Things That Matter

The President Of Mexico Has Been Trying To Sell His Presidential Jet As Part Of His Austerity Program—But No One Will Buy It

The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has made selling off the luxurious presidential jet a centerpiece of his austerity program, but there’s just one problem: nobody wants to buy a presidential jet —and the luxurious vessel just keeps accruing maintenance costs. 

The jet was on sale in the US for over a year —and it accrued quite the maintenance bill.

López Obrador said on Tuesday the Boeing Dreamliner will be returned to Mexico after a year on sale in the United States, where it piled up about $1.5m in maintenance costs.

Surprisingly, nobody wanted to buy the plane.

Bought by his predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto, the jet was reconfigured to carry only 80 people – albeit with a full presidential suite with a bedroom and private bath. López Obrador said potential buyers had been unable to obtain financing for the purchase.

AMLO wants to sell—or maybe even rent it out—to be able to pay it off.

Among the ideas López Obrador is now entertaining is to sell it to a consortium of companies for executive incentive programs, rent it out or barter it for needed goods, in hopes of paying off the remainder of the purchase price.

The Mexican president hoped to destine the funds from the extravagant plane, toward social programs —but the sale hasn’t been possible.

Gone are the hopes it would raise a lot of money for anti-poverty programs. Mexico is now just hoping to cut its losses on the plane, which is too expensive to reconfigure back into a commercial airliner that normally carries as many as 300 passengers.

AMLO avoids traveling abroad and only takes commercial flights.

Lopez Obrador, who has opted to fly tourist class on regular commercial flights and avoids traveling abroad, has long railed against perks provided for public servants. Whenever possible, he likes to travel by ground in an SUV, and over the weekend posted a photo of himself waiting on the side of a road while a flat tire was repaired.

According to the president, the luxurious plane has no place in a country that is struggling with such high levels of poverty.

“Luxury planes have nothing to do with the reality of poverty that exists in our country,” Lopez Obrador said at his daily news conference. “It’s an expression of two worlds: the world of the people and the world of the rulers.” “The officials felt like kings, they were like a … monarchy with lives full of luxury and privilege,” he added.

The Mexican government did receive offers.

The government said it had received two offers above value for the aircraft, which a promotional brochure dubbed the “pride of a nation” alongside photos of its marble bathroom, king-size bed and plush seats for 80 passengers.

However, Lopez Obrador said the potential buyers were unable to secure financing and the deals fell through.

“We want to resolve this already,” he said. “The longer we have this fleet, the more it costs us.” The plane’s storage and upkeep in California had cost Mexico some 30 million pesos ($1.60 million), the president said. The plane was in California to be exhibited for potential buyers and to undergo maintenance work, he said.

The president has also forbidden his cabinet from taking trips in government-owned executive jets.

And on Tuesday he also announced a series of auctions that will sell off a total of 39 government-owned helicopters and 33 executive jets and small planes. The government is offering 19 planes and nine helicopters for sale in a first round of auctions, which it hopes will raise over $1 billion. Most of the aircraft in the first lot were used by the army, navy and president’s office.

Critics wonder whether there will be enough vehicles to use for key governmental efforts.

Many of the planes to auctioned off in later rounds belonged to the Attorney General’s Office, raising the question of whether the sales could threaten key governmental tasks like law enforcement in drug detection and eradication programs. López Obrador said there would still be enough aircraft to carry out needed tasks in disasters and emergencies.

In the end, the jet might be traded for equipment needed by the government.

According to The New York Times, Lopez Obrador said there had been discussions with the United States about a possible sale via payment in exchange for X-ray machines, ambulances and other medical equipment.

A 25-Year-Old Woman Was Murdered And Skinned, Then Mexican Newspapers Published Photos Of Her Body

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A 25-Year-Old Woman Was Murdered And Skinned, Then Mexican Newspapers Published Photos Of Her Body

SkyNews/ Twitter

In Mexico, the recent brutal mutilation and slaying of a 25-year-old woman are spurning conversations about the country’s efforts to prevent femicide and laws that protect victims from the media.

On Sunday, Mexican authorities revealed that they had discovered the body of Ingrid Escamilla.

According to reports, Escamilla was found lifeless with her body skinned and many of her organs missing. At the scene, a 46-year-old man was also discovered alive. His body was covered in bloodstains and he was arrested.

As of this story wasn’t troubling enough, local tabloids and websites managed to bring more tragedy to the victim and her family by splashing leaked graphic photos and videos of the victim’s body. In a terribly crafted headline, one paper by the name of Pasala printed the photos on its front page with the headline “It was Cupid’s fault.” The headline is a reference to the fact that the man found at the scene was Escamilla’s husband.

