MISSION, RGV – Maki Ortiz may be at the other end of the political spectrum to the new president of Mexico but she is remaining calm about the situation.
Speaking at the monthly meeting of INDEX Reynosa, the trade association for the maquiladora industry, Ortiz said the Lopez Obrador administration has included Reynosa in its border economic plan and as a result $700 million pesos will be invested in the city.
“I think we are all nervous because we do not know what is going to happen. But I am certain, because I am Mexican and I know my people, that reality will keep us on the right path,” said Ortiz, a member of the PAN.
For maquilas, there will be less EVA taxes to pay and gas and electricity costs will be reduced, Ortiz said. However, wage rates will be going up under Lopez Obrador, she noted.
“It is going to be a good business opportunity. I think we should be calm and we should be happy and we should be ready to adapt. But, I think the maquilas will survive,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz said she was asked a lot during the recent election campaign what would happen if AMLO were to become president.
“I told you during the campaign that everything will be okay. I am on the Right, far from the Left, but I said everything would be okay for those of us on the border. We have to wait until the 15th of December, we are expecting a new (federal) budget. From there we will know the future.”
Ortiz said her calmness was based upon her experience as a former senator and congresswoman.
“I just know everything will be okay. Some things will change, like new programs for poor people but they (the AMLO administration) will keep the macro-economic policies. We thought the new president would hit the macro-economics and that would impact the micro-economics, but we are calm. We will see. So, do not worry. We have to do the math and keep working.”
One thing that will definitely happen under AMLO, Ortiz predicted, is more people migrating north to the Texas-Mexico border.
“I know we will have more people coming to the border, a lot more people coming to the border. So, I will have a lot of work. I will try to work with everybody,” she said.
Ortiz said that, initially, Reynosa was not expected to get new investment from the AMLO administration, unlike Matamoros, which is controlled by AMLO’s MORENA party.
“Let me tell you something that is very important. The new president will invest about $700 million pesos in Reynosa. Initially it was only going to be Matamaros; I was told, you are not in the border program. I talked to everybody and one day I got a call saying the president wanted to see me. I said to my friends, let’s go but I am afraid of a kidnapping or something.”
After a meeting in Mexico City, AMLO sent one of his representatives to Reynosa.
“I took him to the worst part of Reynosa and asked, how can you help?” Ortiz said. “Afterwards, people asked me why I was laughing. Because I have $700 million in my pocket.”
Ortiz repeated her optimism.
“It is going to be good. We have to adapt. I was there before with President Calderon as under-secretary of health. The reality will hit them (the AMLO administration). I think the border will grow and we will have success.”
INDEX Reynosa officials have always been supportive of Ortiz and her administration in Reynosa.
“Our maquilas south of Pharr are about 49 years old now. Mayor Ortiz is helping with the infrastructure improvements we need there,” Martha Ramos, secretary of INDEX Reynosa told the Rio Grande Guardian.
Enrique Castro, president of INDEX Reynosa said Ortiz has ushered in better roads, better street lighting, and better schools in the city. He also welcomed the new economic development team Ortiz has put in place.
As for AMLO, Castro said: “Things are going to be different. I don’t want to say they are going to be difficult, they are just going to be different and we have to be prepared and know where they are heading. We have to be ten steps ahead of the situation.”