Excepts for a NYT article:
"Mexican postal officials on Tuesday unveiled the series of five stamps, a total of 750,000 stamps, depicting a character known as Memín Pinguín, a broadly drawn comic figure with thick lips, big eyes and protruding ears.
"The new stamps immediately drew sharp criticism from civil rights leaders in the United States, who said they demeaned black people around the world and called on Mr. Fox to withdraw them. "Comedy masks tragedy," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said at a meeting of civil rights leaders in Little Rock, Ark. "In this instance, it's comedy with a demeaning punch line and we would hope that President Fox will take it off the market."
"Later on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Mexican ambassador to the United States suggested that civil rights leaders in the United States were overreacting. "Memín Pinguín is a character like Speedy González, created in the 1940's," the spokesman, Rafael Laveaga, said in a statement. "Just as Speedy González has never been interpreted in a racial manner by the people in Mexico, because he is a cartoon character, I am certain that this commemorative postage stamp is not intended to be interpreted on a racial basis in Mexico or anywhere else."
"Carlos Caballero, the assistant marketing director for the Mexican Postal Service, said the cartoon character embodied many good values and was a beloved part of Mexican culture, not a racist caricature.
"Sergio Peñalosa, a civil rights leader in Mexico's small community of black residents on the Pacific coast, said the stamps appeared to be a political mistake. "One would hope the Mexican government would be a little more careful and avoid continually opening wounds," he told The Associated Press."
The White House critisized the post stamps as "improper" and with "no place in today's world", according to Stephen Hadley, US National Security adviser. A White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said that "racial stereotyypes are offensive, regardless of their origin".
Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez replied: "It is a total lack of knowledge about our culture and a lack of respect".
A recent poll shows that 96% of Mexicans support the postal stamp, while 4% consider it racist.
Memín Pingüin was a weekly comic book, very popular in the mid and late 60s (over 1.5 million copies sold every week) who told the stories of a grade school black child, Memín -who was the hero of the story-, and his good classmates and friends: Carlangas -the son of an unwed mother-, Ernestillo -the son of recent immigrants from the countryside- and Ricardito -the son of a rich family.
The story (which I avidly read as a child and young teenager) stressed the values of friendship, solidarity and inclusiveness.