Mexico’s Presidential House opened to public as AMLO sworn in

MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador fulfilled a campaign promise on his inauguration day by opening most of the vast and secretive presidential complex of Los Pinos to the public as a sign of the new government’s austerity.

“I won’t live in Los Pinos,’ said Obrador, known as AMLO, during his swearing-in ceremony at the Congress on Saturday. “That residency was opened to the public today and it will be part of the Chapultepec Forest. It will turn into one of the biggest spaces in the world for art and culture.”

Hundreds of Mexicans have visited the house since then, taking pictures and selfies in the palatial house, home to the previous 14 presidents.

Closed to the public since the first parts were built in the 1930s, the compound will now be used for public events.

The 65-year-old will remain in his modest family home and fly coach class on commercial planes. As usual, he was driven to the day’s ceremonies in a white Volkswagen.

During his swearing-in, López Obrador reaffirmed he will receive 40% of his presidential salary. In an extraordinary move, López Obrador also announced his intention to promote a recall referendum during his administration, adding the promise that he “will never seek reelection.”

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The leftist leader won a landslide victory in the July 1 presidential election and began his six-year term promising to carry out a strong fight against corruption, insisting that the issue has been Mexico’s worst nightmare.

“Nothing has harmed Mexico more that the dishonesty of the rulers,” he said.

López Obrador also criticized his unpopular predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, for introducing “harmful” economic strategies and announced immediate public investment to rescue state oil and electricity industries while proposing the creation of a special economic zone with lower taxes along Mexico’s border with the United States.

He thanked the United States for sending Vice President Mike Pence and first daughter Ivanka Trump to his inauguration, stating that since winning the presidential election, he has been treated respectfully by President Donald Trump.

López Obrador also thanked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stating he would like to reach an agreement with both Canada and the United States to tackle immigration issues.

In one of his first acts in office, the new Mexican president has signed an agreement with his counterparts from three Central American countries to establish a development plan to stem the flow of migrants seeking asylum in the U.S.

The Foreign Ministry said Saturday that the plan includes a fund to generate jobs in the region and aims to attack the structural causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

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