Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: presidencia.gob.mx

By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS

While the covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc both on the country’s mostly unprotected population’s health and its severely floundering economy, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is busy this week presenting grandioso shows of pomp and circumstance to commemorate the nation’s 200th independence anniversary.

And while nearly 2 million Mexicans have been officially diagnosed with the virus (although the unofficial figures place that number at at least twice as many) and nearly 175,000 have died from it, AMLO bullheadedly refuses to listen to the sage medical advise of even his own team of experts as to how best to proceed with vaccination distribution.

So instead of focusing his vaccination campaign in the most direly affected regions of the country — mainly, the heavily congregated metropoles, such as Mexico City (the current epiceter of infections), Monterrery and Guadalajara — the intractable Mr. AMLO will on Monday, Feb. 15, launch his national vaccination program for the elderly in 330 of the least critical regions of the country, specifically, the sparcely populated, isolated, rural areas where contagion is hardly a problem.

This is just one more blatant example of López Obrador’s pervasive incompetency, which has already cost Mexico dearly in terms of human suffering and economic losses.

In the nearly two months since AMLO first announced his dubious 10,000 covid-19 vaccination brigades (jam-packed with 100,000 of his favorite political cohorts, but with just 20,000 medical personnel who actually administer the shots), his “grand scheme” to vaccinate everyone in the country against coronavirus has been a full-fledged train wreck.

While AMLO continues to promise to have access to enough vaccines to protect the entire Mexican population, the simple fact of the matter is that, as of Sunday, Feb. 15, less than 0.03 percent of the Mexican population had been vaccinated.

In fact, on Saturday, Feb. 13, AMLO’s National Vaccination Plan reached a new low of somehow only managing to inoculate 311 Mexicans against the coronavirus in the entire day. (That’s less than one injection for every 385 members of the brigades.)

And on Sunday, while kicking off his year-long celebration of the country’s independence anniversary, AMLO added yet another dimension to his cataclysmic parade of covid mismanagement when he casually announced that Mexico’s National Science and Technology Council (Conacyt, an organization for which AMLO dramatically slashed to budget the last two years in a row) was now nearing completion of its own experimental vaccine, declaring proudly that he has reserved the name Patria (Homeland) for its title.

Dear Mr. President, with all due respect, nobody cares what you call the nonexistent Mexican vaccine, any more than they care about your preposterous ceremonies glorifying the nation’s past.

What people do care about is getting the vaccine out, especially to those who need it most — not to the isolated rural populations of the country that are so dispersed geographically that “social distancing” has always been a way of life, but to the busy, congested cities where crowding and overpopulation are accelerating contagion and where hospitals and medical workers are on the brink of collapse.

Like just about every other program you have implemented in your 26 months in office, your national vaccination program is a total failure.

And while you continue to spout platitudes of “primero los pobres” and “coruptos neoliberales,” Mexicans are dying by the thousands.

For once, Mr. President, put aside your egotistic displays of grandiosity and political grandstanding and admit that you are wrong.

For the sake of the country and the Mexican people you so doggedly claim to love, please: 1) Replace your ridiculous, politicized vaccination brigades of useless personnel and confreres with contingents of real medical professionals who can quickly and effectively administer mass qualities of covid-19 vaccinations nationwide, starting in the most direly affected areas of the country; 2) implement mandatory covid prevention measures and practices, such as compulsory face coverings in public places and limited social gatherings; and 3) Wear a damn mask!

…Feb. 15, 2021

 

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