President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is The Great Distractor. He refuses to have a real discussion on femicides to focus on the raffle of the presidential jet.
In 2019, Mexico reached 1,006 femicides, 94 more than in 2018. Spain, with a population of 46.6 million, had 289 murders of men and women in 2018.
The Mexican federal government is ultimately responsible for providing security to citizens. Despite all its power, it is not using it to fight femicides.
AMLO is not only distracting us. He and his government are themselves distracted by irrelevant things like the presidential jet.
In politics the challenge is to avoid the first mistake. After that, you must manage its consequences. It is very popular to say you will not use the presidential jet, but it is a nonsensical decision with multiple ramifications:
The first one is to organize the logistics for a President who loves flying. Second, the risk to the President’s security for using commercial aircraft. Third, AMLO’s decision of not accepting the market price offered for the presidential jet. Fourth, to invent absurd solutions, such as a “raffling off” the plane . Each new presidential whim forces many others in his circle to expend energy and prestige to satisfy his wishes.
If I had bought a raffle ticket and won, what would I got: the jet’s bathroom or an engine? It took weeks for the government to realize about this small detail.
Also, a raffle where you win a prize that is not the plane also has problems. It does not raise enough money to cover all the promises made by AMLO of what to do with it. Another source of funds is needed.
The cherry on top of the cake: With so many raffle tickets for sale (6 million) the raffle itself is not viable. Not selling them all would be an intolerable shame. The solution: to ‘pass the hat’ among Mexico’s tycoons. Can you imagine how a businessman can explain the Board of Directors of a publicly traded company to free up resources (for the equivalent of US 10.8 million) to buy tickets for the President’s raffle?
The businessman who will buy tickets for the raffle of course expects a favor in return. The President feeds this expectation by not revealing the names of those who donated money to buy tickets. On the other hand, investors will be less willing to invest in a country where it is not known what will be the new idea of the Great Sultan in which the president of the United Mexican States is turning into.
* Carlos Elizondo Mayer-Serra is professor at the School of Government and Public Transformation at Tec de Monterrey, in Mexico City. A Spanish version of this Op-Ed appeared first in Reforma’s newspaper print edition. Twitter: @carloselizondom