“¡Sí se pudo!”

Mexico’s new leader turns “haunted” palace into public park and puts presidential jet up for sale

Mexico’s new president opened up the nation’s presidential palance as a public park. (Eneas De Troya/Wikimedia)

As part of an effort to fulfill campaign promises of rooting out corruption and re-inviting the public to participate in the country’s electoral politics, Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, threw open the gates of the nation’s secretive presidential palace for the first time in over 80 years. 

Dubbed by some as the “Mexican Bernie Sanders” for his Leftist bona fides and populist messaging, Obrador—who is known colloquially by his initials as AMLO—invited the public to enjoy the 5,000-square-foot home and its expansive grounds amid inaugural celebrations over the weekend.

The move is among the new Mexican president’s first official acts and includes converting the Bosque de Chapultepec–adjacent palace into a museum and cultural complex that will be free to the public. Plans call for converting an existing movie screening area in the palace into a community arts space, for example. AMLO has referred to the palace as a “haunted” place in the past and has vowed to continue living in his current home through 2019 when one of his young children will finish the current school year.

The palace dates back to 1550 when it was built as a colonia-era flour mill and has been used as the official presidential residence since the 1930s. During its history, the residence has largely remained hidden from public view but under Mexico’s new regime, the public is finally getting a first-hand look.

But that’s not all.

AMLO also plans to sell the nation’s presidential Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane and has vowed to fly commercial for official trips. A government-sponsored Twitter account posted a sale notice for the “seminuevo” jet over the weekend, though a price was not listed.

Keep an eye out on Mexico City’s controversial and recently-canceled airport by Foster + Partners. Rumors began flying online over the weekend regarding whether the project—which is roughly 1/3 of the way built—was officially canceled or not. As Mexico begins the difficult process of paying back the investors who have already sunk money into the project ahead of an ambitious public and private-public works effort by AMLO, there will likely be more news on the airport and its fate.

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