Mexico is a “public works cemetery,” according to President López Obrador, replete with incomplete highways, bridges, schools and prisons, among other abandoned infrastructure projects.
But there is no sector with more unfinished projects than health: there are 250 abandoned medical projects in Mexico, including 57 hospitals.
Corruption, budget shortfalls, a lack of interest from governments and community opposition have all contributed to the high number of white elephants in the country, the newspaper Milenio said in a report.
One such project is a cancer hospital in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, whose construction began in 2014 during the administration of former governor César Duarte, who fled Mexico in early 2017 to avoid corruption charges.
The project had an initial budget of 235 million pesos (US $12.2 million) but current Governor Javier Corral says that 624 million pesos (US $32.5 million) is needed to finish it and purchase the equipment required for it to operate.
During a visit to the hospital in August last year, then president-elect López Obrador said that the former Chihuahua government had tried to give the impression that the project was finished.
“It has a façade [but] it’s set design, it’s as if it were finished but inside it’s a dead project,” he said.
“All over the country, there is a public works cemetery, that’s the bitter reality,” López Obrador added.
Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer recently described Mexico’s incomplete hospitals and medical clinics as “scandalous monuments of incompetence, corruption and influence peddling.”
Among the other unfinished and abandoned projects are:
• A federal high-security prison in Tamaulipas that was to cost 640 million pesos and house 1,640 inmates was halted a year after construction began due to structural flaws. It was 30% complete at that point and had cost 250 million pesos.
• The Zapotillo dam in Jalisco was considered a priority project by the National Water Commission 14 years ago. It has cost over 20 billion pesos and is 85% complete but has been halted by injunctions obtained by opponents of the project.
Among them are residents of three communities that would be submerged upon completion of the dam.
• The Palace of the Mayan Civilization in Yaxcabá, Yucatán, was to have been a signature project for Ivonne Ortega, governor from 2007 until 2012, and was announced as the most important cultural center in the southeast of Mexico.
But today the half-finished project — perhaps doomed to become an archaeological site itself — lies abandoned after costing the treasury more than 300 million pesos.
• The second stage of the Chicoasén hydroelectric project in Chiapas, considered a strategic project by the Federal Electricity Commission when it began in early 2015, was halted after violent protests over the removal and trucking of materials and opposition from communal landowners who claim they are still waiting for compensation for the first stage of the project, built in the 1980s.
It was projected to cost US $400 million but costs have risen by another $200 million, putting its viability in doubt.
• Another “signature project” was the Canal Centenario in Nayarit, announced by then-president Enrique Peña Nieto and then-governor Roberto Sandoval in 2013. The network of irrigation canals in the north of the state was to deliver water to 43,000 hectares of agricultural land and cost 7 billion pesos.
The project is now just 15% complete and there don’t appear to be funds available for its completion. Both Peña Nieto and Sandoval are now out of the picture.
Source: Milenio (sp)