MEXICO CITY -- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has published a financial disclosure form that reveals relatively few possessions — and the fact that his wife makes more than he does.
Lopez Obrador cut his own pay to about $65,000 per year when he took office on Dec. 1. His wife, writer and academic Beatriz Gutierrez, makes about $72,000.
"I have never been interested in money, I fight for ideals," Lopez Obrador said Friday. He claimed he has never had a credit card.
The president has about $23,000 in savings, apparently in bank accounts; Gutierrez has three times that much.
In the disclosure form presented to authorities Thursday, he said Gutierrez has properties worth over $250,000.
Lopez Obrador said a three-acre (1.2 hectare) compound he inherited from his parents in southern Chiapas state has been signed over to his four sons, though he retains the right to live there.
While he eschewed material goods, Lopez Obrador did wax poetic about his love of the tree-lined Chiapas compound, where he spends what little free time he has.
"I have mahogany trees, cedars, ceiba trees ... beautiful birds land in their branches, that is my place," he said.
Lopez Obrador vowed that the rest of his Cabinet would file the same kind of financial disclosure forms.
But the president's crusade for government austerity — he is fond of saying "there cannot be a rich government with poor people" — has run into opposition in unusual quarters.
Mexico's central bank said Thursday it has filed an appeal asking the Supreme Court to review Lopez Obrador's policy of prohibiting most public-sector employees from earning more than him.
Lopez Obrador argues the rule is already written in Article 127 of the Constitution; it had simply been ignored for years.
The Supreme Court has already suspended the federal salary rules passed by Congress while it reviews the measure.
The Bank of Mexico said Thursday it wants the court to determine if the article applies to the bank, which is independent and autonomous.
The Constitution says those who do "technical" or "specialized work" can make 50 percent more than the president.