Home Headlines Merida’s Mundo Maya Museum: $270M USD white elephant?

Merida’s Mundo Maya Museum: $270M USD white elephant?

by Yucatan Times
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Mayaleaks.org, a Yucatan-based website focused on government accountability, recently published an article on costs connected with the new and award-winning Gran Museo del Mundo Maya (Great Museum of the Maya World). This article in Spanish, translated and reprinted here, does not necessarily reflect editorial views of The Yucatan Times.

Yucatecans will pay $4.643 billion pesos ($270 million USD) in 21 years at $221.1 million pesos ($13.1 million USD) annually, for a Museum already considered to be a “white elephant.”

The Great Museum of the Maya World, pushed forward by Jorge Esma in the administration of Gov. Ivonne Ortega Pacheco, cost Yucatecans $4.643 billion pesos, payable in 21 years at $221.1 million per year, as stated in official documents.

The Great Museum of the Maya World was conceived in the administration of Gov. Ivonne Ortega Pacheco. (PHOTO: mayleaks.org.mx)

The Great Museum of the Maya World was conceived in the administration of Gov. Ivonne Ortega Pacheco. (PHOTO: mayaleaks.org)

That museum, which is practically a “white elephant” (by its meager income, just $543,000 pesos per month) according to information of the state government itself, was built in the previous administration under the scheme of Project Provision Services (PPS), and since then its actual cost was kept secret.

When Ortega Pacheco asked Congress in 2011 for PPS approval for the museum, she told lawmakers that the building would cost $411 million pesos and the annual payment for the PPS would be $33 million pesos, putting federal holdings as collateral.

Today, with official data in hand, it is known that payment is almost seven times higher and Ortega Pacheco, did the same things with the PPS museum as with the PPS ill-fated hospital in Ticul: deceived legislators and citizens.

The Register of Financial Obligations of Federal Entities, Municipalities and Agencies of the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit notes that, in effect, the contract for the PPS museum is for 21 years and that the amount of investment made by the companies that won the contract –Promotora de Cultura Yaxché SA de CV, of the Hermes Group — is $770 million pesos, but Treasury does not seat the annual amount of the collateral.

About Hermes Group: 

Grupo Transportes, a petroleum products transportation company created in 1952 merged with Cerrey (a steam power producer) in 1978 and both were grouped under the name “Hermes Group”, owned by Carlos Hank Gonzalez.

Carlos Hank Gonzalez was one of the most influential Mexican politicians for more than four decades He was Mayor of Toluca, Congressman (Diputado), Governor of the State of Mexico, Mayor of Mexico City, Secretary of Tourism and Secretary of Agriculture. Throughout his whole life, Hank González was a prominent member of the PRI party (same political party as Ivonne Ortega Pacheco).

He became the prototype of the Mexican Politician – Businessman, making a huge fortune with construction works granted to his own companies while he was governor and major.

He is remembered for his phrase: “A politician that is poor is a poor politician” (Un politico pobre es un pobre politico), meaning that a politician must use his power to get rich.

Businessman Carlos Hank Rhon, the son of Carlos Hank Gonzalez is the Chairman and CEO of Hermes Group, and other national companies such as: Scope Total Group Transport and Playa Mujeres.

 (TYT Newsroom)


Ex-Gov. Ivonne Ortega Pacheco is shown at the opening of the museum. (PHOTO: mayaleaks.org)

Ex-Gov. Ivonne Ortega Pacheco is shown at the opening of the museum. (PHOTO: mayaleaks.org)

This, however, appears in Annex 16 of Decree 246/2014 approving the Budget of Expenditures of the state government for the fiscal year 2015. According to the document issued, the budget allocations for multiyear commitments this year are: “Gran Museo del Mundo Maya (PPS contract). Start date, September 1, 2012. Duration 21 years. 2015 budget amount, $221,142,822 pesos”, at $18,428,568 per month.

(Incidentally, in the same document it is stated that the annual payment made by the state government since 2008, is $42,329,128, on the other work conceived by Ortega Pacheco: Children’s Rehabilitation Center Telethon).

TWO PAYMENTS. Although according to Decree 246/2014, the date of the PPS Museum is September 1, 2012, payments began until 2014, according to Jorge Esma Bazán, the director of the Institute of History and Museums of Yucatán (IHMY), responsible for the Grand Museum, in a press conference on November 3, 2013.

“In 2014, I began paying the Hermes Group, which financed and built the work,” he said, but gave no numbers.

Indeed, payments for the PPS museum began last year and although Esma did not talk about figures, in the Public Accounts 2014, the state government consigns transfer to IHMY, under the heading of “public investments”, of $219,424,629 pesos, which “corresponds to the first payment made by the consideration of PPS services,” the Great Museum of the Maya World.

This transfer was deposited, according to documents obtained by Mayaleaks, on account of IHMY 0874125425.

Although this work was planned and managed by Ivonne Ortega Pacheco, it will be the current government of Gov. Rolando Zapata Bello, and the following three governors who will pay the consideration of $221.1 million pesos a year for the PPS Museum, to Promotora de Cultura Yaxché.

This figure hardly decreases because the museum obtains very few economic benefits.

According to the Public Account 2014, income that year by way of box office ticket sales, parking, rental spaces income was $6,522,004 pesos, a monthly average of $543,500.

That is, the income of the museum represents only 2.9 percent of its operating costs.

Source: mayaleaks.org.mx


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