4th STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS Stenographic version
September 1, 2022
PRESIDENT ANDRÉS MANUEL LÓPEZ OBRADOR: Friends, public servants, people of Mexico:
We decided to deliver this report here, in this historic venue, which symbolizes the art and cultural greatness of Mexico.
In these years we have faced great challenges, such as the pandemic and the economic crisis that was triggered by its unfortunate arrival. However, it is these difficult circumstances that put us to the test and allow us to demonstrate whether or not the project of change or transformation that we drafted and put into practice is working. And today, in this report, I can state that, despite the adversities, we are moving forward, as shown by the results.
The economy declined, but we have managed to recover its pre-COVID levels. Today there are 21, 236,866 workers enrolled in the Social Security and health-care system, that is, 623,330 more than before the pandemic. And what has been most important is that, without growth, according to the macroeconomic indicator, but with a better distribution of income, we have managed to reduce inequality and poverty.
According to the latest National Survey of Household Income and Spending, conducted by the National Statistics Institute (Inegi) from August to November 2020, at the height of the pandemic, while in 2018 the richest earned on average 18 times more than the poorest, in 2020, this figure was reduced to 16.
Similarly, in that period the poorest were the only ones to see their incomes grow, in this case by 1.3 percent. This is confirmed by the fact that while urban households lost 8 percent of their income to the pandemic, rural households experienced a 3.8 percent increase.
The Wellbeing programs enabled senior citizens to increase their average quarterly income per person from 2018 to 2020 from 12,420 to 13,586 pesos (617.11 to 675.05 dollars). For the indigenous population, its quarterly income per person of 8,887 pesos (about 439 dollars) increased to 10,057 pesos (about 497.18 dollars), that is, 13.6 percent more.
According to the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policies (Coneval), in the second quarter of this year, real labor income per person grew by 4.8 percent, increasing from 2,747 pesos (about 135.80 dollars) to 2,880 (about 142.37 dollars), compared to the same period in 2021.
These data reaffirm our thesis that economic growth is not enough; justice is indispensable.
In the new economic, moral, and social policy that we have applied since the beginning of our administration, we have rejected the technocratic obsession of measuring everything in terms of growth indicators that do not necessarily reflect social realities. We believe that what is key is not quantitative, but qualitative: the equitable distribution of income and wealth.
The ultimate goal of a State is to create the conditions for people to live happily. Economic growth and increases in productivity and competitiveness do not make sense as objectives in and of themselves, but as means to achieve a higher purpose, namely, the general well-being of the population and, even more precisely, material well-being and the well-being of the soul.
It is also worthwhile to point out that, beyond simple economic growth, what is key is to do away with corruption and privileges in order to allocate all that is obtained and saved for the benefit of the majority of the people and, more specifically, for the poorest and most downtrodden.
I can demonstrate that, in general terms, the plan of zero corruption and impunity, and of eradicating luxury spending in the government, has allowed us to have around 2.4 trillion extra or additional pesos (about 110 billion dollars). And I invite you to do the math, shortly, in overall terms:
The cancellation of tax breaks for large taxpayers, as well as the fight against tax evasion has meant surplus income to the public treasury for 1.70 trillion pesos (about 84 billion dollars).
The fight against huachicol, fuel theft, has helped us to stop hemorrhaging 200 billion pesos (about 9.88 billion dollars).
Savings in the costs of public work projects have allowed us to dispose of another 200 billion pesos (about 9.88 billion dollars).
And the republican austerity plan, as a whole, has allowed more than 300 billion pesos (14.83 billion dollars) to be freed up for development.
All this is reflected in the financial stability we have achieved, without increasing taxes, raising fuel prices, or putting the country in debt.
This year, despite inflation, 8.2 percent, and subsidies on gasoline and diesel, 293 billion pesos (about 14.48 billion dollars), federal government revenue has increased by 2.4 percent in real terms compared to the same period last year.
I would add that if we had not opted for the fuel subsidy, inflation would have reached 14 percent, and the average real salary of 8,943 pesos (about 442.10 dollars) would have dropped to 7,900 pesos (about 390.54 dollars), that is, a loss of 12 percent.
