The “sui generis” tandem formed by the president-elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the billionaire Carlos Slim represents an explosive clash of personalities and interests due to their character and ideological differences.
One is an austere politician whose flag is the fight against corruption and who asks his collaborators to live and work in “healthy medianía,” a phrase coined by Benito Juárez, president of Mexico from 1858 to 1872, and considered one of his referents.
The other is a tycoon, the richest man in Mexico and the seventh in the world, according to the Forbes list, who meticulously studies his investments and lives with austerity, away from public and media attention as much as possible.
Despite the marked differences, both are respected and know that they can work together. They have done it before and although their relationship, which began in 2001, has been marked by certain coincidences, they have not missed the disagreements and verbal duels.
The most talked about happened a few months ago its divergences around the need or not construction of the New International Airport of Mexico City (NAICM).
During his electoral campaign, López Obrador declared on several occasions that, if he won the elections on July 1, he would cancel the project because it was considered “a very expensive pharaonic work” that compromises public money.
The nervousness of the investors was evident, although López Obrador later qualified and indicated that he would review the contracts to confirm whether there were irregularities and corruption cases.
In an unusual public intervention, Slim convened a press conference last April to back the project and confront the leftist politician.
The magnate assured that the new airport was “a detonator of development for the country” so halting its construction would suspend the growth of the country.
López Obrador replied that he respected Slim’s opinion, although he did not share it: “It is his right, because he is part of the companies that are building the airport, he is a contractor, if it is as good business says he does with his money. “
The phrase was a hard blow for Slim, who despite the clash congratulated López Obrador after his triumph at the polls.
Just last Monday they both met again in Mexico City in a meeting with groups of engineers.
Slim, 78 years old and an engineer by profession, was the target of López Obrador’s praise.
“With his imagination, with his effort, with his talent, he is an example in Mexico and in the world for being one of the most successful entrepreneurs,” said the businessman’s politician, in a kind of “reconciliation” that they sealed with a squeeze. of hands and a hug.
“I think there is no reconciliation because there has never been a problem between them, it has been a very correct and very valid relationship, they just met, and as López Obrador said, everyone has their field of action,” said Javier Jiménez Espriú , future Secretary of Communications and Transport.
The relationship between the two was consolidated when López Obrador held the position of Head of Government of Mexico City from 2000 to 2005 and invited Slim to invest in the central avenue Reforma, although the multimillionaire opted to do so in the Historic Center, which was abandoned and in frank decadence.
The hand and investment of the entrepreneur was evident when rescuing and revitalizing the center of the capital, which comprises a good number of tourist spots as well as being an important area of commerce and restaurants.
Other points of investment of Slim in the Mexican capital were the Plaza Mariana, a commercial space adjacent to the Basilica of Guadalupe in 2003 and Plaza Juarez, which involved the change of headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE, Chancellery) in 2006 .
Along with the mutual success of the revitalization of the Historical Center there were also disagreements as when the name of the tycoon appeared in one of the books of López Obrador entitled “The Mafia that took over Mexico … and 2012” (2010), in the that the 64-year-old politician accused a “supposed mafia of power” that included Mexican politicians and businessmen, including Slim.
Although by different ways, López Obrador and Slim, expect that in the future Administration there will be more coincidences than the differences between both, which would benefit Mexico because deep down and, in spite of their ideological differences, they are aware that both they need.