López Obrador, left, and Transportation Secretary Jiménez: a contradiction over airport crooks. López Obrador, left, and Transportation Secretary Jiménez: a contradiction over airport crooks.

AMLO claims ‘crooks’ are behind airport injunctions after 7th obtained

The transportation secretary said he disagreed that crooks were involved, but later changed his story

A federal court yesterday issued a seventh injunction against the Santa Lucía airport, triggering an accusation by the president that “crooks” are behind the legal action, a charge that was refuted by the federal transportation secretary.

A judge in México state ordered that construction of the airport cannot proceed until the government shows that it has all necessary environmental, security, aeronautic viability, archaeological, social, political and inter-institutional permits.

The definitive suspension order also instructs authorities not to make any changes to the site of the abandoned airport in Texcoco, México state.

Existing elements of the canceled project must not be demolished, dismantled, flooded or altered in any way, the judge said.

The court order is the seventh obtained by the #NoMásDerroches (No More Waste) Collective, a group made up of civil society organizations, law firms and more than 100 citizens.

Artist's conception of the new airport at Santa Lucía.
Artist’s conception of the new airport at Santa Lucía.

The collective has filed 147 injunction requests that could hold up or threaten construction of the new airport.

The group has said that it wants a review of the legality of the cancelation of the new Mexico City airport whose revival, a lawyer said last week, is “legally possible.”

At his morning press conference yesterday, López Obrador said that “crooks” involved in construction of the canceled Mexico City airport are responsible for initiating the legal action against the Santa Lucía project.

“. . .They’re unhappy because they couldn’t carry out the swindle. . . It was a lucrative business, so they were left upset,” he said.

During last year’s presidential campaign, López Obrador opposed the Texcoco project on the grounds that it was corrupt, too expensive, not needed and being built on land that was sinking.

He canceled the partially-built project following a legally-questionable public consultation in October that found almost 70% support to convert the Santa Lucía Air Force Base into a commercial airport and to upgrade the existing airports in Mexico City and Toluca.

“. . . Now they don’t want us to do the Santa Lucía airport,” the president said yesterday, referring to the so-called “crooks” behind the legal action.

“They’re even using drones to see if it’s being built and if they can stop it with legal proceedings, with injunctions. They’re people linked to those who don’t approve of us,” he added.

The president said he will continue to speak out against the airport-related legal action despite the Mexican College of Lawyers issuing a request for him not to intervene in the matter and not to pressure the federal judiciary.

“Now that I pointed out that there was a campaign to present injunctions against construction of the Mexico City military airport, a lawyers’ association came out saying that I couldn’t talk about the matter. Well, I’ll make use of my right to [free] expression. There’s no way they’re going to shut me up . . .”

Later yesterday, Communications and Transportation Secretary Javier Jiménez Espriú told a reporter outside the National Palace in Mexico City that he didn’t share the president’s view that “crooks” were responsible for filing the injunction requests.

“Well, the president said that, I don’t agree with the president,” he said in a recorded interview.

Jiménez reiterated that the injunctions haven’t affected the airport project because construction hasn’t yet started. He also said that reports that he would leave the cabinet were nothing more than “rumors.”

Despite clearly contradicting López Obrador’s “crooks” claim, the transportation chief last night issued a Twitter message stating that he had been misquoted or misinterpreted.

“This morning at [the National] Palace a reporter asked my opinion about the president’s statements in relation to there being corruption behind the injunctions against the Santa Lucía airport. I said: I agree with the president.”

Source: El Universal (sp), El Economista (sp) 

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