Throughout the time we have been in government, the peso has not been devalued and has been in the first three places among currencies worldwide, due to its strength in relation to the dollar.
Good budget management has allowed us to considerably increase public investment and carry out work projects of great importance for Mexico’s development:
In the energy sector, investments have been made to refurbish the six refineries we received. This includes building a new refinery, which is already in the integration phase to begin production in Dos Bocas, Paraíso, Tabasco. And to purchase the Deer Park refinery in Texas, which is now owned by the nation. In addition, two coker systems are under construction in Tula, Hidalgo, and Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, to reduce fuel oil production and increase the volume of gasoline.
All this investment, which totals around 24 billion dollars (about 1.18 billion dollars) and which has been made without taking on debt, will enable us to process crude oil in our country as of next year, to be self-sufficient in gasoline and diesel, and to stop importing these fuels.
The national electricity industry has also been strengthened. At the end of this six-year administration, the Federal Electricity Commission, with an investment of approximately 9.30 billion million dollars, will increase its installed capacity by close to 10,000 megawatts with the construction and modernization of 34 projects, basically promoting the generation of clean energy with the renovation of equipment in 16 hydroelectric plants, and with the construction of the largest solar energy park in Latin America, located in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora.
Similarly, with the new electricity law, which limits the privileges of private companies, especially foreign firms, the Federal Electricity Commission is being rescued from the privatizing mania that characterized the neoliberal or neo-Porfirist policy, encouraged by corrupt and unpatriotic officials.
By the end of this year, 2,300 branches of the Wellbeing Bank, built by military engineers, will be completed, to disperse around 500 billion pesos (about 24.71 billion dollars) annually for the direct benefit of 25 million families around the country.
Likewise, with the support of the workers of the Federal Electricity Commission, next year we will finish laying fiber optic lines and 2,800 antennas will be installed, to fulfill the commitment to guarantee free Internet service in schools, hospitals, and public venues, throughout the country.
Just as we consider energy self-sufficiency to be key, we are also directing our efforts and resources to produce the food we consume in Mexico. To this end, we are building the Santa María dam in Sinaloa, as well as 274 kilometers of main canals and 1,251 kilometers of distribution canals in that state and in the states of Sonora and Nayarit, which will allow us to irrigate more than 100,000 hectares of land.
In 2018, corn, beans, rice, and wheat production was 31.5 million tons, last year it reached 32.3 million tons, 2.3 percent more. And this year food production will be considerably higher.
This has been achieved through the establishment of guaranteed producer prices, the free delivery of 830,000 tons of fertilizers, the Sembrando Vida program, and direct support to growers, especially the smallest producers, as well as to peasant farmers and fishermen. Economic support is provided directly to them.
The agricultural sector, even with the pandemic, has not stopped growing. In 2020 production increased by 1.1 percent, in 2021 by 1.3 percent, and in the first half of this year the growth was three percent. Today I can report that we are already self-sufficient in bean production.
As we all know, public investment has reactivated the construction industry and, by undertaking the public work projects and building the infrastructure that the country requires, we have achieved the multiplier effect of creating many jobs and promoting economic growth, especially at the regional level.
Here I would like to highlight the construction of the ‘Felipe Ángeles’ airport, which was directed by military engineers and materialized through the contracting of 1,498 small and medium-sized companies, thereby creating 169,312 jobs.
Highway networks are under construction, such as those of Jalisco and Nayarit, on the coast. Also under construction are the highways of the coast and the isthmus of Oaxaca, and the rural roads of Veracruz, Sinaloa, Sonora, Guerrero, Nayarit, Durango, Tabasco, Oaxaca, and Baja California Sur.
And then there are the artisanal concrete roads build by community labor in Hidalgo, Veracruz, Guerrero and Oaxaca, as well as the construction of 40,516 kilometers of highways. We also have the maintenance of 40,516 kilometers of toll-free highways throughout the country, which has implied allocating an overall budget, in four years, of over 68.64 billion pesos (about 3.39 billion dollars).
