The mayor of a Mexico City borough has defended the residents of one neighborhood he represents after President López Obrador declared that conservatism flourishes there.
Speaking at his regular news conference on Monday, López Obrador asserted that “there is more conservative thought in Colonia Del Valle than in Las Lomas.”
Del Valle is a middle class neighborhood on Mexico City’s south side while Las Lomas is an affluent district in the capital’s west side.
“[Conservative thought] is not exclusive to … [former president Felipe] Calderón … or [former president Vicente] Fox … or any other person. It’s not just them, there are millions who think like that in our country. … It’s a way of thinking and being, it’s conservatism … and they’re not a small group, there are 10 or 20 million of them. Conservative thought has always existed,” López Obrador said.
The president said that people who are conservative – a word he frequently uses to deride his critics – follow a “doctrine of hypocrisy” and are “not necessarily the richest” citizens of Mexico.
There is also conservatism in “sectors of the aspirational middle class,” he said before citing residents of Del Valle as an example.
Although there are millions of conservatives, the majority of Mexicans don’t agree with conservative thought, the president added, declaring that such thought is a synonym of selfishness, individualism, corruption, classism and racism.
In response to the president’s remarks, the mayor of Benito Juárez, the borough in which Del Valle is located, posted a video message to Twitter filmed in the neighborhood in question.
“Mr. President, don’t be mistaken, this neighborhood, like many in Mexico City, is aspirational and [the residents] are aspirational; they aspire to have better urban services, greater security, better work, better schools and quality health care. That’s legitimate aspiration and as a government we’re obliged to provide it,” said Santiago Taboada, who represents the conservative National Action Party.
He said that Del Valle residents enjoy “enviable” levels of human development – a remark supported by a United Nations report that found that Benito Juárez has higher levels of development than Switzerland – and that all Mexicans have the right to enjoy a similar quality of life.
Del Valle residents are “organized, informed and demand from authorities the quality of life to which they are entitled,” Taboada said.
“They’re also very critical of poor government decisions and they’ve always expressed that, [including] at every election. But above all Del Valle is a neighborhood of hard-working people. If getting up early every day to work to pay the rent, school fees or the market makes them conservative then I wish the country had more people like that,” he said.
“Mr. President, what really characterizes Colonia Del Valle is the generosity of its residents and never the selfishness you talk about,” the mayor said, citing humanitarian aid they provided for victims of Hurricane Grace and a powerful earthquake that struck the capital in 2017.
With reports from El Universal