It is probably the first time since President López Obrador took office in December that luxury vehicles have been seen in the parking area in front of Los Pinos, the former presidential residence. But they won’t be there long.
The parking lot contains 68 luxury vehicles of all kinds, including Porsches, Corvettes, a Shelby Mustang and a silver Lamborghini Murciélago with scissor doors, all of which will be the first items to be auctioned by the new Institute to Return Stolen Goods to the People.
In his morning press conference today, President López Obrador announced that the cars will be auctioned this Sunday, May 26, and that the money raised will be used to support the two poorest municipalities in Mexico, both of which are in the state of Oaxaca.
Ricardo Rodríguez Vargas, director of the new institute, said that of the 68 vehicles, 26 had belonged to the president’s office while the other 42 were seized from criminal gangs. The total of starting prices is 28 million pesos (US $1.4 million), but Rodríguez estimates that the cars will sell at 50% more than that.
“We want this to turn into public works, hospitals, things that benefit marginalized areas of the country,” he said.
The in-person auction will be open to anyone who wishes to participate.
Rodríguez said next month the government will auction houses and apartments that have been confiscated, including an apartment seized from anti-human trafficking activist Rosi Orozco in the ritzy Mexico City neighborhood of Bosques de las Lomas, and valued at 22 million pesos.
Another, more valuable apartment that had been given to Orozco’s husband will also be included in the auction, although Rodríguez did not say how much it is worth.
The Orozco couple is under investigation for misuse of government funds.
The auction will also include two houses in the Jardines del Pedregal neighborhood, valued at 34 million and 78 million pesos.
The proceeds from the real estate auction will be used to fund addiction recovery programs.
Rodríguez added that in a third auction, the institute will sell off jewelry that has been confiscated from organized crime. The proceeds from that auction will be used to support poor communities in the Montaña region of Guerrero.
“The government used to be like a reverse Robin Hood, they stole from the people and gave to the rich,” said Rodríguez. “But not anymore: now we’re going to give back to the people, transparently. It’s an honor to be able to participate.”