We are going to finish the 1,554 kilometers of tracks of the Maya Train, and as of July of next year, the 42 trains with 219 railroad cars that are already being manufactured by Mexican labor in Ciudad Sahagún, Hidalgo, and that will provide service to tourists and local passengers in the southeast of Mexico, will begin to arrive. Even overcoming several obstacles, we are going to fulfill the commitment that the Maya Train will be inaugurated in December 2023.
We are also rehabilitating the railroad tracks for freight and passenger trains from Salina Cruz to Coatzacoalcos, from this port to Palenque, Chiapas, and from Ixtepec, Oaxaca, to Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, on Mexico’s border with Guatemala.
The Guadalajara Urban Train was completed and we are about to start the Tlajomulco Urban Train in Jalisco.
Next year we will inaugurate the section of the Lechería Train to the ‘Felipe Ángeles’ airport, to reach this air terminal in 45 minutes from Buenavista, in the center of Mexico City.
In addition, in December of next year, the train to Toluca will begin operating.
In short, at the end of my term in office we will leave a passenger train system of more than 2,000 kilometers in operation, something not seen in several decades.
In coordination with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Navy, which are now in charge of customs, a plan is underway to strengthen customs operations. This includes the 19 customs stations on the northern border, two on the southern border, and in 16 ports, with an investment of more than 80 billion pesos (about 3.95 billion dollars) to be spent in 2022 and 2023.
I would like to add that, since the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Navy have been in charge of customs, there has been a 20 percent increase in revenue. We are already collecting around one billion pesos (about 49 million dollars) in customs fees. Customs revenue is not seeping through the cracks and no smuggling is allowed.
Plus, more than 38 billion pesos (1.87 billion dollars) have been invested in urban improvement in 135 municipalities around the country, where 151 sports centers, 293 parks, seawalls, artistic and cultural spaces have been built, along with 44 markets, 162 schools, 22 health-care centers, 218 streets and drinking water networks, as well as the reconstruction of 6,720 public buildings and 1,945 historic temples and cultural properties and centers affected by the 2017 earthquakes.
Since we came into office Fovissste and Infonavit housing agency credits have been granted that have benefitted almost two million workers. The program to expand, reconstruct, and build housing has reached 312,000 poor families.
Five natural sites and areas have been declared for the protection of 127,249 hectares of flora and fauna, as well as 139,749 hectares of land earmarked for the same purpose, with the voluntary consent of ejido peasant farms and communities.
We continue with the construction of the Ecological Park of Lake Texcoco and the expansion and improvement of the Chapultepec Forest, from Los Pinos to the Ermita, located in the old town of Santa Fe, founded by Vasco de Quiroga.
We are also building aqueducts, such as the one from the Picacho dam to the town of Concordia, in Sinaloa. Construction of the aqueduct from El Cuchillo dam to the metropolitan area of Monterrey, Nuevo León, is about to begin. Other such projects include the healthy water project from the Francisco Zarco dam to the Comarca Lagunera, in Durango and Coahuila, the Oviáchic dam to supply water in the Yaqui indigenous communities in Sonora, the aqueduct from Escárcega to Calakmul, in Campeche, and two additional aqueducts from the Zapotillo dam to the Guadalajara, Jalisco metropolitan area.
Undoubtedly, the main distinctive feature of the government that I head and that I coordinate with the support of all of you, public servants, are the Wellbeing programs, aimed at improving the living and working conditions of the majority of the population and whose priority, beyond any doubt, are the poor.
A virtuous reality is the stipend program, which already benefits 10.50 million senior citizens, as well as the stipends for one million poor children with disabilities, which is already being extended to other age groups through agreements with state governments. Soon this very humane program will be universal.
Scholarships have been granted to 11 million students, from preschool to graduate school level.
2,315,000 young people have worked as apprentices, receiving an income equivalent to the minimum wage. Of these, half of them, when they finish their training, are hired by the very companies or work centers in which they were working as apprentices.
In addition, 449,570 farmers are supported with a permanent day’s wages. They work cultivating their land, whether they are semi-communal ejido lands or small properties, involving a total extension of 1,123,925 hectares, organized in 18,615 peasant farmer learning communities, with 15,132 nurseries and biofactories in 21 of the country’s states.