According to leaked video footage from the arrest scene, Escamilla’s husband admitted to stabbing his wife after a heated argument in which she threatened to kill him. He then claimed to have skinned her body to eliminate evidence.

Mexic City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, revealed that prosecutors will demand the maximum sentence against the alleged perpetrator.

“Femicide is an absolutely condemnable crime. It is appalling when hatred reaches extremes like in the case of Ingrid Escamilla,” Sheinbaum wrote in a tweet according to CNN. According to reports, Mexico broke records in 2018 when its homicide record reached over 33,000 people that year.

The publication of Escamilla’s mutilated body has sparked discussions regarding the way in which reports about violence against women are handled.

Women’s rights organizations have lambasted the papers that originally published photos of Escamilla’s body and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also expressed criticism of the media’s response to the brutal slaying.

In a press conference on Thursday, President López Obrador expressed his determination to find and punish anyone responsible for the image leaks. “This is a crime, that needs to be punished, whoever it is,” he stated.

Conservationists At Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve Are Being Murdered And Investigators Aren’t Sure Why

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Conservationists At Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve Are Being Murdered And Investigators Aren’t Sure Why

Alan Ortega / Getty

Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve is one of the world’s most famous wildlife hotspots. Hundreds of thousands come each year to view the annual migration of millions of beautiful butterflies that call Mexico’s Michoacan state home during the winter.

However, this iconic and majestic habitat for one of the world’s most endangered animals is now the backdrop for a dramatic murder mystery that is unfolding in international headlines. Two conservationists have been discovered dead just days apart and investigators still aren’t sure why.

A second victim has been pronounced killed by authorities in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly reserve.

Credit: Alan Ortega / Getty

One of the world’s most beautiful wildlife spots is now the backdrop for a dramatic double murder after two nature activists are discovered dead at Mexico’s El Rosario monarch butterfly sanctuary.

The deaths of Homero Gomez Gonzalez, manager of the butterfly reserve, and Raul Hernandez Romero, a tour guide at the sanctuary, have sent shockwaves across the world of wildlife conservation.

Hernandez Romero’s body was discovered on Saturday near the highest point of the mountainous sanctuary, which sits 9,000 feet above sea level in the state of Michoacan, about 130 miles west of Mexico City, according to a statement from the Michoacan state prosecutor’s office. Hernandez Romero’s family reported him missing on Friday, officials said.

The new victim was found just days after the first victim’s body was found after being missing for 16 days.

Credit: Alan Ortega / Getty

Authorities discovered his body about three days after the Hernandez Romero’s body was found in a pond near the Central Mexico town of El Soldado, prosecutors said.

An autopsy performed in the presence of State Human Rights Commission representatives determined Gomez Gonzalez died from “mechanical asphyxiation” after suffering head trauma and being submerged in water.

Gomez Gonzalez, whose family reported him missing two weeks ago, was one of the region’s most prominent conservation activists and a vocal defender of the monarch butterflies. He had launched a campaign against illegal logging that threatens the butterflies nesting grounds.

Although petty crime and theft is common in these parts of Mexico, authorities don’t believe this to be the case in Gonzalez’s death. He was found with about $9,000 pesos (or about $500 USD) on him when his body was discovered.

Mexico’s Monarch butterfly preserve is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Each winter, millions of monarch butterflies make their home at the El Rosario reserve in Mexico — one of the best places in the world to see them. Local guides lead tourists up the mountainside on foot and horseback to where the monarchs cluster in fir and pine trees. Their bright orange wings flit amid the mild weather of Michoacán, and signs ask for silence as visitors enter the nesting areas.

The El Rosario sanctuary is part of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which was enshrined as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, calling the overwintering concentration of butterflies there “a superlative natural phenomenon.” It noted that more than half of overwintering colonies of the monarch butterfly’s eastern population are found in these specific areas of Mexico.

But the same forests that draw butterflies to migrate thousands of miles each winter are under threat from illegal logging and clandestine avocado farms.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Officials in the state of Michoacán said they were unsure if the two deaths were linked – or related to the men’s work in the butterfly reserve. The state has seen a rising tide of violence in recent years, and the region around the monarch butterfly reserve has been rife with illegal logging, despite a ban imposed to protect the monarchs, which winter in the pine- and fir-covered hills.

Some illegal clearcutting is also carried out to allow for the planting of avocado orchards – one of Mexico’s most lucrative crops and an important part of Michoacán’s economy.

The deaths again called attention to the disturbing trend in Mexico of environmental defenders being killed as they come into conflict with developers or local crime groups, who often have political and police protection.