By: Vivek J
July 19 2023
Mexican MP Antonio Garcia Conejo stripped in the parliament protesting the energy bill in 2013, not against poverty and unemployment.
An image is being widely shared by Indian social media users showing a Mexican lawmaker stripping his clothes. According to the caption of these posts, the lawmaker was protesting poverty, unemployment, and dire living conditions of people in Mexico. These posts also noted that while “lawmakers in foreign countries are protesting and fighting for the people that elected them, what are Indian lawmakers doing?”
When translated to English, one such post in Kannada read, “During a debate in Mexico's parliament, a member of parliament takes off all his clothes and speaks in parliament. Then the president asks, are you not ashamed? To this, the lawmaker replies…Are you ashamed when you see me naked? Aren't you ashamed to see the country's ailing economy, unemployment, giving freebies and corrupting people, corrupt politicians, and corrupt officials looting this country and pushing people into slavery?" Such posts can be found on Facebook and Twitter (Archives can be seen here and here).
However, the incident that led to the Mexican lawmaker stripping in parliament has been misrepresented in these posts.
We conducted a simple keyword search looking for an incident of a Mexican lawmaker stripping off his clothes in the parliament. This led us to multiple news reports dating back to 2013. One such report by the BBC, dated December 13, 2013, had a headline "Mexican MP strips off in protest at energy decision." The report also identified the member of parliament (MP) as Antonio Garcia Conejo and noted that he was protesting the new energy bill that was passed by the Mexican parliament.
The BBC report also contained a video of the MP where a voice-over in the background noted that by approving this legislation, the Mexican government ended the state’s seventy-five-year-old monopoly over the country’s oil resources. It also noted that the new bill allowed foreign oil companies to drill oil in Mexico.
On further looking for an extended version of the video, we found a seventeen-minute-long video uploaded on the official YouTube channel of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) on December 12, 2013. The video titled “Dip. Antonio García (PRD) - Energy Reform (Reserves)” showed that Garcia was from Mexico’s Party of the Democratic Revolution from the Mexican state of Michoacán.
It is clear that the images used in the recent social media posts by Indian users are from this video. Unlike what was claimed in the social media posts, Garcia was protesting against the energy bill, and his image was being used in the wrong context.
Similar posts have appeared in various Indian languages over the years, and independent fact-checkers have debunked such claims since 2021.
Conejo stripped off his clothes protesting Mexico’s energy bill allowing foreign companies to drill oil in the country. This incident happened in December 2013. Stills from this incident are being shared by Indian social media users with a different context. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.