Mexico’s “servants of the nation.” Photo: Secretaría del Bienestar

By KELIN DILLON

Mexico’s Federalist Alliance of Governors has announced it will accept and sign President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) national agreement for democracy, on the conditions of its oversight by the National Electoral Institute (INE) and the removal of the so-called “servants of the nation” (all members and supporters of his leftist National Regeneration Movement, or Morena, party) from Mexico’s national vaccination program.

AMLO’s letter, which was sent to all the governors of Mexico on Feb. 23, requested the state officials sign a pact agreeing to not use public funds to influence the country’s upcoming June 2021 midterm elections in an effort to “avoid the hauling and filling of ballot boxes, the falsification of records and all those abominable anti-democratic illegal practices that must remain in the past permanently.”

The Federalist Alliance, which consists of 10 governors belonging to conservative parties like the National Action Party (PAN) and Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that oppose López Obrador’s own in-power Morena, agreed to AMLO’s proposal in its own letter, with conditions attached, read to the public by Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles.

“We accept your offer to avoid, from federal power, any electoral dye in social programs, the improper use of public resources and the purchase of loyalties,” read Aureoles in a press conference from the northern city of Monterrey.

“For this reason, we request that the so-called servants of the nation be removed from the vaccination program. Past vaccination campaigns in Mexico, recognized worldwide for their effectiveness and coverage, never required personnel other than those of the health sector.”

The letter referred to the use of servants of the nation in Mexico’s 12,000 vaccine bridges, AMLO’s personal pet project created to supposedly speed up the country’s covid-19 vaccination program, which each consist of two medical professionals, four military personnel, two “servants of the nation,” two welfare representatives and two “volunteers” (also Morena faithfuls).

The brigades have been controversial due to their members receiving priority vaccination ahead of at-risk communities and health professionals, as well as the use of 12 people to supervise the vaccination of one individual and the brigades apparent inefficiency, following Mexico’s vaccine program’s slow start.

The use and presence of servants of the nation during the vaccination process has apparently only bolstered Morena’s polling numbers, with the polls showing a 6 percent increase in support for the leftist party’s candidates in the upcoming elections following the rollout of the mass vaccine program in January.

Morena servants of the nation have also been accused of promoting the party in phone calls to the population surrounding the vaccination process to raise support before the upcoming elections, though the AMLO government has vehemently denied any knowledge of this occurring.

The governors insisted Mexican states can handle the vaccination process without the brigades in general, with Aguascalientes Governor Martín Orozco saying, “We have the capacity, the strength and an impressive infrastructure; it simply requires the will of the federal government to do things, to let us do things.”

Mexico’s vaccine rollout continues to lag behind other modern nations, with only 1.6 percent of the population having received the first dose of the vaccine so far, compared to over 10 times that in the United States, where 16.1 percent of its population has already received its first dose.

The Federal Alliance also requested the involvement of the INE in the agreement, which López Obrador has publicly railed against following the independent organization’s warning (and the AMLO-dictated court’s subsequent removal) against his potential interference in the electoral process during his daily public press conferences, which the INE says violates the Mexican Constitution.

“Mr. President, regardless of the obligations that the legislation imposes on all authorities in electoral matters, we endorse to the nation our conviction and commitment that no power intervenes unduly in these electoral processes,” read the Federal Alliance’s letter, addressing López Obrador’s own alleged electoral interference.

“As democratically elected rulers, we promise to abide by and enforce (the Mexican Constitution),” continued the letter. “We stick to it. We call on the constitution with respect.”

If the demands of the Federal Alliance are met, the group of governors say they will have no issue accepting AMLO’s “invitation to an agreement for democracy today in Mexico, one that commits us to all levels of government and the powers of the union.”

…March 5, 2021

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