The Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, tried on Tuesday to close the scandal of vaccines administered irregularly to 70 influential people, known as VIP vaccination. The case, which has opened a deep political crisis in the South American country and cost the Minister of Health his position, flies over the official visit that the president began in Mexico on Monday with a focus precisely on the management of vaccines against covid- 19. Fernández, who participated in the morning press conference of his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, asked to address the issue without politicizing it and went to court with a claim: “Let’s end the clowning.”
Fernández has scorned the dozen complaints filed to clarify the responsibilities of the case, uncovered last Friday. “There is no criminal type in Argentina that says that the one who vaccinates the one who went ahead in line will be punished. You cannot build crimes gracefully, “emphasized the president, who claims to have done what is necessary to turn the page. The VIP vaccination scandal cost one of the Administration’s strongest ministers his job. The head of Health, Ginés González García, was forced to resign last Friday after learning that a few privileged with good contacts in power had been immunized at the ministry headquarters. In the list of those vaccinated, which the Argentine Executive announced this Monday, there appear names such as former president Eduardo Duhalde and his children, or former Kirchnerist presidential candidate Daniel Scioli.
One of the complaints led the Justice to accuse González García of abuse of authority on Monday and to search the headquarters of the Ministry of Health in search of evidence. “I reacted and lost a minister,” Fernández recalled. “If there are more people responsible, they will have to leave, but I will not take charge of the public derision that they are promoting without measure in Argentina,” continued Fernández.
López Obrador avoided commenting on it. “We respect the Government of Argentina a lot and we are not going to comment on this matter at this time,” he said. The trip comes with the aspiration of both presidents to lead Latin America’s response against the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the very uneven results to contain the spread – Mexico is one of the countries with the highest excess of deaths, which can reach 300,000 people – all expectations are now focused on the production and distribution of doses.
The two countries have already agreed, with the support of the Carlos Slim Foundation, to collaborate to package and distribute some 200 million vials of AstraZeneca on the continent. Mexico, which occupies a provisional seat on the UN Security Council and holds the temporary presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), led a protest at the UN last week for an equitable distribution of vaccines. The “hoarding” of doses by the most developed countries must end, insisted López Obrador. “The UN has to intervene because otherwise it looks like a vase, it looks like an ornament.”
In this battle, collaboration between the two countries is essential. The visit of the Argentine delegation coincided with the arrival in Mexico of the first shipment of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia. An acquisition made possible by the Fernández Executive, who facilitated the connection with Moscow and the documents for the Mexican regulator to authorize the use of the injection. After several weeks of negotiation, the first 200,000 doses of a 24 million agreement landed Monday night at the airport in the Mexican capital. “We want to thank Argentina because it helped us to have access to this vaccine,” said Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard at the conference on Tuesday.
The Argentine president also recalled the protection provided by Mexico to exiles from the dictatorship and the welcome that the López Obrador government gave Evo Morales in November 2019, when the Argentine politician had already won the elections but was not yet acting president. The affinity of political projects is perhaps the main premise to strengthen this alliance. “That Mexico and Argentina are united is a duty that we have. That they face a common future and that this helps Latin America is an obligation that we have, from the northernmost country to the southernmost, we must be able to draw an axis that unites the entire continent, ”Fernández called.
Fernández has been the first president to participate in a morning, as López Obrador’s daily conference is known. According to Martín Borrego Llorente, director of the Mexican Foreign Ministry’s Undersecretariat for Latin America, it is because there is “a natural chemistry” between the two leaders. “There is a harmony of positions between them and that generated a fluid dialogue,” he said. The ideological coincidences between the leaders were translated into praise at the press conference on Tuesday. “At last Mexico has a president with moral values as Mexicans deserve,” said the Argentine. “Alberto is our friend,” replied his Mexican counterpart.
Subscribe here to newsletter of EL PAÍS México and receive all the informative keys of the present time of this country