Association of Engineers and Architects of Mexico President Ricardo Rodríguez Romero on Thursday, Dec. 9. Photo: Google

By KELIN DILLON

Just weeks after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) declared all of Mexico’s mega infrastructure projects, such as the Tren Maya tourist train and the Dos Bocas oil refinery, to be interests of national security, the country’s Association of Engineers and Architects of Mexico (AIAM) asked the executive to reconsider the decree and its potential ramifications, joining other vocal critics against the initiative such as the Wall Street Journal.

“We strive for transparency and we invite you to reflect on the recently published decree that declares various public works as national security,” said AIAM President Ricardo Rodríguez during a speech at the 2020 National Engineering and Architecture Awards, which took place during López Obrador’s daily morning press conference on Thursday, Dec. 9.

“The matter is very simple: The more transparency there is, the less possibility of corruption,” said another of the event’s attendees.

Though AMLO departed quickly without answering any questions, Rodríguez continued to speak his mind on the subject, highlighting how the decree makes all of the inner workings of Mexico’s public project secret and only gives up to five days for agency authorization, noting that this could contribute to further corruption throughout the country.

“What we think is that the clearer the procedures and the execution of the contracts are, the greater the possibility is of actually fighting corruption,” said Rodríguez. “I think that the decree should be reviewed. Surely there will be issues that should be national security, and, of courses in those cases, the law should be respected as established.”

Javier Jiménez Espriú, the former Secretary of Communications and Transportation who resigned in 2020 out of protest of López Obrador’s handing over control of customs to the Mexican Army and Navy, was likewise in attendance and commented on the subject at hand.

“It is a controversial decree. It will be discussed in the Supreme Court of Justice because there will be constitutional controversies, and we will see how it is adapted so that everything is operated in order, within the law, within the rules of the game, but allowing the continuity of the works,” said Jiménez Espriú. 

“The intention of the president, as far as I understand, is to give agility to public works. The decree is not about hiding things, as that would be to open the door to corruption.”

 

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