By KELIN DILLON
More than a dozen members of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) team of assistants have quickly transcended their roles at his side into high-level government positions, a new report from El Universal has shown.
The former assistants have been handed jobs in places ranging from the country’s Tax Administrative Service (SAT) to the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (Conapesca), with their close ties to AMLO earning them more than 107,000 pesos in monthly salary and providing a huge jumping off point to launch a run for elected office. In contrast, the average salary for a Mexican worker is reportedly around 33,000 pesos a month.
One-time assistant of López Obrador, Arlette Silva, managed to ascend to the manager of Contracts and Projects at the state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), handling more than 550 million pesos worth of contracts for Pemex after less than four months in the company’s ranks.
Benefitting from the same nepotism, former campaign helpers Carlos Sánchez and Alejandro Antonio Calderón were promoted from assistants to coordinating the country’s hospital infrastructure and medical distribution, immediately tripling their salaries.
Octavio Almada Palafox, yet another product of AMLO’s assistant team, was appointed by the president himself as the new head of Conapesca, now only underearning López Obrador by a mere 4,000 pesos a month.
Likewise, Paloma Rachel Aguilar Correa and Javier Portugal received high up roles in the SAT from López Obrador, with him ironically justifying the appointments by saying “what SAT needs are servers that are not sell-outs.”
Ángel Carrizales López, despite being rejected five times by the Senate for a position on the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE), self-professedly admitting that “I do not consider myself as an expert on the subject, I do not know what Cenace (National Center for Energy Control) is,” was bumped up to executive director of the Security, Energy and Environment Agency (ASEA), with no prior experience.
Now, this past weekend, it was announced that former assistant to the president Estefany Correa would be appointed to a high rank in overseeing the country’s welfare program, Bienestar. Less than a week before the promotion, Correa was helping clear the way to let AMLO’s car pass through crowds in Veracruz.
If these appointments show anything, it’s that working rank and file close to López Obrador means a quick promotion to a high-level job will be handed to you in no time.