Improvements to roads and street lights, new sports centers, a library and seafront walkway in Bucerías were among the projects announced by President López Obrador during a visit to Nayarit and Jalisco yesterday, where he and the cabinet secretaries who accompanied him also heard some complaints about new welfare programs.
In Bahía de Banderas, Jalisco, young and old citizens complained they registered for programs but had not yet received any support.
In response, López Obrador called for patience, asking that the “elephant” – the apparatus of government he inherited – be given time to learn to walk.
He also blamed the previous government for leaving infrastructure that was not there to help the people. Instead, the president charged, the government “was a facilitator of corruption, at the service of a rapacious minority . . .”
“The transformation [of Mexico] also means that we all have to act responsibly, send the subculture of abuse down the drain. None of this ‘he who doesn’t cheat, doesn’t get ahead.’ That can go to hell,” he said.
The president also took aim at Grupo Carso, a conglomerate owned by Mexico’s Carlos Slim, for failing to complete a decade-old project to build a highway between Jala, Nayarit, and Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.
“A company has had the concession to build the highway here for more than 10 years but there’s no progress. I’m going to talk to them . . . [either] they finish it or the concession is taken away, it’s as simple as that,” López Obrador said.
But Grupo Carso responded to the president’s attack last night, stating that the section of highway with problems is between Compostela, Nayarit, and Jala, and that it only took over responsibility for that stretch six months ago after another company abandoned it. The project is now back on track, Grupo Carso said.
Accompanying the president on his tour of the Pacific coast states were Román Meyer, Secretary of Agrarian Development and Urban Planning, and Welfare Secretary María Luisa Albores.
The latter acknowledged that there have been delays in distributing financial aid, while the government’s delegate in Nayarit, Manuel Peraza, said political actors in the state have deliberately obstructed the census to identify people who qualify for welfare.
Social programs provide ajd to 90,000 senior citizens in Nayarit in the form of pensions. As the government has previously announced, pension amounts are to be doubled. In addition, 6,000 households will receive 1,600 pesos (US $83) every two months to help with childcare expenses.
Urban Planning Secretary Meyer said 530 million pesos (US $27.5 million) will be invested in Bahía de Banderas as part of the government program to improve the lives of residents of the working-class neighborhoods of Mexico’s leading tourist destinations.
He said that staying in an exclusive hotel in Nuevo Vallarta or Punta Mita can cost as much as 200,000 pesos (US $10,400) a night but nearby neighborhoods where hospitality workers live have “great deficiencies.”
The secretary said that 60 million pesos will go to the construction of a sports center and a childhood development center and upgrades to roads and street lighting in San Vicente.
The town of Mezcales will get 30 million pesos to pave roads and improve public lighting, while Bucerías will receive 190 million pesos to build a seafront malecón, or promenade, a library, sports centers, a childhood development center and a park, Meyer said.
Infrastructure projects will also be carried out in underprivileged neighborhoods of the resort city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, where López Obrador and his secretaries concluded their tour.