Supporting baseball – President López Obrador’s favorite sport – is more than twice as important as supporting women’s rights, federal government spending plans suggest.
The government has allocated more than 1.7 billion pesos (US $85.6 million) to the upgrade of ballparks in Cancún, Campeche and Villahermosa, the purchase of two baseball stadiums in Sonora and the establishment of seven baseball, boxing and athletics schools in different locations around the country.
In contrast, the annual budget of the National Women’s Institute – which manages a range of programs for women in addition to overseeing the implementation of federal policies aimed at achieving gender equality and eliminating discrimination against women – is just 830 million pesos (US $41.8 million).
The “baseball budget” is also much higher than the annual funding of many other government departments, including the federal government’s Executive Commission for Attention to Victims and the National Commission for the Continued Betterment of Education, which receive 843 million pesos and 577 million pesos, respectively.
It amounts to almost two-thirds of the 2021 budget of the National Sports Commission, whose resources are under intense pressure this year due to Mexican athletes’ upcoming participation in the Tokyo Olympics.
López Obrador, who occasionally seeks to relieve the pressure of managing the nation’s affairs by retreating to a ballpark for some batting practice, has previously defended the government’s spending on his favorite pastime.
Nobody doubts the president’s passion for baseball but his interest in improving the lives of women in Mexico – where approximately 10 women are murdered every day – has been extensively questioned.
A statement published late last year that was endorsed by more than 650 academics, journalists, poets, scientists, artists, writers, filmmakers and other intellectuals even charged that López Obrador has shown contempt for women’s protests and the pain that victims of gender-based violence endure.
With reports from Reforma