MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador complained on Thursday that the political opposition has been engaging in “legal sabotage” against the new Santa Lucia airport via about 100 judicial measures seeking to block its construction.
“There are cases where there’s a kind of legal sabotage going on, for example in the measures against the Santa Lucia airport,” Lopez Obrador, with the leftist National Regeneration Movement, or Morena, said at his regular morning press conference.
The president complained that a district judge on Wednesday suspended the environmental impact authorization for the international airport, the construction of which may not proceed until a definitive environmental ruling is issued.
Lopez Obrador said that behind all the legal measures against the airport are “all the opposition lawyers, all the lawyers of conservatism.”
“They’re wanting us not to be able to fulfill our commitments, for things to go badly for us and for the airport not to be built,” the president said, criticizing the opposition for blocking the country’s “transformation.”
The president denied that the new airport would negatively affect the environment, since its construction is planned on the site of a military base that has been in operation since 1978.
“It’s a political matter, more than anything, not a legal one. The interest is to stop us and make us look bad,” Lopez Obrador said.
In addition, he complained that opponents of the airport project “are trying to affect the country’s development,” since it is necessary “to resolve the problem of saturation of the current airport” serving Mexico City.
The leftist leader directly pointed to the Mexicans against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI) organization, headed by Claudio X. Gonzalez, saying that the group’s leader “has always had differences” with him.
In remarks to Radio Formula, Gerardo Carrasco, the director of Strategic Litigation for MCCI – who has pushed for a number of legal measures against the Santa Lucia project – said that “it’s seeming to be more and more difficult” for the Lopez Obrador administration to build the new aviation facility.
He emphasized that the environmental authorization has “very significant and serious defects,” adding that “they have not listened well to the demands of society” and denying that he was an attorney for a “conservative ideology.”
To date, 147 protection proceedings have been filed aimed at the cancellation of the new airport project and protecting the separate airport plan launched in Texcoco, a more-than-$13-billion effort pushed by former President Enrique Peña Nieto in Texcoco and the premier project of Lopez Obrador’s predecessor.
After a controversial public consultation process in late October 2018, Lopez Obrador decided to cancel the new International Airport of Mexico in Texcoco – which was already 30 percent completed – and transform the Santa Lucia military base into a new civil airport.