CONTROVERSIAL MEXICAN STAMPS
Juan Barreto  /  AFP - Getty Images
This image shows the series of stamps released by Mexico's postal service, paying homage to a 1940s cartoon character called Mimin Pinguin.
updated 7/1/2005 1:57:59 PM ET 2005-07-01T17:57:59

President Vicente Fox said Friday that U.S. activists who have called a new series of Mexican postage stamps racist do not understand the issue and should read the comic book on which the stamps are based.

“They don’t have information, frankly,” Fox said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.

U.S. black activists and the White House have criticized the stamps featuring Memin Pinguin, a black-faced image of a child that has been condemned as racist.

“All Mexico loves the character,” Fox said, adding that he himself was fond of it.

He said White House spokesman Scott McClellan should have had more information before objecting to the stamps and calling them an example of racial stereotyping.

U.S. activists — including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and leaders of other civil rights and Latino organizations — also have criticized the stamps and urged that they be withdrawn.

Fox’s spokesman, Ruben Aguilar, said the government “emphatically rejects these complaints, which are the products of lack of knowledge or people who want publicity.”

He did not name those to whom he referred.

“By no means is Mexico considering the possibility” of withdrawing the stamps, Aguilar said, accusing critics of being “people who want to take advantage of this ... to seek publicity within American society.”

The stamps were being offered on eBay at prices topping $200 for a full sheet. Hundreds of people lined up at Mexico City’s main post office to buy them for 6.50 pesos — about 60 U.S. cents — when they went on sale Friday.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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