MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Vicente Fox acknowledged Tuesday that his presidential mansion is furnished with $400 towels and remote-controlled curtains, a revelation casting doubt on his promise of austere government.
The towel spat started when Mexican daily Milenio published a list of household goods, carrying a total price tag of about $400,000, acquired by the president's office since Fox took office in December.
Included on the list--also available via the Web site of the comptroller general's office, http://www.secodam.gob.mx--are three "specially embroidered" towels at $400 each and $17,000 curtains used by Fox in the Los Pinos presidential palace.
About 40% of Mexico's 100 million people live in poverty, but Fox defended the list's publication as evidence of progress in bringing transparency to government spending.
The amounts spent to furnish the homes of Mexico's presidents were never made public during the 71-year rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which Fox defeated in historic elections last July.