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Three officials of Mexico's Ministry of Communications stayed at the hotel China World Summit Wing, that costs between US$330 and US$660 per night. (Photo: Taken from the hotel website)

Mexico spends on luxurious trips for officials

29/02/2016
12:57
Lilia Saúl y Daniela Guazo
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Tickets that cost US$13,827, US$4,975 for 4 days of accommodation in Japan and meals of US$1,105 in places like Paris are some examples of the expenses.

After the contract for the High Speed ​​train from Mexico to Querétaro was revoked, Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Minister of Communications and Transport, and two members of his team traveled to China to ease tensions with the company that had won the contract: China Railway Construction Corp. The three officials stayed at the hotel China World Summit Wing, that costs between 6,000 and 12,000 pesos (US$330 and US$660) per night.

They also spent 605,000 pesos (US$33,467) in airplane tickets. In total, the trip cost 667,414 pesos (US$36,920). Two weeks later they returned to China for three days with the same objective. In total these trips, including airfare and lodging, cost more than one million pesos (US$55,315). To this we must add the penalty of 1.19 million pesos (US$65,840) paid by the government for revoking the contract.

Officials spend on five-star hotels, business class airfares, dry cleaning services, dinners or trips that have no justification.

The data unit of EL UNIVERSAL obtained the reports of 237 international trips made by 38 public servants since 2012 until the current administration. 

Airplane tickets that cost more than 250,000 pesos (US$13,827) to get to places like China or the United Arab Emirates, 90,000 pesos (US$4,975) for four days of accommodation in Japan and meals that cost 20,000 pesos (US$1,105) in Paris and London are some examples of the expenses by officials in the last three years .

In total, these 237 trips cost the federal government 14.47 million pesos (US$800,352). 

The ministries of Foreign Affairs, Communications and the national oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) are among the 27 agencies that submitted their information.

Officials also get reimbursed for dry cleaning services, tips and taxis. For example Enrique Martínez y Martínez, former minister of Agriculture, traveled to Madrid in March 2015. In the reimbursement form he included 11,200 pesos (US$619) in dry cleaning services, but he did not submit the invoices.

Francisco Javier Mayorga Castañeda, minister of Agriculture during the administration of former President Felipe Calderon, and Enrique Martínez y Martínez, minister of Agriculture at the beginning of this administration, traveled to places like Switzerland, France, Russia, China, Japan and the United United between 2012 and 2015. The unit responsible for improving productivity of Mexico's agricultural industry spent 924,532 pesos (US$51,065) in nine trips.

Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, Economy minister, traveled from November 6 to 17 2014 to Beijing, China, and Brisbane, Australia. The reason was to participate in the tour made by President Enrique Peña Nieto on occasion of the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in China and the G20 Summit in Australia.

According to data provided by the agency, "14 bilateral agreements for over 7.4 billion dollars were signed during these trips, including one to create a binational investment fund with 2.4 billion dollars for the energy, mining, infrastructure, high-tech manufacturing and tourism industries."

The minister stayed at the same hotel as the officials of the Ministry of Communications: the 5-star China World Summit Wing.

In Brisbane, the official stayed at the Hilton Hotel, and his stay cost 32,000 pesos (US$1,767) for four nights.

Also from March 12 to 15 Lía Limón, Deputy Secretary of Legal Affairs and Human Rights, traveled to Washington to participate in the sessions the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Lía, who is now federal congresswoman of the Green Party (PVEM), spent 19,132 pesos (US$1,056) on her airplane ticket and 21,034 pesos (US$1,161) in three nights of accommodation at the Westin Hotel & Resorts. The tickets were purchased less than five days before her departure.

One of her most expensive trips was to Geneva, Switzerland, in September 2014. This ticket cost 203,544 pesos (US$11,240).

 

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