In terms of education and culture, I would like to emphasize that after the pandemic, little by little, we have returned to normality. My respects to the teachers of Mexico. They are truly apostles of education and, therefore, attending to them and improving their working conditions is an unavoidable commitment.
I would like to report that we have formalized the employment status of 650,000 education workers and increased the salaries of those who earn the least.
Our relationship with the leaders of the National Teachers’ Union (SNTE) and the National Teachers Coordinating Committee (CNTE) is one of dialogue and attention to their demands. Even when classes were suspended for more than a full school year due to the pandemic, in all the time we have been governing there has not been a single strike and teachers have not stopped going to the classrooms to teach their pupils.
That vulgar, dirty propaganda that teachers did not work and were rebels without a cause has been relegated to the dustbin of history, along with the neoliberal and privatizing so-called educational reform that engendered it.
Now, with the participation and consensus of the national teaching profession, and also with the participation of parents of school age children, the new educational contents, truly scientific and humanistic, have been approved and will be published in the first new textbooks.
The School is Ours program continues to be applied and extended. From the beginning until the end of this year, 113,000 parents’ committees will have received a budget for the maintenance of educational facilities and attention to poor students. That is, we are about to attend to, to reach, 66 percent of all schools, of all the country’s elementary schools.
In addition to the historic number of scholarships granted during this administration, I repeat, 11 million, some 145 public universities in the ‘Benito Juárez García’ higher education system, offering different majors, will be in operation. During the current school year, 64,000 students from poverty-stricken villages and municipalities will be studying in them.
And I would like to add that 55 additional universities will be created. They are designed to train doctors and nurses, in order to reverse the deficit of professionals in these specialties.
Precisely, in the area of public health, once the actions we urgently undertook to save lives due to the pandemic have been completed, we are now focused on creating one of the best systems of universal and free medical care in the world. We have already practically finished doing so in three states, Nayarit, Tlaxcala, and Colima.
In these states we have refurbished and equipped health-care centers and hospitals. The supply of medicines in these three states is at 95 percent. These states have filled 84 percent of their need for general practitioners and nurses available to care for patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We have also hired 97 percent of the specialized doctors required and we have regularized the employment situation of 1,470 health-care workers who had been working for years as temporary or contract workers.
And we will continue with the implementation of the federalized IMSS-Bienestar system to be completed by the middle of next year in all the states of the country. We are going to make the people’s constitutional right to health-care a reality.
It is very satisfying to be able to report that we are reducing the incidence of crime. There is no doubt, I have no doubt, I am absolutely convinced -and I hope this can be shared with an increasing number of people in Mexico and in the world- that peace is the result of justice and that the key to achieve tranquility and peace lies in attending to young people, in attending to the most vulnerable population, and in attending to those who are marginalized from the benefits of development.
Thus, with this basic strategy, we are reducing violence. These actions, of course, are complemented by teamwork in the Security Cabinet, perseverance, professionalism, and not allowing corruption or impunity. All this is providing us with good results.
Since we took office, federal crimes have dropped by 29.3 percent. Similarly, in coordination with state and municipal governments, vehicle theft has been reduced by 43.1 percent and kidnappings by 81 percent. Robberies are down an overall 23.4 percent.
Perhaps some or many people do not know, or have a different perception, due to the sensationalist, yellow journalism campaign of the media that act in the service of our conservative adversaries, but with data from Inegi we can demonstrate that we have reduced the number of homicides by 2.82 percent and so far this year the decrease is estimated at 10.4 percent.
Here I believe it is worthwhile to point out that this crime, homicide, increased with Fox during his presidency by 1.6 percent, with Calderon by 192.8 percent, and with Peña by 59 percent.
We should also take into account that the National Guard was created, for which 242 barracks have been built out of almost 500 that will be operating by the end of the current administration. Some 115,000 members have been recruited and professionally trained. Suffice it to say that in 19 states there are already more personnel of this division, of the civil guard, than state police.
