Wednesday, November 29, 2023

AMLO promises airport transparency despite embargo by Defense Secretariat

President López Obrador pledged on Thursday that all information related to the construction of the Santa Lucía airport will be made public.

The announcement came after it was revealed that the defense department had ruled that the master plan and other airport documents would remain classified for a period of five years.

Asked at his morning press conference about the Secretariat of Defense (Sedena) embargo, the president responded:

“We’re going to reveal everything that has to do with Santa Lucía; perhaps due to the legal proceedings . . . the barrage of injunctions . . . the decision [to classify the information] was taken but once the legal process is finished . . . all the information will be opened, it will be made available to all citizens.

“We don’t have anything to hide, nothing at all. We’re not the same as the conservatives,” López Obrador added, using a term he often employs to disparage his political opponents and members of the governments that ruled Mexico in recent years.

“. . . The instruction is that the whole process has to be transparent.”

Eight suspension orders have been granted against the airport but one was overturned by a federal judge after Sedena, which has been given responsibility for building the project at the Santa Lucía Air Force Base, applied for its repeal on the basis that halting construction could place national security at risk.

All of the defense department’s movable and immovable property, including the airport project, were classified as strategic installations on August 29.

Three weeks later, Sedena’s transparency committee issued a resolution that classified documents relating to the design, construction, operation and financing of the project as reserved information for five years.

“The committee confirms and formally declares all information related to the construction of the mixed military/civil international airport as reserved . . .” said the September 18 resolution.

“The disclosure of this information represents a real risk, because it could be used by members of organized crime to commit crimes of espionage, terrorism, sabotage, treason [and] genocide within national territory.”

The embargo covers the airport master plan and studies related to the airport’s safety, among other documents, the newspaper Reforma reported.

It also reserves information related to the construction of a road link between Santa Lucía and the existing Mexico City airport and the relocation of military facilities on the air force base site.

The decision to reserve the information came after Sedena was asked to supply a copy of the most recent version of the master plan so that it could be presented in court to support the application for an injunction against the project.

The #NoMásDerroches (No More Waste) Collective, a group that believes that reviving the previous government’s abandoned airport project is “legally possible,” has filed almost 150 injunction requests against the Santa Lucía project.

The legal action has delayed starting construction of the US $4.8-billion airport but the government is confident that they won’t be successful in canceling the project altogether. Rogelio Rodríguez, an attorney who specializes in aviation law, said in June that the legal battle could end up in the Supreme Court.

As soon as the injunctions have been annulled, the government is ready to begin construction of the airport, López Obrador said on Monday

“We’re ready, we have the whole project [ready to go], the machinery . . . We’re literally on our way to waving the starting flag.”

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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