The ELF photo of Mexican president AMLO has probably been circulated for years


Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador claimed to have photographic evidence of a mystical elflike creature that set the internet alight. It also left many wondering: Why was this tweeting?

“Everything is mysterious,” López Obrador wrote on Twitter over the weekend, posting a picture of a veiled creature with glowing eyes perched in a tree that he said was an “aluxe” – spritely, mischievous beings in Mayan culture.

Although the president, commonly known by his initials, AMLO, is known for being a bit eccentric – with wandering, daily hour-long news conferences and a belief that religious amulets could prevent covid – his has a new level of whimsy tweet elf. .

“Even by AMLO’s standards, I think it was received as one of his strangest interventions,” said Pablo Calderón Martínez, a professor of politics and international relations at North East London University.

López Obrador said on Saturday that the photo was taken “three days ago” by an engineer working on his vast and expensive Maya Train project.

But the photo seems to be more than two years old. Like it creates equal image that was posting on Twitter on February 9, 2021, by a man who said the creature, which he described as a witch, had been seen in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo León. A reverse image search revealed that the photo had been in circulation for at least a few days prior; an Indonesian news site published an article two years ago saying the picture was captured on February 4, 2021.

Many were left wondering why the Mexican president felt the need to share it on Twitter. Did he believe it was true? Did he know that the photo was probably more than two years old? Was it a genuine nod to Mayan culture, or were there other motivations?

The answer, so far, is as vague as aluxe.

“The whole episode is strange,” said Calderón Martínez. “Who knows what their true intentions are?”

Among the possibilities, Calderón Martínez said, López Obrador wanted to draw attention to recent controversies in Mexico that are arguably more serious than the scene of grace: A former Mexican official was found guilty in the US District Court last week for taking bribes from Sinaloa. drug cartels, and thousands of Mexicans took to the streets to protest Sunday against a law that threatens to dismantle the country’s national electoral institution, the foundation of Mexico’s fledgling democracy.

“If you throw a dead cat on the table, everyone will be talking about the dead cat on the table, right?” said Calderón Martinez. “So that’s what it does. He starts talking about aluxe, the mystical elf in the forest.”

The elf tweet also drew attention to the Mayan Train project, an ambitious attempt to revive part of southern Mexico, a region long forgotten by other federal leaders, Calderón Martínez said, noting that López Obrador is from southern Mexico.

López Obrador said the photo was taken in the construction zone of the Mayan Train, his $15 billion project to create a tourism-oriented train that will pass through Mayan artifacts on the Yucatan Peninsula in southern Mexico. The second picture in AMLO’s tweet showed what he described as pre-Hispanic sculpture in the area.

Maya treasures were destroyed to build a tourist train

Aluxes, according to the Yucatan Magazine, are “like a Celtic leprechaun” and were thought to be invisible beings who appeared when trying to help – or scare people. As the magazine said, “anyone who has ever gone into the jungles of Yucatan has experienced aluxe. (a-loo-shez) as traveling companions.”

Thought to be depicted in small clay figurines found throughout the region, alux are so intertwined in the region’s history that researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History held a ceremony requesting their permission to conduct archaeological work in the 1990s, according to the Yucatan. Times.

Whatever he had in mind, it was not a mistake, Calderón Martínez said, adding that López Obrador – a populist who has drawn comparisons with former US president Donald Trump – “is very careful in what he says, and what he tweets … he is part of it. of its message and appeal.”

But Benjamin Smith, a professor of Latin American history at the University of Warwick in Britain, said the tweet could add to ongoing rumors of López Obrador, 69, who are selfish or otherwise unfit to rule.

“At the same time, he is also a fun political player,” he said. “You could probably see it as a clever way to show that the Mayan Train is somehow approved – it’s so weird – by the Mayan gods or something.”

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