Judge Orders Could Suspend Infrastructure ProjectsBy Pedro Alcalá | Tue, 04/14/2020 - 14:03
A federal judge from the state of Baja California has issued a temporal ruling which orders President López Obrador’s administration to rearrange its budgetary assignments. According to the ruling, money should be spent on the protection of Mexico’s economy, workforce and employment numbers from the effects of COVID-19 shutdowns. The ruling specifies that this money should come from the budgets currently covering the execution of various projects, including the Mayan Train, the Santa Lucia airport, the Dos Bocas refinery and the Transisthmic corridor; it also mentions recently enacted welfare programs such as Jóvenes Construyendo El Futuro.
According to a report from El Financiero, Second Baja California District Head Judge José Rivas González issued this ruling in response to a request for legal protection submitted by lawyer Adolfo Solís Farias in representation of microbrewery Cervecería Infinito. The request argued that the company had a right to demand protection from the way in which government decisions have affected its business under the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19 shutdowns. The judge based his ruling on WHO recommendations, which demand governments take not only sanitary action but also economic and labor measures against the effects of COVID-19.
According to Solís Farias’ statements to El Financiero, the ruling does not call for the cancellation of these projects but merely for the temporary redistribution of their budgets. He also made it clear that the decision can be appealed by the government through a process that would take approximately two months. However, he says this would make it clear that the government is putting these projects "above its ethical responsibilities". He admits that it is unique and unprecedented for Mexico's judicial power to make a move like this one, but he argues that it is in response to extraordinary circumstances.