Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador shared an image on social media showing an alleged "aluxe," a mythological being from the Mayan culture similar to elves, during the construction of the Mayan Train.
The President's belief in the existence of these fantasy creatures, coupled with the criticism that AMLO's description of the photo is false (since the snapshot dates from 2021) provoked a lot of reactions on social media .
During the construction of the Mayan Train, a long-distance rail transport that will connect various areas of Southeast Mexico, approximately "35,000 immovable properties, 1,651 movable elements, 463 human bones, 1,114 natural features associated with archaeological contexts, 591 complete vessels and 739,274 ceramic fragments have been found," according to Diego Prieto, general director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).
AMLO believes that "everything is mystical"
Among the findings produced during the construction of the trains. AMLO decided to pay special attention to one photograph, captured at night and with very little clarity, where he sees a shadow on a tree, which he believes to be an aluxe. The photo was allegedly taken by an engineer at the construction site.
López Obrador concluded his message with the phrase "everything is mystical":
I share with you two photos from our supervision of the Tren Maya construction site: one, taken by an engineer three days ago, apparently of an aluxe; the other, by Diego Prieto of a splendid pre-Hispanic sculpture in Ek Balam. Everything is mystical.
Les comparto dos fotos de nuestra supervisión a las obras del Tren Maya: una, tomada por un ingeniero hace tres días, al parecer de un aluxe; otra, de Diego Prieto de una espléndida escultura prehispánica en Ek Balam. Todo es místico. pic.twitter.com/Tr5OP2EqmU
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) February 25, 2023
According to Mexican popular tradition, the 'aluxes' or 'aluches' are invisible creatures, which can only be seen under certain circumstances. They can take a physical form similar to that of the Mayans in their traditional clothing, but smaller. They steal shiny objects like candy or tobacco and play pranks on people who do not leave them offerings.
A fake photo and online criticism
On social media, more than 4.7 million users saw the photo on the Mexican president's account, and more than 5,600 people retweeted his post.
Some users reminded AMLO that the image of the supposed elf has been seen before in Mexico and in other countries, such as Indonesia and Thailand. Several comments questioned his mental health and others pointed out that the supposed elf may actually be a raccoon.
There is previous evidence published by online news sources and on social media that the same photograph had already been released in 2021, with various explanations as to what creatures it could be.
— INFO7 (@info7mty) February 10, 2021
— Nelson Valdez (@nelvaldez) February 10, 2021
Novelist and journalist Mauricio Schwarz replied to President López Obrador: "Yes, Andrés, three days ago an engineer took a picture that he has been making the rounds in Nuevo León since February 2021 and in Thailand since December of that year … You are very sad, very sad... and the country is even sadder.... If you believe it, you are a fool... if you know you are lying, you are malicious".
Sí, Andrés, un ingeniero hace tres días tomó una foto que hace las rondas en Nuevo León desde febrero de 2021 y en Tailandia desde diciembre de ese año.
Das pena, mucha pena... y el país más... Si te lo crees, eres tonto... si sabes que mientes, eres malévolo... pic.twitter.com/dqyR9Ywe3z
— Mauricio Schwarz🇺🇦 izquierda transgénica nuclear (@elnocturno) February 25, 2023
Journalist Ricardo Aleman also questioned the information released by AMLO. He tweeted, “Confirmed. The president believes everything that he hears without questioning anything. The photo of his “aluxe” in the Tren Maya construction is the same one from 2021 that was said to be a witch in Nuevo León.”
Confirmado. El presidente cree todo lo que le dicen sus allegados sin cuestionar nada. La foto de su "Aluxe" en las obras del Tren Maya es la misma que en 2021 decían que era una bruja en Nuevo León.https://t.co/CfqqDI9Ips
— Ricardo Alemán (@RicardoAlemanMx) February 26, 2023