Mexico
López Obrador "passes the hat" among Mexican moguls to pay for his predecessor's luxurious aircraft
Lopez Obrador offered a dinner to Mexican billionaires to sell 3 million tickets of a special lottery. The president said there were no slights at the event at the National Palace.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador boasted Thursday about the commitments made by the businessmen at the dinner he offered at the National Palace, saying he confirms the support he has from the sector because he has not had any slights and the commitment was to contribute $1.5 billion for the purchase of tickets for the raffle he is promoting, in which he originally offered the presidential plane that was used by his predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto.

Since the campaign, Mexico's president promised to sell the luxurious Dreamliner 787 worth $130 million, however, he has not found a buyer willing to disburse the amount. Weeks ago, he said he would organize a raffle with six million tickets of $25 each to get rid of the plane. He later clarified that the raffle would be held to raise funds for hospitals and other needs, and although the plane will appear on the tickets, the prize will be only monetary.

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Faced with the difficulty of selling six million tickets, López Obrador called on 75 important businessmen to buy half of the tickets in advance and then give them away or sell them among their employees in the largest companies in the country.

The president confirmed that 75 businessmen participated in the raffle. Among the attendees were Maria Aramburuzabala -former owner of beer giant Grupo Modelo-; Carlos Slim, owner of America Movil; Olegario Vazquez Aldir of Grupo Imagen; Emilio Azcarraga Jean of Televisa; Antonio del Valle of Del Valle Juices; Alejandro Ramirez of Cinepolis, among others, who enjoyed chicken tamales and hot chocolate with the president.

"Yesterday we already obtained commitments of dispersion, purchase of tickets, for half of the three billion (pesos) that we are thinking of obtaining, that is, yesterday there were commitments for one thousand five hundred million pesos," confirmed the president, recalling that part of the proceeds of the raffle will go to the purchase of medical equipment.

"Everyone expressed their support. Without them taking the floor, there was a demonstration of support for the decision taken to raffle the plane. I have to thank the businessmen very much, it is a very special recognition, first because they attended, they took into account the invitation, there were no slights, we called them and they participated", he added.

The president also confirmed that the commitment sheet that circulated yesterday in social networks which established four possible amounts of contribution -the lowest by 20,000 million and the highest by 200,000 million pesos- was real.

However, he assured that there was no pressure on the businessmen: "I insisted that no one should feel bad if they did not participate or if they did not agree, that they were free [to decide]," said Lopez Obrador, who kept. He even said that one of the attendants promoted the distribution of the tickets in indigenous communities.

The comment coincides with that of some businessmen who were questioned by the press after the meeting, who said they did not feel pressured and that the president had been "respectful.

Thursday morning, businessman José Zozaya, president of Kansas City Southern, in an interview with Radiofórmula, reiterated what he had said: "There was neither a smear nor extortion. It was more of an invitation, the stage was very open, the president's invitation was very clear and the guests could do it at a later time".

The businessman assured that "many of us left with the paper in our hands", accepting that he was among them, since the president made it clear that they could decide at another time. He explained that he would discuss it with his shareholders. 

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