By RICARDO CASTILLO
No sooner had Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) backed down Friday, Jan. 22, on permitting states government and private businesses to purchase anti-covid vaccines, then the 10 governors belonging to the opposition group Federalist Alliance (AF) fired back, complaining that AMLO’s change of mind had come “too late.”
“The authorization to join this effort comes late,” the AF said in a Saturday, Jan. 23, press release, which was quickly followed by another, stating that they would “do everything at hand to keep” their objective.
The AF members had demanded for a month and a half that they be allowed to purchase vaccines from government-authorized suppliers.
Mexico’s Public Health Secretariat (SSA) rejected the idea repeatedly, and still, on Thursday. Jan. 21, anti-covid czar Hugo López Gatell said there were zero chances that would happen.
The came the AMLO announcement that “it’s prohibited to prohibit,” which gave the governors the green light to carry out the purchases, so long as they notified the Public Health Secretariat of the vaccine brand they were acquiring and their intended applications campaign. in order not to duplicate the federal government’s campaign.
The Federalist Alliance members, eight of whom belong to the minority National Action Party (PAN), retorted that AMLO’s move was “deceitful” since there in little or no vaccines currently available to purchase.
However, the governors said that they will join with private investors to do their best to buy and distribute an authorized vaccine.
The early news from suppliers was that they could not have the vaccine until late in 2021, or outright in 2022.
In this ongoing clash, expect the political bickering to continue, or “politics as usual.”
Meanwhile, three governors of AMLO’s National Regeneration Movement (Morena) — Mexico City’s Claudia Sheinbaum, Baja California’s Jaime Bonilla and Puebla’s Miguel Barbosa — announced they would take up the president’s edict and do their best to carry out their own vaccination campaign-.
The Biden-AMLO Chat
The White House issued a statement over the weekend making public that U.S. President Joe Biden and his Mexican counterpart had held a phone conversation on Saturday, Jan. 23.
According to a White House memo, AMLO, who was accompanied on the conference call by Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard and former National Palace Chief of Staff Alfonso Romo.
The call was made from the northern Mexican state of Nuevo León, where AMLO spent the weekend.
Beyond the friendly nature of the call, Biden pledged to fight “the root causes” of mass migration and promote the development of the Central American “Northern Triangle” (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala). Biden pledged a $4 billion investment for the area.
The presidents also committed to fighting the ongoing covid-19 pandemic.
Additionally, AMLO thanked Biden for the immigration reform he had sent to the U.S. Congress his first day in office.
Good Exports Forecast
The Economic Commission for Latin America (Cepal) honored Mexico with its finest “trade reconfiguration” for 2021, given its solid exports industry.
Cepal President Alicia Bárcena said that “Mexico’s export could reach in 2021, a growth of between 15 to 25 percent, as it wields the finest macroeconomic environment in Latin America.”
Bárcena, who is a Mexican who has long supported AMLO, blamed the pandemic for a drop of 13 percent in exports during 2020, causing damage to employment, in particular women, who she said are six out of every 10 employees in the maquiladora in-bond assembly sector.
In general, Latin America’s trade had dropped during the pandemic.
Twitter Censors Accounts
López Obrador cried foul on Twitter last week because its public policy director for Latin America, Hugo Rodríguez Nicolat, cancelled several accounts belonging to political militants of his leftist Morena party.
“The suspension of Twitter accounts of persons sympathetic to the 4-T project (Fourth Transformation, AMLO’s ideological banner) is extremely worrisome,” the president said. “Freedom of expression is the essential pillar of our constitution.”
AMLO has had a bone to pick with National Action Party (PAN) member Rodríguez Nicolat, who ardently supported the candidacy in 2006 of election winner and former Mexican President Felipe Calderón.
Twitter Mexico responded saying “no one person is responsible, by himself, for our policies or compliance actions.”
Twitter said it cancelled three different accounts that were used “for political manipulation” and had posted “deceitful information.”
Formerly, Rodríguez Nicolat allegedly worked for former PAN President Manuel Espino Barrientos, who has since crossed the line and joined AMLO’s party.
Missing Persons Report
Over the past six months, the number of persons who have gone missing in Mexico rose by 13 percent, moving up from 73,218 in July 2020 to 82,825 in the first month of the year, as of Friday, Jan. 22, according to government statistics.
In addition, there are at least 37,000 clandestine graves discovered in the nation, according to figures from the National Search System (SNB), a division of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office.
The latest find came over the weekend, with the discovery by the Mexican Army of 19 charred corpses along the Tamaulipas-Nuevo León state borders, near Camargo, Tamaulipas, an area infamous for the constant clashes between competing drug cartels.
Pollsters all over Mexico are keeping busy with the advent of the 2021 midterm elections next June 6.
The most salient polls claim that governing the National Regeneration Movement is leading in several important states.
There are advances of what is still considered “precandidates,” as the official race kicks off on April 4.
In the Pacific state of Guerrero, controversial precandidate Felix Salgado Macedonio is leading other candidates with more than 50 percent of the vote.
In Michoacán, the precandidates of Morena, the Labor Party (PT) and the Green Party (PVEM) are leading against candidates proposed by the multiple business and political party alliance “Yes for Mexico” by more than a 10-point margin.
In Baja California, the alliance by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), PAN, Party for the Democratic Revolution (PRD), the Social Encounter Party (PES) and the Baja California Party, which jointly back gaming tycoon Jorge Hank Rhon for governor are sorely more than 20 points behind, according to some polls, with Morena precandidate and former Mexicali Mayor Marina del Pilar Avila Olmeda leading with a whopping 42 percent of the vote.
…Jan. 25, 2021
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this article, Pulse News Mexico incorrectly referred to Hugo Rodríguez Nicolat as Hugo Rodríguez Nicolau. Pulse News Mexico regrets the error.