Mexico′s environment minister resigns over flight delay | News | DW | 26.05.2019
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Mexico's environment minister resigns over flight delay

Mexico's environment minister has resigned after ordering a flight to delay its departure by 40 minutes, saying no one should have special privileges. She is the second top official to step down in less than a week.

Mexico's minister of environment and natural resources abruptly resigned on Saturday after causing a commercial airline flight to be delayed by 40 minutes.

Josefa Gonzalez-Blanco offered her resignation to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador after it became known that on Friday she had requested that an Aeromexico flight delay its departure.

Read more: In Mexico, ecotourism helps traditional agriculture survive 

"There is no justification," Gonzalez-Blanco said in a letter. "The true transformation of Mexico requires a total congruence with the values of equity and justice. No one should have privileges, and one's benefit, even if it is to fulfill one's functions, should not be put above the welfare of the majority."

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The flight delay generated criticism from other passengers and the media after it was reported that the plane was delayed by "presidential order."

Read more: Unique nature insurance policy aims to preserve Mexico's Great Mayan Reef 

"There was no presidential order to delay the departure of the plane. I am the only one responsible for what happened, the presidency never intervened," Gonzalez-Blanco said in a tweet.

Second top official this week

Lopez Obrador, who took office on December 1 vowing to root out corruption, has accepted the resignation.

"We cannot be tolerant of acts of arrogance," El Pais newspaper reported him as saying during a political tour of San Luis Potosi. "We have to act with rectitude: zero corruption, zero influence, zero nepotism, none of those scourges in politics."

Lopez Obrador came to power with the promise that all high-ranking officials, including himself, would travel on commercial flights and not on official planes as part of his austerity package; he said he would do away with "privileges of the past."

Gonzalez-Blanco is the second top official in the new government to step down this week, after that of German Martinez Cazares, head of the Mexican Social Security Institute. Martinez Cazares resigned over health spending cuts.

cw/cmk (AP, Reuters)

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