Image credits: Cuartoscuro, Animal Político
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News Article

Mayan Train Bidders’ Ties to AMLO Raise Eyebrows

By Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 04/17/2020 - 17:32

Animal Político reported the connections between President López Obrador and some of the companies currently bidding to be the contractors to build the first and second segments of the Mayan Train. These affiliations are based on a government organization called the Business Advisory Council. This organization is part of the presidency’s internal structure; it reports directly to its coordinator, the president’s chief of staff Alfonso Romo. Its purpose is to provide the president with a private sector perspective and expert advice on policy decisions and investment opportunities. 

This Business Advisory Council is composed of eight prominent leaders in Mexico’s corporate world: DeAcero Co-president Sergio Gutiérrez, Interjet Owner Miguel Alemán Magnani, Televisa Executive Vice President Bernardo Gómez, Grupo Vidanta President Daniel Chávez, Grupo Salinas Owner Ricardo Salinas Pliego, BioPappel Owner (and, according to the article, close friend of the president) Miguel Rincón, Grupo Ángeles President Olegario Vázquez Aldir and Grupo Hermes Director General Carlos Hank González (son of Grupo Hermes President Carlos Hank Rhon). Of these individuals, the last two are directly involved in companies competing for Mayan Train contracts. Vázquez Aldir’s Grupo Ángeles owns PRODEMEX, which bid for work on the Mayan train’s second segment in a consortium with Spanish company COPASA, Caltia and Regiomontana de Construcción y Servicios (the latter two of which also bid in a separate consortium with Pinfra for work in the train’s first segment). Meanwhile, Hank González’s Grupo Hermes owns La Peninsular, who bid for work on both the first and the second segment. Furthermore, as reported previously, La Peninsular has already been awarded a contract worth US$43 million to rehabilitate 49km of railroad as part of the Transisthmic Corridor project. 

The article also reports that both of these companies were also participating in the construction of NAIM before it was cancelled. It also notes that one of the Chinese rail companies bidding for work in these same projects, China Railway Construction Corporation Limited, announced in 2015 that it was considering beginning an arbitration process to claim for the money owed to them from the Mexican government after the Mexico City-Queretaro railway that they had won a contract to build was cancelled. 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Animal Político, MBN, FONATUR
Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Senior Journalist & Industry Analyst