Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has brought sweeping changes to the country since he took office last year. Whether it’s crime reform, government overhaul or even cutting his own salary. But according to the Washington Post, Lopez Obrador has also slashed the budget of the Mexican Olympic Committee. The cuts are a huge blow to the day-to-day operations of the sports organization which will now no longer be able to offer food, lodging, and medical services at its central sports training complex.
The budget cut is just the latest to come from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador administration which has already cut back on other services such as government jobs, researchers and archaeologists.
The call for more budget cuts comes as a surprise to some as Lopez-Obrador, a self-described leftist, has consciously spent less on government-funded efforts. In just the first seven months on the job, the administration has pushed efforts to reduce spending, which even includes Lopez-Obrador’s own salary and plans to sell off the presidential plane.
The Mexican Olympic Committee says it doesn’t have the $4.7 million needed to operate the Olympic sports center in Mexico City with full resources due to these cuts. The sports complex has various track and pool facilities that include a gymnasium and velodrome. Just this year alone, government funding for sports is about 25 percent below last year’s spending.
Critics of these budget cuts say the government is spending the same amount of money but instead reallocating it to different areas and needs. This has resulted in fears that the cuts will result in not having enough money to perform and essential tasks and duties.
President Lopez Obrador has described his new financial plan as “republican austerity.” This is causing some concerns in Mexico.
Besides just athletics, there is increasing stress for other civic services. Researchers and archaeologists at the National Institute of Anthropology and History told the Washington Post that almost 200 employees have been cut since the year began. These latest announced cuts have renewed fears of more layoffs coming in the near future.
“We have gone from republican austerity to Franciscan poverty,” Joel Santos, head of the researchers’ union at the institute told the Washington Post. Many of these employees are scarcely paid and are on temporary contracts, which already places a big burden on their pay and livelihood.
Throughout the government spectrum, there has been visible cuts and elimination of positions like consultancy and management positions. All while thousands of more public servants have resigned or quit altogether.
Some of these funds being cut are essential to certain projects being worked on throughout Mexico.
While Mexico’s budget, $5.8 trillion pesos ($304 billion), may look similar to last year, it just means that Lopez Obrador is putting it to use in different areas. These decisions are well in his power and are following his budget plan that he crafted back in December.
“There is money,” Valerie Moy, an economist told the Washington Post. “It’s just being redirected to the president’s social and infrastructure projects, some of which appear to be almost whims that lack sound research to determine their viability or potential negative impacts.”
There are some concerns that these cuts are being made without proper consideration. Finance Minister Carlos Urzua left his position just last week due to what he says is the public policy decisions the administration is doing “without sufficient sustenance.”
“It’s what the president decides, what the president wants — and that’s what’s done,” Moy said.
There is no say when or what will be cut next but it may have a huge effect on things bigger than sports.
Back in May, Mexico City was hit with severe smog that was caused by nearby wildfires. Experts say that the looming air pollution could have been prevented if it wasn’t for the budget cuts to environmental services that deal with this type of detection.
“All of these activities could be seriously compromised if the austerity measures are applied indiscriminately,” Mexico’s Science and Technology Consultative Forum said in a statement this year. “If that happens, it would be an irredeemable setback in Mexico’s effort to achieve robust national development, and would make us even more dependent on what occurs beyond our borders.”
There is terrible news coming out of Mexico this week as media reports say Jose Arredondo, a U.S. citizen and father of K-Pop star Samuel, was reportedly beaten to death in Cabo San Lucas. The 58-year-old, who is the well-known owner of a car dealership in Bakersfield, California, was found dead on Tuesday morning in a condominium with “signs of blunt force trauma,” police said. According to a local media outlet, Tribunal de Los Cabos, Arredondo was discovered “laying on the floor with several wounds caused by a knife in the back.”
This story is shocking on many fronts as authorities try to uncover more details on how this all could have happened.
Arredondo was a revered family and community member in the Bakersfield area who came to the United States at the age of 11 from the Mexican state of Michoacan. He would work his way up to own several local dealerships after starting off washing cars in Los Angeles. Arredondo would be promoted to become a salesman that would be the start of a career auto retail industry.
One of Arredondo’s closest friends was Rev. James Ranger, the lead pastor at New Life Church, where he attended for 20 years. Ranger told Bakersfield.com that Arredondo was “the real deal” and an individual would constantly give back to the church, this included donating brand-new cars to the church for fundraising.
“He was tough as nails but he had a beautiful heart,” Ranger said about his good friend.
While Samuel’s father came from Mexico and his mother from Korea, he was born in the U.S. Samuel, whose full name is Samuel Kim Arredondo, rose to stardom at a young age. He would appear in many of his father’s car dealership commercials and sing. He would also appear on the online show Seventeen TV before making it big on the K-pop scene.
There has been much support and condolences that have been pouring in since the news broke.
Many of Samuel’s fans have taken to social media to share their thought and deep condolences for the tragic news of his father’s passing. “My condolence. I hope that you are surrounded by your loved ones and I know it’s hard but please stay strong, you’re not alone Samuel #StayStrongSamuel,” one user wrote on Twitter.
Another fan took the time to write out a short personal message for Samuel. She said that many of his fans are standing right there with him during this difficult time.
“Dear Samuel, I know you’re not fine right now… What you’re facing is so hard and depressing but always remember… We-your fans- will always be here with you. We had your back. Always. Sending all the love I can give. Louise Lazaro. Your fan.”
This untimely death has struck the Bakersfield community as much as it has many of Samuel’s fans.
Arredondo played a huge role in his community and many have shown their support and how he affected their lives personally. Besides being a car dealership owner, Arredondo played a pivotal role in encouraging children to stay in school and pursue higher education. He also was a big supporter in feeding farm labor workers in the nearby Central Valley.
Francisco Duran, who was a fan of Arredondo growing up, wrote on Facebook that the news hit him hard. He was one of those that was personally touched many of his positive car commercials.
“Sad news. I was thinking about quitting Bakersfield College back in 1995 when I saw him on TV. He was encouraging kids to stay in school. He changed my mind about quitting.”
John Pitre, the chief operations officer at Motor City Buick GMC and Motor City Lexus of Bakersfield, told the Bakersfield.com that the untimely death was a “tragic event.” Pitre noted that Arredondo played a big role in the car dealers business.
“He was a valuable member of our community and we’re certainly going to miss him,” Pitre said. “We’re certainly in mourning and we’ll say a prayer for him.”
While there are still many questions about the case there are still no suspects that have been identified at this time, investigators said.