President López Obrador has described a criminal complaint against Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell for alleged mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic as “irrational” and full of hate.
A group of relatives of people who lost their lives to COVID-19 filed a complaint against the coronavirus czar for alleged omissions in relation to the management of the coronavirus crisis.
A judge last month ordered the federal Attorney General’s Office to investigate López-Gatell to establish his responsibility for Mexico’s high COVID-19 death toll, which is currently just under 310,000.
Speaking at his regular news conference on Tuesday, López Obrador said that blaming the deputy minister for COVID deaths was “very irrational and involves a lot of hate.”
“We all know that it’s a pandemic. We’ve done everything to save lives. … We’re among the 10 countries with the most vaccines acquired and administered,” he said.
“… We were one of the first countries in the world to inform almost daily … about the pandemic,” López Obrador said, referring to the nightly press conferences led by López-Gatell for over a year.
“… I spoke with the president of Russia, the president of China, the president of the United States, the president of Cuba, the president of Argentina, we spoke with the foreign minister of India, with everyone, so that we didn’t lack vaccines,” he said.
López Obrador also said that Mexico – which ranks fifth in the world for total COVID-19 deaths behind the United States, Brazil, India and Russia – has recorded fewer per-capita fatalities than the U.S., Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Paraguay.
(Mexico has the 28th highest COVID mortality rate in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.)
“So [accusing López-Gatell of mismanagement] … is a great injustice, a smear campaign. …What will the Attorney General’s Office or a judge do? And it’s not just Dr. Hugo [managing the pandemic], it’s the president, it’s the health minister [Jorge Alcocer]. We would all go to jail, we’re all Hugo. But everything has to do with politicking,” López Obrador said.
The president also defended López-Gatell late last month, saying that his work during the pandemic had been “exceptional.”
“He’s a professional of the first order. It’s good fortune that we have a professional with so much knowledge in such difficult circumstances as these. He’s one of the best pandemic specialists in the world. He’s an authority [on the subject], a decent, honest person, an authentic public servant,” López Obrador said January 27.
With reports from El Universal