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Environment Minister Toledo and López Obrador. Environment Minister Toledo and López Obrador.

Environment chief cites ‘brutal contradictions’ in AMLO government

Minister expresses his dissatisfaction in audio recording

Environment Minister Víctor Manuel Toledo has rebuked the federal government of which he is part, asserting that it is full of “brutal contradictions.”

In an audio recording of a meeting with other federal cabinet members, Toledo openly expresses his dissatisfaction with the government and some of its members.

In the recording, which circulated on social media on Wednesday, the minister refers to things he has observed during 10 months in his role. He became environment minister in May 2019 so the audio would have been recorded in March 2020.

Toledo is heard saying that the government led by President López Obrador – the so-called Fourth Transformation, or 4T – doesn’t have clear objectives.

“This government is a government of brutal contradictions,” Toledo said, asserting that his view is supported by the “power struggles” he has observed within the president’s cabinet.

He took aim at López Obrador’s chief of staff, 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,” Toledo said.

The minister also said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Sader), led by Víctor Villalobos, is opposed to agroecology, which his ministry supports.

He said that Sader, as well as the U.S. government and 20 foreign embassies in Mexico, opposed the Environment Ministry’s move to ban glyphosate – the active ingredient in the Monsanto herbicide Roundup, whose effect on human health is hotly contested.

“We’re not going to be able to freely transition to agroecology because the president, the Agriculture Ministry and the head of the president’s office [Romo] are against all this,” Toledo said.

He also said that the president – in a move that appears at odds with his normally nationalistic tendencies – convened a cabinet meeting to promote a project in which a U.S. company would purchase or rent ejidos, or community land, in Campeche and Tabasco to establish a massive dairy farm.

“Fortunately, it wasn’t achieved,” Toledo said.

He also said that Romo invited him to a breakfast with the owner of Grupo México, the country’s largest mining company, to try to convince him to make the Environment Ministry “more accessible” to mining firms.

In addition, the minister said there were differences in opinion within the government about whether a brewery being built by United States company Constellation Brands in Mexicali, Baja California, should be allowed to go ahead.

He said the Interior Ministry was in favor of the project and that a deputy interior minister convened a meeting to try to convince officials of five other ministries to support it.

The US $1.4 billion brewery project was ultimately axed in March after three-quarters of citizens who participated in a public consultation opposed it.

Toledo also said he had differences with Energy Minister Rocío Nahle although he didn’t specify what they were. The clash could be related to renewable energy companies because the Energy Ministry has taken steps this year to limit their future expansion.

“Our vision,” Toledo told his fellow, apparently like-minded cabinet members, “is not in the rest of the cabinet at all and I’m afraid that it’s not in the president’s head either, … it has to be said.”

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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