In January, a journalist asked President López Obrador to consider spending government advertising funds with online-only publications such as the Mexican military blog she publishes.
On Tuesday, María Isabel Arvide Limón was named as Mexico’s new consul in Istanbul, Turkey, triggering a barrage of criticism because she has no diplomatic experience.
Exactly how Arvide went from asking the government for advertising money to being appointed by the president to an overseas consul role is unclear, but some people claim she was given the job because she is close to López Obrador.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), which announced her appointment, noted that Arvide has more than 40 years’ experience as a journalist, columnist, analyst and media commentator on political and international issues.
According to the newspaper Reforma, the SRE began the paperwork to appoint Arvide to the diplomatic posting in Turkey’s most populous city the very same month that she asked the government to direct some cash to her military information and army blog.
On January 9, Arvide stood up at the president’s regular news conference and rebuked the federal government for spending advertising money with media outlets that are critical of it. She also questioned why the government was not advertising in online publications.
“Seventy percent of people get information from the internet but who receives official advertising [money] is a weekly magazine called Proceso that you said nobody reads,” Arvide told López Obrador.
“Those of us who have a website, who are on social media and here [at the National Palace] from dawn [to attend the president’s weekday news conference] don’t receive a cent,” she said.
Arvide also asked López Obrador for financial assistance at another press conference, Reforma reported, telling the president that she received no public funds during the administration of his predecessor.
Now, however, she will be on the government payroll while living abroad at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.
News of her appointment to the consul role triggered extensive criticism on social media.
“I want the Foreign Affairs Ministry or [Foreign Affairs Minister] Marcelo Ebrard to explain how a ‘journalist’ such as Isabel Arvide can obtain a consul position if she doesn’t have any diplomatic experience,” Twitter use Dafne Peña tweeted to her 26,000 followers.