Hundreds of vehicles auctioned in Mexico government austerity drive

Black SUVs, escort motorcycles and an armoured car used by Mexico’s previous president – all have been up for sale at a public auction.

The country’s new leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, says neither he nor his administration needs them.

He hopes to raise more than five million dollars from selling the road-going vehicles and a series of helicopters and airplanes – money which will go towards funding a National Guard, AMLO’s flagship idea to improve Mexico’s dire security situation.

On Saturday and Sunday (February 23 and 24), hundreds of people gathered to bid on the fleet at the Santa Lucía Air Force Base north of Mexico City.

“We are going to save money through tackling corruption and save money through putting an end to the luxuries and over-spending of the government,” the president has said.

He continues to fly on commercial airlines, has turned the presidential residence into a museum and accepts only 40 per cent of the salary of his predecessor.

These measures are popular but Esteban Illades, who edits the Nexos political magazine, is waiting to see concrete results.

“Mexicans are very happy with the actions he’s undertaking there, and by doing that and by changing that, he’s saying things are changing,” he explained.

“He hasn’t yet completed 100 days in office, but we’ve yet to see something that’s remarkably different in terms of public policy, that is in terms of actual actions that he’s undertaking as a president, instead of just symbols that he’s performing.”

A second auction of the helicopters and airplanes is planned for April, which will include the presidential jet.

I produced and helped film this news package for CGTN America correspondent Alasdair Baverstock, which you can see on the CGTN website here.