President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
More details of the sale of the plane to the Central Asian country are to be disclosed next week. Photo by Josue Decavele/Getty Images

The government of Mexico announced on Thursday, Apr. 20 that the country's presidential jet had been sold to Tajikistan, putting an apparent end to a political drama that had seen President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador regularly criticize the excesses of his forerunners.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner utilized by Lopez Obrador's predecessor Enrique Pea Nieto, but never by him, had an agreed-upon sale price of 1.66 billion pesos, or $92 million, according to a tweet from Lopez Obrador.

The president said in a video that accompanied the post that the transaction proved how his leadership had altered Mexican politics.

"It's important that everyone knows how people thought before, how the authorities acted, like little pharaohs," he added, sitting in a high leather-backed chair, flanked by officials.

"Not anymore."

He stated that additional information, like the aircraft's expensive maintenance expenses, would be made public next week about the sale of the plane to the Central Asian nation, Reuters reported.

The Tajikistan State Council, which acquired the plane, has roughly 10 days to take custody of it, according to Jorge Mendoza, chairman of the national development bank Banobras, one of the officials with the president.

The populist socialist, who has long decried the corruption of political elites, earlier declared his intention to sell the plane for at least $150 million, down from the $218 million it cost to buy it in the first place in 2012.

The jet, which had many flat-screen displays, marble accents, and official government insignia inscribed on the walls, was going to be sold shortly after Lopez Obrador assumed office in late 2018.

Years passed with no sale, so the frugal Mexican president—who has championed budget austerity throughout his more than four years in office—at one time suggested giving the plane away in a raffle.

When he travels, Lopez Obrador uses commercial airlines.

He stated that the sale's earnings would be utilized to construct two 80-bed public hospitals in the nation's poorest states, southern Guerrero and Oaxaca.

He continued, "They will be built by military engineers and will be inaugurated before my term ends."

($1 = 17.9941 Mexican pesos)

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