Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador expropriated privately-owned land in the state of Mexico to build commuter train stations, fueling an already tense political climate just three days after he ordered the seizure of part of a rail line owned by billionaire German Larrea’s Grupo Mexico SAB.
The expropriation of more than 113,000 square meters in three municipalities was in response to a request by the country’s Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation Ministry (SICT) and seeks to guarantee connectivity to the new Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA), one of Lopez Obrador main public projects, according to a decree published Monday in the nation’s official gazette.
The expropriation, which serves a “public use,” includes constructions and facilities that are on the land at stake, according to the decree.
SICT will occupy the area and must pay for the expropriated assets with its budget resources. After 10 business days from the publication of the decree, those affected can start a judicial procedure, but only to reject the compensation amount. The decree did not specify the compensation that the previous owners of the properties will receive.
Recent decisions by Lopez Obrador are generating concerns in the business community about government intervention in the economy. AMLO, as the president is known, is engaged in a battle with the country’s Supreme Court, which Monday blocked for a second time an attempt to designate some of his flagship public works as matter of national security and public interest. Some justices argued that such a status to these works could be used as an excuse to hide information.