President López Obrador on Tuesday accused a well-known journalist of racism and classism after she reported on the sale of tlayudas at the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA), which opened for business on Monday.
Tlayudas are originally a regional food of Oaxaca made with tortillas, but they are sold in other parts of Mexico as well.
At his morning news conference, López Obrador presented a Twitter post by television and radio presenter Azucena Uresti in which she published a video of a woman selling Mexico City-style tlayudas – large crunchy tortillas covered with toppings including beans, nopales and cheese – inside the army-built AIFA terminal on its opening day.
“A woman entered the arrivals hall of the AIFA and started to sell tlayudas to passengers in the terminal. Due to the lack of businesses selling food, long lines formed,” Uresti tweeted in a post read out by the president.
“In other words, a tlayuda isn’t food,” AMLO satirized. “That’s it. But it’s part of the ignorance of the cultural greatness of Mexico and feeling superior to others. That’s racism and classism,” he said.
Una señora se filtró a sala de llegadas del AIFA y comenzó a vender tlayudas a los pasajeros de la terminal. Debido a la falta de comercios que vendan alimentos, se formaron largas filas
— Azucena Uresti (@azucenau) March 21, 2022
The tweet that put a CDMX tlayuda vendor in the middle of a class war of words.
Rather than reporting on the gastronomic offerings at the new airport – which Uresti also did do during a broader report on the opening of the new airport that was broadcast on Milenio TV – López Obrador said, the journalist “should be saying, ‘It was a historic day. A great airport was inaugurated.’”
She should have included the opinion of billionaire businessman and civil engineer Carlos Slim, who said the airport was “well-built,” he added.
AMLO claimed that Uresti – whom he criticized earlier this month for her reporting on the International Women’s Day march – and some other journalists who reported on the sale of tlayudas at the airport did so with “disdain.”
“How little they know Mexico, the cultures of our country. … What do they want? … What are tortas called in the United States? Hamburgers,” he quipped. “It’s a lot of racism, classism and anger, isn’t it?”
López Obrador, who frequently makes verbal attacks on journalists, and the media more broadly, also said that he shared the opinion of leftist cartoonist José Hernández, who retweeted Uresti’s tlayuda post with the comment: “Unbelievable how the inauguration of the AIFA uncovered and exacerbated the most miserable classism.”
Uresti responded to the president with another Twitter post, asking him to identify which part of her previous tweet made her guilty of classism.
“I reported what was happening without qualifiers or judgment. By the way, Mr. President, I’m still waiting for the proof of everything you’ve accused me of,” she added.
López Obrador wasn’t the only high-ranking politician to make an accusation of discrimination with regard to commentary on the presence of informal vendors at the new airport on Monday, among whom were people selling AIFA and AMLO-related souvenirs.
Asked about criticism of their presence on Tuesday, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, a close ally of the president, responded that it was “incredible,” given the festive mood at the opening.
“Of course the airport has to comply with regulations, but yesterday was a party day, and a lot of people showed up. From my perspective, it’s really a very discriminatory vision, and, obviously, the airport will function like any other airport. … But yesterday was a day of celebration, and that annoyed them [critics of the federal government] a lot,” she said.
The mayor also responded to criticism on social media of Mexicans who went to the airport on Monday to celebrate the opening of the public infrastructure project and show their support for the government and López Obrador, who chose to build the approximately US $4 billion AIFA after canceling the previous government’s larger, more expensive airport project — which he claimed was riddled with corruption.
Sheinbaum said that those of the opinion that people shouldn’t have gone to the airport have extremely “elitist” and “discriminatory” views. “It really is incredible,” she added.
With reports from El Universal