Image credits: Aimee Rivers
News Article

Victor Toledo Definitely Leaving SEMARNAT

By Jan Hogewoning | Wed, 09/02/2020 - 12:57

Only a few hours after President Lopez Obrador’s second State of the Nation address (Informe de Gobierno) on Tuesday morning, it  emerged that Víctor Toledo was definitely departing from his seat as head of Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). The move is the culmination of a conflict that has been boiling for weeks. It all started with the leaking of an audio recording on Aug. 5, in which Víctor Toledo was heard criticizing the government’s Fourth Transformation agenda. In the audio recording, which was spread widely through social media, Toledo stated that Lopez Obrador’s administration is full of contradictions and power struggles, even within his own cabinet.

Soon after the leaked recording emerged, Toledo offered his own resignation to the president. At the time, the president did not accept and stated that the affair was a sign that there was a diversity of opinion in his cabinet and that not everyone followed one voice. Now, the mood seems to have shifted and Toledo is definitely on his way out. Yesterday, a primary reason the president provided was that Toledo has poor health. A biologist by training, Toledo took on the reigns of SEMARNAT in May 2019 after the departure of Josefa González. According to sources within the president’s office, Milenio writes, the candidate that is most likely to succeed Víctor Toledo is María Luisa Albores, the current head of the Ministry of Well-Being.

One of the criticisms from Toledo was directed specifically toward Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Víctor Villalobos and his intention to withdraw the government’s plan to investigate the effects of the herbicide glyphosate. During 2019 and 2020, SEMARNAT has repeatedly denied imports of the herbicide from the US, pointing to its detrimental effects on human health and the environment. SEMARNAT even announced its intention to fully ban its use in Mexico by 2024. This fits with its vision to increase agro-ecological methods of agriculture in Mexico. Last month, the Victor Villalobos was accused by the Social Movement for Land (MST) of opposing the ban and supporting herbicide imports, Mexico Business News reported on Aug. 13. This pointed to a clear contradiction in policy direction within the government.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Milenio, Mexico Business News
Photo by:   Aimee Rivers
Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst