The mayor of Zongolica, Veracruz, no stranger to controversial statements and actions, is urging people to make love as a way of keeping healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a video he posted to his Facebook page on June 21 and later deleted, Mayor Juan Carlos Mezhua told viewers “it is very important these days that we have healthy food and play sports. Making love is a good sport, so everyone has to get into that at least once in a while,” he said with a chuckle before apologizing. “Sorry, I was trying to make a joke, but I think that it did not come out so well.”
And it didn’t come out well at all. The video was captured before he removed it and went viral on social media, where he was criticized for his comments which viewers felt lacked gravity in the face of a deadly pandemic that has infected at least 10 of Mezhua’s constituents.
Veracruz as a whole is marked orange on the federal “stoplight” coronavirus map, meaning that it is at high risk for the virus, but 79 of the state’s 212 municipalities remain at red, the maximum risk level.
Mezhua, whose term ends in 2021, is seeking reelection but has been involved in a string of recent controversies that may make for a difficult campaign.
In May, in another example of comments that did not come out so well, Mezhua praised the work of a government official who resigned after allegedly commenting that a woman who was critical of city government should be bathed in acid.
In June, Mezhua stated he would install parking meters in the downtown area to generate income. As of 2017 only 785 households in the municipality had a vehicle, and the area has just 148 kilometers of paved roads.
Also in June, the mayor announced he would raffle off a dancing Friesian horse he had “borrowed” from a friend. It was worth some 300,000 pesos, around US $13,300, he said.
Mezhua is issuing 2,000 tickets at a cost of 500 pesos each, hoping to raise 1 million pesos in the September 15 draw, from which he would deduct taxes and the value of the horse and use the balance to pave streets.
Zongolica has a population of 45,341, according to the latest census, and 82% of residents live in poverty.
The average worker spends 1,819 pesos a month to buy basic food products, according to government data, thus a resident of Zongolica would have to invest 30% of the monthly budget to purchase a raffle ticket for the horse.