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News Article

Plane Raffle Final Report / Trump Threat Downplayed

By Ricardo Guzman | Thu, 09/17/2020 - 11:03

Presidential plane raffle final report. After a massive sales push by public offices and officials in the last days ahead of the so-called presidential plane raffle, 78.09 percent of tickets were sold, National Lottery (Lotenal) head Ernesto Prieto said. Over 4.68 million sold tickets collected MX$2.34 billion (US$110 million). Prieto noted that among the winners were 13 hospitals and eight schools, each with MX$20 million (US$950,000) after tickets were donated by businesspeople. President López Obrador announced that the Health and Wellbeing Institute (Insabi) will receive the 37 unsold winning tickets to purchase medical equipment. Regarding the sale of the luxury plane, López Obrador said that there is a committed buyer but gave no details. “I can say that there is a commitment to purchase the plane. I didn't say it before because it would have created a lot of confusion,” he said.

Large raffle likely next year. President López Obrador insisted the presidential plane raffle was a success and noted that his administration is already analyzing another “large raffle” involving several assets seized by the Institute to Return the Stolen to the People (Indep). “For next year, we are going to conduct one very large (raffle) for the purposes for which the National Lottery (Lotenal) was created, to benefit the people,” he said, explaining that it could include ranches, planes and even yachts seized from both convicted and alleged criminals. The president highlighted that past administrations tainted the real purpose of Lotenal. “That institution was used for other purposes and was managed only by politicians. It lost any credibility since politicians were the ones winning raffles and lotteries. They were very lucky,” he said.

Downplays Trump threat. President López Obrador denied there was any risk from US President Donald Trump’s threat to penalize Mexico for poor results in the fight against drug trafficking. “We are not going to fall into any political confrontation. There is no problem, there is nothing to fear,” López Obrador said, adding that an annual report on Mexico’s fight against drugs is a regular procedure that does not demand a direct response. “It is a report that is presented every year by the United States government, and has good things and others things that we do not accept,” he said and noted that a careful approach is needed ahead of the November US presidential elections.

Texas complains about water agreement. President López Obrador said the governor of Texas had sent a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming that Mexico is not complying with the water agreement between the two countries, a case that is related to the ongoing dispute at Chihuahua’s La Boquilla dam. “We are going to comply (with the agreement). The deadline is the end of October and we have already delivered about 80.85 percent of the (agreed amount of) water,” he said.

Prosecution request a test. President López Obrador said that the request to allow the prosecution of former presidents is a test for all Mexican institutions. “This is a democracy and hopefully, ministers will decide with absolute freedom. It will test all institutions, including the executive,” he noted. After sending on Tuesday a formal request to the Senate to authorize a referendum on prosecuting former presidents, the president pointed out that the goal is not to put his predecessors on “summary trials.” He said it would be up to the Attorney General (FGR) or the judiciary to decide if they are guilty of any crime.

AMLO warns on fuel theft. President López Obrador asked the Hidalgo people not to fall into the trap of steeling fuel, known as huachicoleo. The state has the largest number of such thefts. “There is still more fuel theft, more huachicol. I call on the people of the communities not to fall into that trap. The same goes for gas. We are reinforcing the pipeline security plan and will continue fighting fuel theft,” he said. At the start of his administration a massive fuel robbery in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo, created an explosion that left 137 local people dead and scores injured.

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Click HERE for full transcript in Spanish

Ricardo Guzman Ricardo Guzman Editor