Chipilín tamales. Photo: Google


On the evening of Wednesday, July 27, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) “hosted” yet another dinner at the National Palace for 50 of the country’s leading business community, and — true to AMLO form — the meal ended up being extremely costly … for the guests.

The dinner, which was attended by members of Mexico’s Business Coordinating Council (CCE) and the Mexican Employers Confederation (Coparmex), as well as several other business leaders, consisted of chipilín tamales, a leafy green vegetable found in southern Mexico, wrapped in corn flour and corn husks, an inexpensive dish that is among ALMO’s favorite dietary treats.

But for the guests, the bill was hefty, since each attendee was then “invited” by the president to “participate in the draw of the Sept. 15 National Lottery” by purchasing tickets for the drawing at 500 pesos a pop.

AMLO said that the money from the lottery (another of López Obrador’s dubious money-scamming schemes) will be allocated for the completion of the Santa Maria Dam in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa.

On Thursday, July 28, AMLO, during his daily presser, denied that he “obliged” the businessmen to buy the tickets, but when the te4sty president of Mexico — who loves calling private sector corporations corrupt for daring to make any profit from their business operations — “invites” you to purchase a lottery ticket, you really don’t have much choice in the matter.

Just how many tickets each businessperson was “invite” to buy remains undisclosed, but you can bet it was more than one each.

“Everyone bought the tickets on their own volition,” AMLO said Thursday. “Everyone was willing to help out.”

In this case, the term “willing” is subject to interpretation.

This is not the first time that AMLO has “invited” businessmen to dinner only to pass the hat around to make them pay for his favorite folly of the moment.

In 2020, he pulled the same trick by forcing them to buy tickets for the lottery drawing of his presidential plane (which, by the way, he ended up not giving away and which is still sitting decomposing with no buyers in sight since it has deteriorated due to lack of maintenance, but, hey, that’s another column all together).

The lesson of the story: If you are a business owner in Mexico, don’t accept a dinner invite from the president unless you are willing to fork up big bucks for a miniscule meal of street food.

As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch, or in this case, a free dinner at AMLO’s National Palace.



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