President López Obrador said he has no interest in money and admitted that he is ignorant on matters of basic personal finance in his morning news conference on Tuesday.
“I don’t care about money, I’ve never cared about money. I don’t use a wallet. My wife is the one that manages my income …I’m not interested in the material, it doesn’t interest me. I’ve never had a checking account, I don’t know how to make out a check. I don’t know how to use a credit card, none of that,” he said.
López Obrador added that any happiness that comes from money is short lived. “Sometimes [money] produces an ephemeral, transient happiness and then you fall into situations of unhappiness. I always say that only by being good can we be happy and happiness is not in material goods … money … produces greed, it dehumanizes,” he said.
However, despite his disinterest in money, the president accepted that it can still be earned legitimately. “I’ve always maintained that not everything that people have is nefarious. There are people who through effort and work, in accordance with the law, earn wealth and deserve respect, but part of my education is not to get attached to money and the material.”
López Obrador added that he advises loved ones and friends not to fall into the temptation of thinking that money can make them happy.
Based on recent history, his advice could be falling on deaf ears: an investigation in November into his sons’ cacao plantation in Tabasco raised questions about financial links to Sembrando Vida (Sowing Life), the federal government’s tree-planting employment program.
A separate investigation in January revealed that another of his sons, José Ramón López Beltrán, and his wife Carolyn Adams had rented a million-dollar home in Houston owned by Keith L. Schilling, a high-ranking executive with Baker Hughes, an oil sector company that has contracts with state oil company Pemex worth over US $150 million.
In August 2020, two videos surfaced of the president’s brother, Pío López Obrador, receiving large amounts of cash from David León, a former Civil Protection chief who had recently been named to run a state company that distributes medical supplies. A year later, another video appeared, showing another brother receiving cash from León.
Without mentioning any of the scandals, the president underlined in the conference that he wasn’t responsible for the actions of his relatives and was concentrated on battling corruption. “Those who are of legal age, my children and relatives, have to behave well and assume their responsibilities because I am here to fulfill a mission, so as not to fail the people, to put an end to corruption, influence, nepotism. All those scourges of politics,” he said.
With reports from Proceso