By RICARDO CASTILLO
Politics and Vaccinations
The inevitable mixture of pandemic vaccinations and Mexico’s electoral year politicking could be foreseen months ago.
But, now that the antigen is trickling into the country in ever-growing numbers, so is the criticism of opposition political parties who claim President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is using the vaccines as a political tool to win the upcoming midterm June 6 elections.
The bottom-line problem is that the administration has monopolized the vaccination campaign and opposition governors want to have the independence to outline distribution courses of action according to their state needs.
With the first real bulk delivery of 400,000 doses of vaccine slated for Tuesday, Jan. 12, AMLO has announced the vaccination campaign has officially begun. And to carry it out, the government has prepared 10,000 “application brigades” that will be spread across the nation.
“Our first objective is to vaccinate 15 million persons who are 60 years and older,” he said, in order to protect the most affected sector of the population by the pandemic.
Political opponents, particularly among the conservative National Action Party (PAN) deputies, are furious.
The PAN leader at the Chamber of Deputies, Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, launched a broadside against the administration on Sunday, Jan. 10.
“At the National Action Party, we’ve said it before and we will say it again,” Romero Hicks said.
“We urgently need three new vaccines: one against the incompetency of this government, another against its arrogance and a third to combat its hatred. These three (emotions) are permeating Mexican society.”
Nonetheless, AMLO has clearly stated that the vaccination distribution is a federal government issue and there is no turning back on that decision.
In the meantime, most of Mexico is on red-light emergency status for people to stay home and avoid contagion.
The López Obrador administration last week opened up a new front against several “autonomous organizations” within the government, “which bring no benefits to the people, but they cost a lot to sustain,” the president said.
“The Transparency Institute (INAI) costs a billion pesos a year, while another useless group that makeup the Telecommunications Institute (Ifetel) costs a billion and a half pesos,” AMLO told reporters during his morning press conference Friday, Jan. 8.
“You will see that when we present the structure that comprises these organizations, that they were all created for those who benefited from (government services) divestments wielded their own government. These were the regulators who decided — and still decide — on what to do.”
Two more autonomous organization under AMLO’s republic austerity guillotine are the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) and the Commission to Regulate Energy (CRE).
“I celebrate the initiation of debate (in Congress) on these organizations, which were created to pretend there would be transparence, that they would fight against corruption, that there was to be no more monopolies,” AMLO said.
“They are coverups; they are pimping organizations. Just the way there are pimp intellectuals who justify everything the previous regime did.”
Needless to say, angered response to this onslaught by the president has been loud, particularly from the minority PAN political party, which said it will not permit the disappearance of autonomous organisms.
Mexico’s economic recovery will be “gradual and prolonged” said the nation’s central bank, Banco de México (Banxico) in a report issued late last month, when the board of directors decided to keep interest rate at 4.25 percent.
Even with covid-19 vaccinations starting to trickle into the country, the majority of Mexicans will not be immunized before the end of the second if 2021, which will negatively affect Mexico’s economic recovery, Banxico said.
Another Vaccine in the Arsenal
A new German vaccine, CureVac, was authorized to begin phase 3 trials in Mexico, Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard announced Friday, Jan. 8.
The vaccine’s trial was approved by the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) and has been 20 years in development.
CureVac director Franz Werner Hass said, if phase 3 trials go well, the lab would be in a position to start supplying the antigen by April.
Delgado Gets Egged
This past week, National Regeneration Movement (Morena) Party President Mario Delgado has been under duress in various Mexican states, but always for the same reason.
In San Luis Potosí, where Morena is a minority, Delgado announced that a woman would be the party’s candidate and three party members registered to contend.
But they were not popular and were literally shoved aside when a fourth contender, Mónica Rangel, decided to abandon the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and join Morena.
Rangel served as public health secretary for the state and earned enormous popularity since she was in charge of the pandemic policies and, according to sources, did not do a bad job.
Her problem is that she just obtained her residency in the state and her three contenders do not want her in the poll that will decide the candidacy.
Also, Delgado had to contend with a bunch of Mexican machos, who disagreed that the choice of candidate should be by gender.
Given dissidence, the poll was postponed until Jan. 16.
Another front where Delgado had problems recently is the Pacific Mexican state of Colima.
On Friday, Jan. 8, he and would-be candidate Indira Vizcaíno held a meeting with party militants at the Colima State Electoral Institute, where they were to register her candidacy.
The meeting was not amiable because a contending candidate, Claudia Yáñez, protested the apparent victory Vizcaíno had at the poll.
On their way out of the institute, Vizcaíno, who left first, was met by a screaming mob of Yañez supporters who protested her candidacy.
Two minutes later, Delgado left the Institute, this time under a deluge of eggs and shouts against him claiming, “Mario, you are a traitor.”
Who said all was milk and honey within Morena?
…Jan. 11, 2021