Can and should AMLO rectify new airport cancellation


The anomaly that the economists saw dissolved. They wondered, how is it possible that consumption falls in all areas, there is inflation and rising unemployment and consumer confidence is positive? The Inegi responded by announcing the February Consumer Confidence Index, where the levels are the lowest of the new government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the worst since January 2017. There is uncertainty about the insecurity, and distrust in the economic policy. Citizens’ perception is aligning with that of investors, analysts, national and foreign private banks, multilateral institutions and international organizations, which add to these factors doubts due to the contradictory signals of López Obrador. The largest, the cancellation of the new international airport in Texcoco.

Canceling the project as a result of a concentrated consultation in poor municipalities in the south of the country, had immediate economic consequences, but above all, it sent a warning signal to the world. The government of López Obrador began to see it carefully. Investments stopped and the economy contracted. The Ministry of Finance reduced its growth expectations for 2019 and 2020, but the president insisted that it would grow by two percent and that by the end of the sexennium growth would be four percent. The International Monetary Fund denied it yesterday by announcing its growth expectations in the world. The signals issued by the new government, full of political uncertainty, produced a new downward adjustment for these two years.

Faced with the negative news, López Obrador always accelerates the pace. He still does not react on the new bucket of cold water that the IMF threw at him, but in similar situations in the past, he disguises the bad numbers with accusations against politicians, businessmen, autonomous bodies and the press.

López Obrador does not understand economics, and his collaborators have a hard time explaining things because he does not reason. It subordinates it to its political objectives, forgetting that similar actions led to the ruin of the country. He himself fights against his beliefs and gets into contradictions. The evidence that the economy of the country was much more serious than he imagined, has made him angry sometimes and bother with their own and strangers.

He had to accept the budget cut proposed by the Secretary of the Treasury, Carlos Urzúa, whose neoliberal stench is superior to those of the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto, with which he compares so much, by showing him that the money in the treasury of Treasury simply would not reach, with all the indicators against, plus the fall in revenue and employment. Undersecretary Arturo Herrera said that in order to increase the collection they contemplated restoring the possession of automobiles in the country, and hours later the president denied it completely. This clash with reality evokes a Tabasco saying: best of all, it is the worst thing that is going to be put.

But for López Obrador, this may mean the anticipated end of his transformative dream. What can you do without committing financial suicide? Send a signal to the investors that they understood that what they wanted to do, how they wanted to do it, did not work, and is capable of rectifying. On what scale would that rectification have to be? The answer would be to pull the construction of a new airport in Santa Lucia and resume construction in Texcoco. The mere approach, given the president’s foolishness, seems preposterous. However, a consideration that could be made is that the dilemma is between reestablishing a project and finding the way to have the lowest possible political cost, or paying larger economic, political and social costs in the long term.

Santa Lucía is an airport that can be built, but according to the airworthiness studies, it can not operate simultaneously with the Benito Juárez International Airport. Building it would be like adding one more track in Mexico City without expanding air traffic. Not only international organizations have concluded it, but a study by the Mexican Air Force says the same thing. Engaging in Santa Lucia, seen logistically, will cause disruption in airline operations. And in terms of security, there is certainty of cancellation of international flights.

The president does not know about these issues and those responsible for him, either. But within the government there are people with technical and financial knowledge of what it means to enter Santa Lucia. López Obrador has an opportunity, although at first it seems like a political madness. One more clue in Santa Lucia, disguised as a new airport, will not cause the growth of Texcoco, even if the government says otherwise. Texcoco was not the best option; It was the only possible one. One of the companies that was called upon for their opinion, which determined it, is Airports of Paris, to which they commissioned the Santa Lucia Master Plan. As it goes, it would not even be ready its first phase before ending the government. The new airport in Istanbul, as a mirror, this weekend began its first operational phase, after almost five years of construction without problems.

López Obrador can try to rescue the confidence of investors, and take away the idea that he is an adventurer as head of state and that he is capable of correcting a wrong decision. For this, however, it is required that at least create the numbers presented by non-radicals, and away from those who drench everything in demagoguery, rhetoric and, above all, lies.

Raymundo Riva Palacio

Source: El Financiero

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