Lopez Obrador accuses scientists of corruption and cuts 75% of their research budget.
MEXICO CITY (Agencies) – The controversy in which Andrés Manuel López Obrador was involved for offending the doctors who are treating the country’s coronavirus pandemic has not yet subsided. Now, the President attacked the scientists and assured that they were part of those who had perpetrated the corruption.
It all began during his morning conference, where he was questioned about the 75% cut in operating costs for research centers such as the CIDE, Cinvestav, or Conacyt, ordered by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP).
In response to this, AMLO replied that each time his government decides to implement a measure, people criticize him. He said that this comes from sectors that seek to “maintain abuses, influence, nepotism, all the scourges of politics. López considered that the investigators are part of those who perpetuated the practices of corruption within the Conacyt.
AMLO defended the cut of three-quarters of the Public Administration’s operative expenditure to save on facing the current coronavirus pandemic.
His comments resonated with the scientific community, which responded to the President’s accusations by assuring that this would be a step backward in research and blamed him for seeing researchers as “social parasites.
Chemist Eusebio Juaristi, the winner of the National Science Prize, told Reforma that “this is a step backward, with no or less progress in research projects.” On the other hand, he assured that this would slow down students’ development from undergraduate to doctoral level.
Julia Fierro, a science journalist, said that the government’s actions show that the country’s importance is not understood. Both scientists rejected that there is a permeating corruption in the Mexican research area.
We are one of the most evaluated communities in the country. Our students evaluate us. We are assessed by the referees of the magazines where we write. The scientific communities evaluate us as well as the institutions where we work. The Conacyt evaluates us, so it would be complicated for us to cheat.
The renowned biologist Antonio Lazcano spoke on the subject while giving the magisterial conference “Science and Democracy,” organized by the National Electoral Institute (INE). In his statements, he assured that López Obrador was incongruent with his criticism since, in his government, there are cronyisms and many people in specialized positions.
He assured that he did not know why AMLO sees them as “social parasites” and mentioned that the President is dismantling the scientific structure that took years to build.
Many of us were astonished when he began to characterize researchers in a completely wrong way as if we were social parasites enjoying salaries, trips, perks, locked up in cubicles, and far from reality.
Cutting the budget so much leaves many professionals without labor rights and is a brutal blow to the study centers. He also pointed out to Conacyt director Maria Elena Alvarez-Buylla that she places inadequately trained people in positions where specialists were working.
The researcher assured the progress Mexico has made in research is being destroyed, which began with the disappearance of the scientific Olympics. Now the budget cut threatens to reverse all the growth in the area. Researchers see in these actions a distancing of students from scientific research in Mexico.