Mexico is trying to sell its luxurious presidential jet to Canada, but will raffle the plane off if the Canadians don’t want it, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Tuesday.
The offer marks the latest chapter in a desperate effort to unload the large and lavish Boeing 787 Dreamliner that López Obrador views as wasteful.
He said Tuesday that the plane bought for more than $200 million by his predecessor would be a step up for Canada’s prime minister.
“We learned that Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s airplane had problems, and we offered it to them, but there hasn’t been an agreement yet,” López Obrador said. “The truth is that it is bigger than the Canadian prime minister’s, and better.”
Officials have said Mexico would accept $130 million for the plane.
López Obrador presented a prototype of the lottery-style ticket that would be issued for the jet if the raffle idea goes ahead. He said he hoped business owners would buy huge blocks of the 500-peso ($25) tickets. The government hopes to sell 6 million tickets and use the proceeds to buy medical equipment.
More than a white elephant, the plane now seems to be an albatross. Some Mexicans said they wouldn’t want to win it.
“I would not buy it,” Mexico City resident Lidia Flores said of the possible raffle tickets, saying she would have no idea of what to do with the hulking airliner is she won.
Even López Obrador expresses doubts about the idea, saying he worries that greed or envy could wreck the life of anyone who won the jet in a raffle.
“I don’t want to bear the guilt, because I would be responsible,” he said Tuesday. “It worries me. It″s the only thing holding me back, how to prevent something bad befalling the person who wins.”
Others see the raffle proposal as a distraction from Mexico’s real problems, like crime, violence and economic stagnation.
“This is a smoke screen,” said Eliseo Ochoa, a lawyer in Mexico City. “This is just a joke at the expense of the public.”