MEXICO CITY — The Mexican Olympic Committee said Wednesday it will no longer be able to offer food, lodging and medical services at its main sports training complex, the latest casualty in a round of deep budget cuts by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
has a leftist been so obsessively austerity-minded as Lopez Obrador. In his
first seven months in office, he has cut government posts and salaries, and
drastically reduced spending on perks and benefits.
has cut his own salary and plans to sell off the presidential jet, saying: “We
cannot have a rich government with the people poor.”
Obrador describes his financial plan as “republican austerity.”
cuts have begun to seriously hit everyone from athletes to archaeologists, who
worry they won’t have enough money to carry out essential tasks. Critics say
his government is spending the same amount of money, just reallocating it to
Mexican Olympic Committee said it lacks the $4.7 million needed to run the
Olympic sports center in Mexico City with full services. The complex has track
and pool facilities, as well as a gymnasium and velodrome. This year,
government funding for sports is about 25% below 2018 levels.
this week, researchers and archaeologists at the National Institute of
Anthropology and History said about 200 employees have been laid off since the
start of the year, and more layoffs are feared.
gone from republican austerity to Franciscan poverty,” said Joel Santos, head
of the researchers’ union at the institute. Never well-paid, many experts are
employed on temporary contracts.
the government, Lopez Obrador’s administration has eliminated consultancy and
management positions, and thousands more public servants have resigned.
Valeria Moy says the government has plenty of fat to trim, but notes that this
year’s federal budget of $5.8 trillion pesos ($304 billion) is about the same
size as the 2018 budget. Lopez Obrador took office in December, allowing him to
craft the 2019 budget.
is money,” said Moy, “it’s just being redirected” to the president’s social and
infrastructure projects, some of which appear to be “almost whims” that lack
sound research to determine their viability or potential negative impacts.
and investors are concerned about several of the president’s top infrastructure
projects, such as a train through the Yucatan Peninsula that has commenced
construction without studies to show its impact on local wildlife such as
jaguars. Another pet project, the multibillion-dollar Dos Bocas oil refinery in
Lopez Obrador’s home state of Tabasco, is being undertaken by the heavily
indebted state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos.
what the president decides, what the president wants — and that’s what’s done,”
Minister Carlos Urzua resigned last week citing similar concerns, saying the
administration has taken public policy decisions “without sufficient
from scientists to doctors and police warn that the president is cutting to the
blame the May air pollution emergency in the capital on over-ambitious budget
cuts, because the Environmental Ministry lacked the tools and manpower to
detect and combat brush fires that carpeted much of the country in heavy smog.
country’s Science and Technology Consultative Forum, a sort of umbrella group
of science academies and businesses groups, has warned that the cuts threaten
research into everything from chronic diseases to climate change to
these activities could be seriously compromised if the austerity measures are
applied indiscriminately,” the forum said in a statement earlier this year. “If
that happens, it would be an irredeemable setback in Mexico’s effort to achieve
robust national development, and would make us even more dependent on what
occurs beyond our borders.”