That is why I sent to Congress a comprehensive legal reform bill yesterday, with the purpose of having the National Guard become part of the Ministry of Defense, with the sole purpose of consolidating it, of maintaining its discipline and professionalism and, above all, so that it does not become corrupt, as occurred with the former Federal Police.
The purpose is not to militarize or move toward authoritarianism, but to monitor, with the vigilance of the Ministry of Defense, the healthy growth of what should be the main public security institution in the country.
Let no one be confused or pretend not to know. In our government there are no people like García Luna, the violation of human rights is not allowed, the authorities are not accomplices, don’t engage in cover-ups, nor are they perpetrators of torture and massacres. No complicity with anyone is allowed and, on the contrary, impunity is fought and there is a total commitment to not leave any crime unpunished. The Ayotzinapa case is proof of this.
Even with the serious external problems we have faced such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which have precipitated the economic crisis in the world, in our country the data indicate that we are improving. We have particularly been helped by two positive factors, two good elements:
The strategy of support for those at the bottom, we should not forget that.
And the advantages of the trade agreement with the United States and Canada.
The Wellbeing programs, the recovery of the purchasing power of salaries, and the increase in remittances sent by our fellow countrymen to their families have improved the economic situation of the poorest part of the country’s population. And by guaranteeing at least the basics, peace has been maintained and the flame of hope has remained lit.
At the same time, Mexico is considered throughout the world as one of the countries with the greatest potential for investment and business. Foreign investment continues to arrive and during our administration, in two years, historic levels have been achieved. In the first half of this year, foreign investment grew by 12 percent compared to the same period last year.
According to information just transmitted in a letter from my friend President Biden, and I am quoting him verbatim, he says:
‘Bilateral trade in goods between the United States and Mexico has reached 384 billion dollars this year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels to reach an all-time high.’
In the relationship with the peoples and countries of the world, cooperation and friendship have prevailed. And with the United States, it is clear that we are working together, respecting our sovereignties, and maintaining a good neighbor policy.
At this point in the administration’s six-year term, two years and one month from the end of my mandate, we still have time left and we are going to undertake, we are going to undertake many other good things for the benefit of the people and, above all, we are going to consolidate the transformation that millions of Mexicans are carrying out.
So far, in a brief summary, we can highlight the following:
In Mexico the oligarchy no longer dominates the country, but rather there is a democratic government in power, whose priority is the poor. Corruption is not tolerated nor is there impunity for anyone, fiscal privileges are over, there is no luxury spending in government and public servants act with efficiency, responsibility, and honesty, they live within their just means, as recommended by President Benito Juarez.
Mexico is recovering its prestige in the world.
The State is no longer the main violator of human rights.
Wage increases, profit sharing, and wellbeing programs have become new and effective means for a fairer distribution of wealth:
Stipends for the elderly, universal support for the disabled, and scholarships for students from poor families have been enshrined in the Constitution.
The principle that education and health care are not privileges, but rights of the people, is about to become a reality.
We are winning the battle against racism, classism, and discrimination.
We have reduced crime rates.
Protest demonstrations are few.
There is no proliferation of strikes and there is no ungovernability.
Freedom of expression and the right to dissent are guaranteed as never before.
The government does not participate in electoral frauds.
The Federal Attorney General’s Office and the Legislative and Judicial branches act with absolute independence.
The peso has not been devalued.
The Banco de México’s reserves have increased by 14 percent.
There is religious freedom and a secular state.
It is being demonstrated that Mexico’s greatest wealth is the honesty of its people and now, more than ever, it is clear that Mexico is one of the countries with the greatest cultural wealth in the world, Mexico’s cultural greatness has a greater presence than ever.
I must confess to you that I am now more composed and calmer than before, my respect and love for the people has undeniably grown even more.
I rationally, mystically, and optimistically believe that the Fourth Transformation of Mexico will be victorious.
And on a personal level, I feel good. I am content, because the revolution of consciences has reduced political illiteracy to a minimum.
Thank you to the public servants who are with me and to all Mexicans for participating in this odyssey in pursuit of the people’s happiness and the country’s prosperity.
Thank you very much.
Long live Mexico!
Long live Mexico!
Long live Mexico!
Thank you very much.
(translated by Pedro Gellert)