Mexico’s new President transforms presidential mansion into museum

World Today

Mexico’s new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, promises to cut what he calls unnecessary luxuries available to him, in an effort to make his government more austere. He began on his first day in office, when he threw open the doors to the official presidential residence and compound — known las Los Pinos — and allowed the public to come in. CGTN’s Franc Contreras was among the first visitors.

Mexico’s new President promised to cut what he calls unnecessary luxuries in an effort to make his government more austere. On his first day in office, he transformed the official presidential residence and compound – known as Los Pinos – into a public museum. Since 1934, the building had served as the home and office for 13 Mexican presidents. Not anymore. 

Photo by Franc Contreas

ALMO, said he’ll continue living in his own home and set up his office in the National Palace. To rid his administration of what he calls luxury perks, Lopez Obrador, often referred to by his initials AMLO, said he will sell the presidential jet. 

For most Mexicans, Los Pinos was synonymous with presidential power and opulence. Mexico’s outgoing president, Enrique Peña Nieto, lived here with his wife, Angelica Rivera. On AMLO’s first day in office, more than 30,000 people peered into the recesses of their former home. Among the sights — a giant walk-in closet that is the size of most people’s living rooms. The closet could hold hundreds of fine suits and personal items.

Photo by Franc Contreas

Wilbert Manzanero, a visitor from the southern Mexican state of Yucatan, said, “It’s the first time they allowed us to enter here freely. This is thanks to Mr. Lopez Obrador who promises to help us a lot.”

Former Mexican presidents used the José Vasconcelos Library as a place to create public policy and hold cabinet-level meetings, where they discussed some of the most difficult issues facing the country. Law student Jaqueline Peña came from the northern state of Sinaloa.

“When I learned that Los Pinos would be open to the public, I thought: Awesome!,” she said. “I had to come here and see it. Imagining the presidents who sat at this desk is really cool.”

Mexican visitors who spoke to CGTN America all agreed – opening the building to the public is another sign that a new era is underway here.