Being a lawmaker in Mexico in a new age of austerity means giving up some perks that in times past were taken for granted.
No longer are cups of gourmet coffee and delicious sandwiches available free of charge in the Senate cafe, as they were when the upper house of Congress was located in the historic center of Mexico City, nor are there attendants known as edecanes or waiters at the ready to respond to lawmakers’ every whim.
In Mexico’s 64th federal legislature it’s back to basics: water, tea and coffee and whoever’s thirsty can serve themselves.
To overcome the newfound frugality, Senate president Martí Batres Guadarrama has come up with a suggestion that, while hardly groundbreaking, could quite likely seem novel to self-important lawmakers of yesteryear — or this year.
The idea: a Tupperware transformation, or for a new generation of tech-savvy politicians, a #TupperChallenge.
That is — shock horror! — bring your own lunch in a plastic container.
Batres himself has led by example, showing up for work with his red lunchbox tucked under his arm.
But while it’s still early days in the life of the new Congress, the idea hasn’t proven to be overly popular, except among lawmakers with special dietary requirements or those intent on maintaining a svelte figure.
In a recent sitting day in the Senate, employees of some senators were seen rushing into the chamber to deliver meals to their bosses from chain restaurants such as VIPS and Los Bisquets Obregón. The Senate doesn’t pause for lunch.
For others, such as former presidential candidate and National Action Party (PAN) Senator Josefina Vazquéz Mota, bringing a Tupperware container to work is nothing new.
For the past 12 years, she has packed a lunch of chicken, vegetables and jicama and swears that she never bores of eating the same thing every day or goes hungry.
However, getting all of her colleagues to take on the #TupperChallenge appears at this stage to be very near a mission impossible.
Having to ensure hunger pangs during long Senate proceedings could, however, bring about a change of heart.
The food and beverage-related austerity measures in the Senate were proposed and implemented by lawmakers of the soon-to-be ruling Morena party, which yesterday also presented an austerity bill in the lower house.
Source: El Universal (sp)