Many Mexicans believed the election of a leftist president in 2018 would finally temper the arrogance of Mexico’s overprivileged business elite.
The recent behavior of Ricardo Salinas Pliego, Mexico’s second richest businessman, during the coronavirus epidemic suggests otherwise
Salinas’ business empire is worth more than $US13 billion and encompasses retail, banking, broadcasting, internet and other businesses. His flagship enterprises are the Azteca television network (Mexico’ second largest), Banco Azteca and the Elektra department store chain, which, contrary to government directives, he has decided to keep open during the health contingency, even though such businesses are considered “non-essential.”
Salinas made no secret of his disdain for shutting down the nation’s economy. He was heavily criticized for keeping his Elektra stores open and potentially endangering the health of more than 10,000 workers, as well as for comments that they were more likely to die of hunger than coronavirus.
Criticism of his stance deepened after Televisión Azteca prime time news anchor Javier Alatorre backed his views, calling the nightly press briefings of Dr. Hugo López-Gatell, the federal government’s deputy health minister and coronavirus spokesperson, “irrelevant” and advising Mexicans to ignore his instructions.