Since he became President in 2018, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has made a point of holding daily press briefings in the morning, which are often referred to as “Mañaneras” as they take place in the morning. These daily press conferences provide an opportunity, during COVID-19, to gain knowledge of AMLO and the federal government’s plans for combating the virus. On Wednesday 27th at 7:00 am in Mexico City, AMLO spoke about the steps the government is taking to further civil protection, and the government’s response to COVID-19. He later described his intent to begin traveling the country next Monday, after the country’s national lockdown period (“la jornada de sana distancia”) ends on June 1st. He is planning to travel to Cancun, Campeche, Palenque, and Villa Hermosa, and detailed that if he is required to wear a facemask while traveling by plane he will do so. On Friday, May 29th, AMLO told the press that during this tour he will be inaugurating the construction of the infrastructure project, the “Tren Maya”, a train that would bring visitors between touristic sites throughout the southern states of Mexico. After that week, AMLO plans to return for a week to the capital, following which he will tour the states in the north of the country, to express his solidarity with those who lost loved ones during the pandemic.
AMLO began the conference on Wednesday speaking in general terms about the measures the government is taking to prepare for a hurricane season in which there are forecasted to be 30-37 severe weather systems. He reported that approximately 17 million Mexican citizens live in zones exposed to hurricanes. A reporter for the newspaper Pie de Pagina expressed concern for the preparedness of Baja California Sur specifically, which has been historically impacted by the storms.
AMLO also spoke to his government’s austerity measures to fight the economic downfall from the pandemic, and he spoke of the importance of the government at both the federal and local levels to cut spending and reserve resources. This also appeared to be his stance in response to a reporter’s question about the recovery of states that are taking on COVID-19 debt, such as Jalisco. AMLO concluded by reiterating his previous statement that Mexico does not have the highest mortality rate in Latin America. He also praised the family structure of Mexican society, stating that the family is the nation’s “most important institution of security,” and lauded the Mexican family’s care for their elderly.
On Friday, May 30th, various government secretaries, including Health Secretary Dr. Hugo Lopez-Gatell and the secretary of public education Dr. Esteban Moctezuma, detailed the government’s plans for reopening the country. Mexico is officially in the government’s fourth stage of pandemic response, after the conclusion of the period of social distancing (“la jornada de sana distancia”) at the end of May. The fourth stage, the “return to a new normality,” will take place despite Dr. Lopez-Gatell’s admittance that the country has not yet reached its peak in infections. As of now, only one state, Zacatecas, of the 32 states of Mexico is considered to be at a lower risk of infection, according to the state’s stop-light system of evaluation (with green as low-risk and red as high-risk). Secretary Moctezuma informed that classes will commence for the fall term in person on August 10th.
AMLO , in addition, emphasized the need to reopen the country’s tourism sectors in the coming weeks, as well as the mining and automotive industries.
The “return to a new normality” means that individual state and local governments will be given greater control over how they respond to the pandemic.
According to government statistics, Mexico currently has 81,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 36,131 suspected cases.
Dashiell Allen | Reed College
I am originally from New York City and am a senior majoring in Spanish at Reed College. I am currently writing my undergraduate thesis on the published works of the Frente de Liberación Homosexual de Argentina during the 1970s, and am interested in studying movements related to gender and sexuality in Latin America. I have previously been involved in local politics in New York City. I look forward to expanding my knowledge of Latin American politics through this opportunity!