“He is an honest person, a first-rate professional, but he is in poor health; moreover, public activity and public service produce stress,” said the president of Víctor Manuel Toledo.
“Before I thought that stress was a delicacy of the petty bourgeoisie, but no, it does exist, and not all of us are made to withstand pressure,” López Obrador said, praising Toledo as a person “of the first order, I would say the most cultured ecologist-environmentalists in the country.”
The president said that health concerns had long weighed on Toledo who had presented his resignation before a recording surfaced last month in which he criticized the López Obrador administration.
Welfare Minister María Luisa Albores will serve in Toledo’s stead, and Deputy Welfare Minister Javier May will assume her role, the president said.
Toledo, who is 74, had suffered two heart attacks before he was named minister of the environment in May 2019.
In his final act as minister, Toledo announced yesterday that López Obrador will publish a decree to establish the gradual prohibition of glyphosate and 80 other chemical agents as well as the banning of genetically modified corn.
“I believe this will mark a watershed in the environmental history of the country,” Toledo said.
The glyphosate ban has been a hard-fought victory for Toledo and put him at odds with the Ministry of Agriculture. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the Monsanto product Roundup and studies have showm it to be a carcinogen which is also harmful to pollinators.
Rumors of Toledo’s imminent departure were rampant in recent weeks, and sources close to the president said his resignation was linked to a recording dating back to March in which Toledo said the government was full of “brutal contradictions,” lacked clear objectives, and that the environmental views of some cabinet ministers and the president were inconsistent with those of the ministry he headed.
Toledo had also criticized the environmental impact of the Mayan Train, one of López Obrador’s legacy projects.
Toledo said he would return to academia and his role as a researcher in the field of political ecology at the National Autonomous University (UNAM). López Obrador said he will continue to consult Toledo on environmental matters.