting because frontrunner Andrés Manuel López Obrador has shown that he doesn’t want to listen to the private sector and is inflexible in his stance on the development.
López Obrador has threatened to suspend the project, charging that it is corrupt, too expensive and prone to sinking due to its ancient lakebed location.
“The position of the Morena [party] candidate is so resolute that he’s already released brochures. After hearing his response to what Carlos Slim said and the arguments that his expert has given, [we’ve concluded that] they’re not open to dialogue. We’re not interested in organizing a forum with all the candidates when one doesn’t listen . . .” Castañón said.
The business leader added, “it’s up to him to listen, make proposals and convince us” of his position. “We hope that he is open to dialogue.”
In response, López Obrador said that the CCE decision was proof that “they don’t want contracts to be reviewed.”
He and Castañon agreed last month to participate in an in-depth and clear analysis of the US $13-billion project, although at the time there was no proposal for all the presidential candidates to be involved.
Speaking in Sonora, the candidate for the “Together We Will Make History” coalition told reporters that the cancelation could also be attributed to Castañón being under the control of “the mafia of power,” a frequent catchphrase López Obrador uses to rail against the political establishment.
“Don’t forget that those who lead these [business] organizations have bosses above them; he [Castañón] is certainly under a lot of pressure,” the candidate said.
“. . . We need to see who has interests, who the contractors are. We already know that Slim is one, he came out to defend his part . . . I understand there are five. Imagine it. Slim has two, [Hipólito] Gerard, the brother-in-law of [former president Carlos] Salinas, has one,” he stated.
The third-time candidate — who has a 22-point lead over his nearest rival according to a new poll — said that he will hold his own discussions with the interested parties after he wins the election.
“We need to talk, let there be transparency, let everything be known about the new airport they want to build on Lake Texcoco. Who are the contractors? How did they get the contracts? What does it mean for the nation to fund this project? Why commit workers’ pensions? All this has to be analyzed.”
Source: Milenio (sp)