López Obrador, left, and Castañon in Mexico City this morning. López Obrador, left, and Castañon in Mexico City this morning.

AMLO won’t be part of airport ‘corruption’

Presidential candidate said legal action being taken to stop awarding more contracts

Leading presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador said yesterday he would take legal action to stop the government from awarding more contracts for Mexico City’s new US $13-billion airport.

And today he reached out to business leaders by proposing a special committee be struck to do an analysis of the project.

The leftist veteran of Mexican politics told reporters the project was “corrupt” and declared he would not be part of it. “. . . we will file an injunction so that they stop handing out contracts because they are awarding them to commit the next government [to the project] and tie our hands.”

He also said he would not waver in the face of pressure from the business community, which has urged the candidate to respect airport contracts should he be elected in order to guarantee investment and prevent economic uncertainty.

“Uncertainty, yes, that’s what they say. But then what? So that there is no uncertainty am I going to become an accomplice to corruption? No, I prefer that there is uncertainty . . .” he said.

López Obrador has previously said he will scrap the project altogether if elected, charging that it is too expensive and not needed.

Instead he favors keeping the current airport and expanding the Santa Lucía Air Force base in México state so that it can be used for commercial flights.

The leader of the “Together We Will Make History” coalition, who had an 18-point lead over his nearest rival in a poll published yesterday, also said that committing his administration — if he wins office — to the project would drain it of resources because it would be forced to pay for the “dirty tricks that they are currently contracting.”

“How is it that three months out from an election they’re awarding billion-peso contracts for works in the future? . . . They’re giving out contracts to commit federal participation in 20 years . . . it’s all very shady, very dirty . . .” he said.

In addition, López Obrador labeled both the project and those who support its construction as corrupt.

“I can’t be tolerant with corruption and I consider that the construction of the new airport is corruption and those who defend it being built on Lake Texcoco are involved in the business of corruption . . . that’s why they say that they want me to accept unfair contracts that are stained by corruption,” the candidate said.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera and the powerful Business Coordinating Council (CCE) have all said that the new airport project is indispensable for both the capital and the country and that halting it would have devastating consequences.

It was the head of the latter organization who today accepted an invitation from López Obrador to participate in an in-depth and clear analysis of the project. The 15-member committee will consist of five business representatives, five from López Obrador’s Morena party and five from the federal government.

CCE president Juan Pablo Castañón said the review will determine if there is any technical doubt about the airport and if not, the agreement is that López Obrador will support it.

“We too are against corruption,” he said, but warned there needed to be certainty over the project before the next president takes office on December 1. There must be confidence instead, he said.

The agreement took place during the annual congress of the Mexican construction industry, where López Obrador was a guest speaker.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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