Funny story of Mexico’s presidential plane lottery

The Chilling Children of the National Lottery is a tradition in Mexico. But it was a lottery, as the country has never seen – the short story behind it includes nearly a decade of corruption charges, a $ 218 million plane, a politician who tries to sell that plane and fails. Lives on, and of course, the novel coronavirus.

Long story? Let’s dive in.

In 2012, then-President of Mexico Felipe Calderón decided that the time had come to upgrade his ride. He took the initiative to buy a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a luxurious, new jet Compared to the older 757 models that had previously served as presidential aircraft.

But by the time the plane arrived, Calderone had left the office. It fell to his successor, Enrique Pena Nieto, to inspect the jet’s custom trappings: in outfits for only 80 passengers, the aircraft has leather-wide seats, a conference room, and a presidential suite King size bed and a private shower.

Mexican President Andres Manuel López speaks during the Obrador press conference on July 27, 2020, with the presidential plane in the background.

Peña Nieto used the jet for his last few years in office and it became the favorite target of then-President Andrés Manuel Lupez Obredor during the 2018 campaign.

Lopez Obredor called it a symbol of government and corruption in a poverty-stricken country, saying, “Obama does not even have such an aircraft.” He promised to sell the aircraft and return the money to the people.

How do we get rid of this thing?

Losz Obredor, who flies commercial, tried to live up to his word. When he took office on December 1, 2018, his administration got the right to work in an attempt to find the buyer of the aircraft.

It turns out, there is not much in the market for a second-hand, custom-designed airplane with a price tag of over $ 200 million. It would cost millions more to retrofit for commercial use.

The government says that it has made several proposals for the aircraft since early 2019, but none of them reached an agreement. Lopez Obredor has said that his administration cannot sell the aircraft for less than this.

The aircraft parked in a hangar in Mexico City remains unsold.

The ruffle

In early 2020, Lopez Obredor’s administration came up with a new idea for airplanes: a raffle.

Buy a ticket, and if you win, you – yes you, average citizen of Mexico! – Will become the proud owner of a custom wide-body 787.

But the Mexican public answered many questions:

  • Where will the winner park the airplane?
  • Who will pilot it?
  • Who will keep it?
  • Where will it blow?
  • And decisively, who will pay for all these things?

At the time, López Obredor offered part of a solution. “We will offer maintenance service to the winner of the aircraft for two years or one year,” he said this January.

The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obredor, shows his ticket to the presidential plane race on March 3, 2020, next to the general director of the National Lottery, Ernesto Preto Ortega.

The government estimates the annual maintenance cost to be about $ 1.7 million.

“It sounds like a joke, okay,” Mexico City resident Brian Diaz told AFP in January.

His sentiment was widely shared between Mexican and plane raffles and soon became a joke in the country. The hashtag #SiMeGanoElAvion, or #IfIWonThePlane, went viral with people sharing meffles and jokes.

This forced the president to change course quickly. But if selling the aircraft was the original goal, it was soon lost.

The Ruffle – minus the plane

Lopez Obredor decided that Ruffle would go ahead – but the prize would no longer be a plane.

Instead, it will be a “symbolic” cash prize divided between 100 winners. Each winner will receive 20 million pesos, equivalent to approximately $ 1 million, depending on the exchange rate.

At the time, the government expected that around 6 million tickets would be sold at 500 pesos for about $ 25. The money raised will be used to pay the winners their money, and any additional money will be used to donate medical equipment to the public health system – and in maintaining the aircraft before any final sale Will also help.

Check out a lottery ticket in Mexico City on March 10, 2020 depicting the magnificent presidential plane.

Of course, this plan actually requires people to buy raffle tickets. And 500 pesos is in a country where government figures show that in 2018, an average of 16,500 pesos are earned every month, about $ 825.

This is the reason why ticket sales were not great. A basic plan to hold the raffle drawing in May was delayed due to lack of sales.

This was followed by the Coronavirus epidemic, which hit Mexico hard. More than 675,000 cases and 71,000 deaths have been reported.

The purpose of the raffle changed again: Now, López Obredor’s administration postpones additional raffle proceedings to support the government’s fight against the epidemic. But it is unlikely to go away.

Final math

As of September 11, the government said it had sold just under 4.2 million tickets, totaling about $ 105 million. The final amount will likely be higher as tickets were sold until 15 September.

Of the earnings announced so far, the government will pay about 95%, or about $ 100 million, on the 100 winning tickets drawn on Tuesday. This is about $ 5 million left, which the government plans to donate to the public health system.

But if the funds were spread evenly across 951 public health facilities to treat the country’s Kovid-19 patients, each facility would receive a little over $ 5,000.

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Or they may be lucky. The federal government has also effectively entered its public hospitals, purchasing and distributing approximately 1,000 tickets to each facility. About 1 million tickets for a total of $ 25 million. Should a hospital come with a winning ticket, it would be allowed to use $ 1 million to buy medical equipment.

Additionally, if a winner does not claim the number, that amount will also be donated to hospitals. But this is a game of chance.

For months, critics have accused the Mexican government of not adequately supplying hospitals with protective equipment or medical supplies through the entire epidemic, with the government denying CNN.

They have failed to notice that the hospital is no longer announced. It is possible Winning more cash is not the same as creating a budget that adequately meets public health needs. In the eyes of critics, Ruffle is a public relations distraction.

So who wins?

It all culminated in a 2.5-hour performance by the National Lottery’s screaming children as they read the set of numbers.

The winner of this competition – persuaded to get rid of the chairmanship of an albatross airplane – turned into an expedition and claimed to raise money for the Battle of Kovid-19, which would be announced in the coming days.

For the sake of the public health system in Mexico, many would expect the winners to include public hospitals.