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López Obrador, left, offers recognition to Slim at a meeting of engineers. López Obrador, left, offers recognition to Slim at a meeting of engineers.

López Obrador presents plans to engineers; has warm words for Carlos Slim

The two had clashed over airport project. Today, the president-elect asked engineers to review a new report

President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that Mexico’s richest man is an example for the country while speaking at an engineers’ summit in Mexico City today, where he outlined a 25-point strategic development plan.

Despite a clash during the presidential campaign over the construction of the new Mexico City airport, López Obrador took time to recognize Carlos Slim.

“. . . With his effort, imagination and talent, he [Slim] is an example for Mexico and for the world because he is one of the most successful businessmen,” he said.

Slim is a staunch proponent of the airport project, in which his companies have an 8% investment interest, while López Obrador had threatened to scrap it, charging that it is corrupt, too expensive and not needed.

The president-elect has since softened his stance, saying that his administration will review the project while insisting that it will ultimately be up to the public to decide if it goes ahead.

An expert report on the project commissioned by the incoming government will be presented on August 15.

López Obrador today asked Mexico’s engineers to review the report and offer their point of view about the project.

The airport was one of 25 projects that the president-elect said will be prioritized after he is sworn in on December 1.

He said the initiatives are aimed at developing Mexico both socially and economically and that the next government will also finish infrastructure projects that are already under way, specifically citing 56 incomplete hospitals and the Toluca-Mexico City train project.

“We have to finish these projects in the six-year period. It’s not a commitment to finish them next year but we are going to plan to finish them in [my] six-year term,” López Obrador said.

He said they will generate employment thereby reducing migration and counteracting threats from the United States to build a wall between the two countries and militarize the border.

All 25 priority programs for the next Mexican government are listed here.

  1. The Mexico City International Airport.
  2. Development of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region.
  3. Construction of the Cancún to Palenque train.
  4. The pavement of rural roads.
  5. Connecting the whole country to the internet.
  6. Earthquake reconstruction.
  7. Urban development for marginalized neighborhoods.
  8. Increasing pensions for the elderly.
  9. Offering pensions to disabled persons living in conditions of poverty.
  10. Planting one million hectares with timber-yielding and fruit trees.
  11. An apprenticeship scheme for young people. 
  12. Scholarships for all high school students.
  13. Construction of 100 public universities.
  14. Support for the cultivation of crops such as corn, rice and beans to avoid the need to purchase from abroad.
  15. Revitalization of fertilizer companies.
  16. Provision of a canasta básica [a basic selection of foodstuffs] to those living in food poverty.
  17. Credits for ranchers.
  18. Establishment of a duty-free zone in the northern border region.
  19. Development of the mining sector.
  20. Support for small and medium-sized businesses.
  21. Increasing production of petroleum and gas.
  22. Upgrading existing oil refineries.
  23. Construction of a new refinery at Dos Bocas, Tabasco. 
  24. Development of alternative energy sources.
  25. Improving medical services and access to free medication.

Source: El Economista (sp), El Financiero (sp)

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