About the tlayudas

The inauguration of the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) ended in a culinary discussion, in the midst of the increasingly marked polarization of the country. Its functionality and operation, successes and deficiencies, costs and social and economic implications for the country were in second place.

As has been happening with different issues on the public agenda, a matter of great scope and importance ended up being minimized to the discussion of some tlayudas. The typical Oaxacan dish monopolized the discussion when a woman settled down to sell them at the inauguration of the airport in the State of Mexico.

In a white shirt and covered with a pair of aprons, she is seen in a video in a hurry attending to a line of diners. From a bucket on the floor she scoops up fried beans to spread on large toasts, then she ladles them with salsa and a dab of grated cheese on top of it. Before the eyes of elements of the National Guard, she tells them: “I know they scold you, but give me a chance”, and she continues preparing one after another.

Red or green sauce?

The conversation has revolved around those who defend and those who criticize that there was street vending in the place; between those who savor the tlayudas and those who despise the image. At that level we are taking the decisions in the country, while in the background the current Mexico City International Airport is totally overwhelmed.

And in the first week of AIFA operations, little or nothing has been said about solving the problem of airport saturation, the discussion remained superficial: between detractors and supporters of the 4T. President Andrés Manuel López even raised the issue in a superfluous and polarizing way at the traditional morning press conferences.

“What happens to our adversaries is that their world is the one above, the one in the pyramid, and they think that this is Mexico. That is why a lady selling tlayudas in an airport sees it as something, yes, extraordinary, as something improper,” said the president, “it is that they feel superior, they give themselves airs of superiority, it is a kind of oligarchy or a sector that they think they’re blue blooded, that’s what they think, that they’re superior. They really don’t know what tlayudas are.”

In addition to qualifying the critics as fifis, the President even defended the dish as something nutritious. But it has nothing to do with whether someone likes tlayudas or not, for God’s sake! Not even if there is anyone who is in favor or against the installation of stalls of that or of chilaquiles or tamale lunches… that is not the issue. At least, it shouldn’t be in a country that is increasingly socially fragmented.

There are those who say that they were golden Toluqueñas and not Tlayudas. Whatever it was, it looked delicious and I doubt that in the history of our country such a defense of a Mexican dish was seen and its sale turned into a matter of social classes and ideologies.

The fact of demanding a first class airport should not at any time conflict with or compete with a matter of equality or the search to improve the conditions of less favored people, much less discrimination. Because it seems that if today you want a better airport in the country, one at the height and level of those that already exist in other countries, then you are qualified as neoliberal and fifi. But the fact of talking about social vindication, defending people in poverty or prioritizing equity over efficiency should not compete with economic development. It is a sterile Manichaean discussion: neither those who support the AIFA project want a weak or underdeveloped Mexico, nor do those who reject it hate the “people”. But there we are stuck. And if you support the recently inaugurated AIFA, then, you are a chairo, a leftist.

Are there not voices that resonate to raise the level of discussion? There are many issues on the current public agenda that should receive at least the same attention that a tlayuda post is given today. Going to the opposite poles has made us not see what is between both extremes: violence; insecurity in cities and highways; shootings and uprisings of people whom his family will surely spend the rest of his life looking for; impunity; violated women… There is much more than the tlayudas.


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