Environment minister replaced after she delays flight

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Manuel Velasco is President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s new environment minister. Photo: File

The former governor of Chiapas is stepping in as the new environment minister after his predecessor caused an uproar at an airport.

Josefa Gonzalez Blanco Ortiz Mena resigned on Saturday after she was caught forcing Aeromexico to delay a flight for 38 minutes to accommodate her schedule.

The senior cabinet minister is the second top official to depart from the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in less than a week.

Lopez Obrador said during a speech on Saturday he had accepted her resignation.

Angry passengers reported the delay Friday on social media.

“There is no justification. The true transformation of Mexico requires total alignment with the values of equity and justice,” Gonzalez Blanco said. “Nobody should have privileges, and the benefits of one, even in carrying out one’s duties, cannot be above the well-being of the majority.”

In his afternoon remarks, the president said he had spoken with Gonzalez Blanco that morning, telling her to attend to the matter of the flight delay, adding that she apologized.

When he assumed the presidency, in December 2018, AMLO sold the presidential airplane so that he and his ministers would travel on commercial flights, as a measure of austerity.

Her replacement, Manuel Velasco Coello, 39, was governor of Chiapas from 2012 to 2018. He was the first Ecological Green Party (PVEM) politician to become a governor.

Velasco was previously state deputy, federal deputy and senator, the youngest person to ever hold each office.

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