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News Article

MX$10 Billion Ready for Vaccines / New Airport in Tulum

By Ricardo Guzman | Thu, 10/01/2020 - 11:07

MX$10 billion ready for vaccines. Mexico has MX$10 billion (US$450 million) to pay in advance for COVID-19 vaccines when they become available, President López Obrador said. “We have MX$10 billion available for advanced payments. Today, they are presenting us with the proposal and we have the funds to oversee offerings from several companies,” he said. The president has insisted that his administration will handle the health contingency without increasing public debt. “We are just checking the seriousness of the agreements,” he explained. López Obrador stressed that the payment could be advanced this week because “we don't want to be left out.” On Wednesday, Finance Minister (SCHP) Arturo Herrera announced that payments included in the Covax program will begin this week, so that vaccine distribution can start on Q1 2021. Companies are racing to find a vaccine for COVID-19 with some potential vaccines in various trial phases.

Announces new airport in Tulum. President López Obrador announced the construction of a new airport in Tulum, Quintana Roo. “The project is already moving forward and we will give a comprehensive report on this at the right time,” he said. The president highlighted the relevance of the new airport, which is bonded to the Mayan Train project and the region’s development. After being asked about the train’s Section 5 status, which goes from Cancun to Tulum, the president said further work on roads and tracks are included. “This will help a lot. Also, the train’s section from Tulum to Escarcega will be completed, so that the Mayan Train serves as transportation from Palenque to the Gulf (of Mexico),” he said. Currently, the closest airports to Tulum are in Cancun and Cozumel.

Beneficiaries will still get support. People who received benefits from funds and trusts that will disappear won’t be left behind and will continue receiving benefits, President López Obrador said. “I want to tell all beneficiaries of the funds or trusts that we are asking to terminate that they won’t stop receiving their benefits,” he said regarding the proposal to terminate 109 trusts, which is being discussed in the House of Representatives. The president explained that they are carrying out a comprehensive assessment since it is impossible to know for sure who truly deserves the support and who is fake. López Obrador noted that funds will be funneled directly to beneficiaries to end a corruption network he said operated without control for years.

Dogs work better at ports. President López Obrador said dogs are more efficient than cameras and technology to detect illegal cargo at federal facilities. “(Revenue system head) Raquel Buenrostro and Horacio Duarte, the customs director, told me that they no longer had those rich contracts and that have more dogs working, since they were the best choice to detect drugs and even cash,” he said. The president explained that even the most sophisticated technology cannot be compared to “these faithful and extraordinary puppies” and noted that seizures of illegal substances, smuggled products and money have increased at federal ports, customs and at the Mexico City International Airport.

210,000 jobs recovered in two months. 210,000 jobs were recovered between August and September amid the COVID-19 crisis, President López Obrador said. “In August, we saw 92,000 new jobs and now I believe we are over 118,000 as of Sept. 29. If we continue like this, we will be able to go back to the 20.5 million workers registered with social security that we had before the pandemic,” he said.

Guarantees no repression or massacres. Prior to the 52nd anniversary of the Oct. 2 massacre and its annual demonstration, President López Obrador guaranteed that no repression or massacres will happen again because his administration had already terminated the elite Army force that provided security for presidents. “That was an elite body that had more influence than the Minister of Defense. They felt empowered because they were close to the president and they decided everything,” he said, referring to the infamous Tlatelolco repression allegedly involving the security body known as Estado Mayor Presidencial that lefts scores dead just 10 days before the start of the 1968 Olympiad in Mexico City.

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Click HERE for full transcript in Spanish

Ricardo Guzman Ricardo Guzman Editor