Friday, December 1, 2023

Criticism of government appears to have cost environment minister his job

Víctor Manuel Toledo is set to be replaced as federal environment minister less than a month after an audio recording was leaked in which he made highly critical remarks about the government.

Some media reports claim that Toledo is stepping down due to health reasons but officials close to President López Obrador told the newspaper El Universal that his departure is linked to the leaked recording in which he declared that the government was full of “brutal contradictions” and didn’t have clear objectives.

Toledo also said that the environmental views of some cabinet ministers and the president were not consistent with those of the ministry he headed.

The environment minister reportedly made an offer to resign on August 6 – the day after the recording went viral – and López Obrador has now apparently accepted it.

Welfare Minister María Luisa Albores will replace Toledo, according to government sources.

Toledo assumed the environment minister role in May 2019 after Josefa González-Blanco Ortiz-Mena resigned after delaying the departure of a commercial airline flight.

Toledo sparked controversy just two days after his appointment when he claimed that “parasitic and predatory neoliberals” are responsible for global warming.

In the leaked recording, Toledo says that there are “power struggles” within the federal cabinet and takes aim at López Obrador’s chief of staff, Alfonso Romo, charging that he has blocked environmental projects and stood in the way of a transition to clean energy.

“Alfonso Romo has acquired enormous … power within the government, given to him by the president,” he said.

The 74-year-old National Autonomous University-trained biologist was also critical of Agriculture Minister Víctor Villalobos, who he said was opposed to agroecology and the move to ban the herbicide glyphosate.

In addition, Toledo spoke out against a government plan to allow a United States company to establish a massive dairy farm in Campeche and Tabasco, which ultimately wasn’t approved, and efforts by the Interior Ministry to garner support within the López Obrador administration for Constellation Brands’ US $1.4-billion brewery project in Mexicali, Baja California, which was axed in March.

The environment minister becomes the latest of several high-ranking officials to depart the López Obrador government.

Among those who have left are former finance minister Carlos Urzúa and former communications and transportation minister Javier Jiménez Espriú. Both men, like Toledo, disagreed with some government decisions.

According to the newspaper La Jornada, Javier May, who currently heads up the government’s tree-planting employment program, is expected to replace Albores as welfare minister when she takes up the environment minister role.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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