Wednesday, November 29, 2023

AMLO threatens to take away 100-year port concession to ‘private’ firm

President López Obrador said on Tuesday that his administration would seek to revoke a 100-year concession granted to a “private” company that manages the Veracruz port.

But apparently unbeknownst to the president, the Administración Portuaria Integral de Veracruz is in fact a state-owned company created by the federal government in 1993.

Speaking at his regular news conference on Tuesday morning, López Obrador said the 1988-94 government of former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari gave a 50-year concession to the “private” company that manages and operates the Veracruz port.

He rebuked former president Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2012-18 government for extending the length of the concession from 50 years to 100 – until 2094 –  just days after López Obrador won the July 2018 presidential election.

“I just found out that they awarded a concession for the port of Veracruz for 50 years and days after we won they extended the term for 50 more years. Just imagine it, a concession for a century! How did they sign that? We’re going to seek to revoke the contract for the management of the port, the entire 100 years.”

Later on Tuesday, López Obrador posted to his Twitter account the contract signed in 2018 that extends the port concession for an additional 50 years.

“This morning I spoke about how Salinas privatized the Veracruz port for 50 years, … Peña extended the concession until 2094, in other words for a century,” López Obrador wrote, charging that not even former president-cum-dictator Porfirio Díaz awarded such lengthy contracts.

“We will act legally,” the president’s tweet concluded.

The concession extension contract posted by López Obrador indicated that the Administración Portuaria Integral de Veracruz, or Veracruz API, is a state-owned company but the president apparently didn’t twig.

Martha Tagle, a federal deputy with the Citizens Movement Party, subsequently said it was regrettable that federal officials hadn’t explained to the president that the Veracruz API is a state-owned firm.

All of Mexico’s ports with the exception of that in Acapulco, Guerrero, are in fact owned and operated by federal, state or municipal governments, she said.

Tagle said that 30 government-owned APIs that operate 60 ports across the country generate “very significant income” for government and attract lucrative investment that creates jobs.

She suggested that López Obrador had been misinformed about the ownership of Mexico’s ports in order “to justify the entry of the navy.”

The president announced last month that the military would assume control of Mexico’s customs offices and ports as part of efforts to eliminate corruption at ports of entry. The move triggered the resignation of Communications and Transportation Minister Javier Jiménez Espriú.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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