By Alejandro Aguirre Guerrero for El Universal
MEXICO, (July 30, 2021).- It was a horrible meeting for Health Undersecretary Hugo López-Gatell. The issue was the third wave of infections and how to combat it, regardless of what was publicly said. It was a special meeting with some members of the cabinet (the AMLO’s VIPs), led by President López Obrador. What has never happened: AMLO pounded his fist on the table and interrupted the Undersecretary to demand him to speak clearly and without “bombastic” words. “I am tired of you,” AMLO said. The whole room was silent.
Never before had the president referred to López-Gatell in that way in any meeting. And it is that the person in charge of managing the pandemic in our country made it clear, before all those present, that he lacked forceful strategies to contain the increase in infections.
Claudia Sheinbaum did not attend the meeting, nor did Marcelo Ebrard. They asked the President for permission to send a trusted representative, as neither of them wanted to listen to López-Gatell. “And the thing is that on the last occasion Claudia and Marcelo said they were fed-up with Lopez Gatell’s incompetence,” an assistant secretary declared about the National Palace meeting. “If they had been present, both Claudia and Marcelo would have enjoyed AMLO’s yelling at Doctor Lopez-Gatell.”
And it is true that AMLO had defended López-Gatell in all the meetings, even before his “presidential candidates”, on this occasion the president was exasperated, interrupted the meeting, drank some water, and no matter how much he tried to avoid it, he ended up reproaching Mexico’s coronavirus Czar for his lack of expertise, and for not giving him clear answers.
“I will continue to support you in public and in front of opponents, but I want to tell you that this situation “has no head or tail”. At this moment I decide that classes will resume in August and also that vaccinations for minors will not be a priority, whatever you have said, fewer and fewer people believe you, don’t make me be one of them ”, AMLO said while Hugo López-Gatell tried to interrupt him without success.Anonymous witness
And the fact is that AMLO does not remove Lopez-Gatell from his charge out of pride, because he does not want to accept that he made an awful decision choosing Hugo Lopez-Gatell as the man in charge of the strategies to combat the pandemic in Mexico. Because the president simply, does not make mistakes.
“I did not ask to be responsible for managing the pandemic, sir, but I was always prepared for such a responsibility, even more so when you trusted me,” the Undersecretary stammered at some uncomfortable moment during the meeting.
Hugo López-Gatell went from stardom, (and the cover of the “Hola!” magazine), to losing the respect of almost the entire AMLO cabinet (and most of Mexico), with the clear exception of his mentor, Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer. The only thing that supports (with pins) the person in charge of the pandemic and his hurt prestige, is, on one hand, the stubbornness of the President (and the fact that he does not want to accept that he was wrong), and on the other, that no one in the trustworthy government structure dares, (not even remotely), to try to pick up the mess they’ve made so far with the handling of the pandemic in our country.
By Alejandro Aguirre Guerrero
Source: El Universal
The Yucatan Times Newsroom