A Lesson for Politicians: Mexican Minister delays plane – Resigns

Mexican minister resigns after causing flight to be delayed

Josefa González Blanco asked Aeroméxico executive to ground plane to wait for her

Mexico’s environment minister has been forced to resign after causing a flight she was about to miss to be delayed by 38 minutes, in direct contravention of her president’s populist promises to rule for the people.

According to Mexico’s leftwing president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the minister then asked an executive from the country’s flagship carrier – with whom she was reportedly friends – to ground the flight while she scrambled to arrive.       

Josefa González Blanco was due to fly from Mexico City to Mexicali, on the US border, last Friday (May 24, 2019) but was held up for reasons that remain unclear.

“They had to wait for her,” López Obrador said on Saturday as he described what he called a “very regrettable situation”.

One passenger documented the delay on Twitter, claiming Aeroméxico flight 198 was poised to take off when the pilot announced it had to return after a “presidenial order” to collect a tardy passenger. After González Blanco boarded, the onlooker took a photograph of the environment minister, using it to publicly name and shame her.

As word of her infraction spread, González Blanco published a grovelling resignation letter in which she apologised for contravening efforts to purify Mexican public life.“There is no justification,” González Blanco wrote. “Mexico’s true transformation requires absolute consistency with the values of fairness and justice.”

In a subsequent tweet, the minister absolved López Obrador of responsibility for the holdup: “I’m the only one to blame … The presidency never intervened.”

López Obrador, or Amlo as he is best known, took office last December vowing to spearhead a historic transformation of Mexican society and to govern for poor people.

Central to that pledge is stripping Mexican politicians and civil servants of their privileges, including forcing them to take commercial flights instead of private jets or helicopters. “We cannot have a rich government and a poor people,” Amlo, who even put the presidential plane up for sale on the eve of his inauguration, said last year.

Critics say Amlo is Mexico’s “tropical Messiah”, a Hugo Chávez-style populist whose vows to rule for the people are more spin than reality.

On Saturday, López Obrador said he accepted his minister’s resignation because such behaviour was incompatible with his bid to transform Mexico. “We do not have the right to fail – at anything,” he told supporters. “We will never fail the people.”

The El Universal broadsheet claimed budget cuts might also have played a role in González Blanco’s downfall but said Amlo’s administration hoped the episode would send a message to cosseted politicians: zero tolerance for abuse of power.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s