Statistics from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) suggest America is the global region with the highest death rates and confirmed cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), Mexico is among the four countries with the highest deaths, only behind the US, Brazil and India. In these three countries, official sources have admitted that their public health systems have seen a small or major breakdown (WHO 2021). Coincidentally, of these four countries, Mexico is the only one that has officially refused to admit that its public health system has collapsed or experienced an asymmetric dependence on COVID-19 measures, health infrastructure, and vaccine supplies (406,090,985 doses of the COVID-19.) . Vaccine was secured after exhausting negotiations with the top manufacturers from Europe, China, Russia and the US, but only 33,309,017 were received and officially made available to the national population, highlighting the acute asymmetric dependency in relation to combating COVID-19. Pandemic in Mexico, a nation-state that could be used as a paradigm for the economic challenges and ethical dilemmas facing other emerging economies regarding COVID-19.
In addition, the Mexican head of state Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (popularly known as AMLO) emphasizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is under control and that the entire population will soon be vaccinated on the grounds of “herd immunity” (Abdalla 2021). The Mexican vaccination campaign has been planned in five phases based on the priorities set by the Mexican government trying to mimic European vaccination campaigns in various forms: 1) Frontline health workers treating COVID-19 patients daily (from December 2020 to February .). 2021); 2) The other health care workers and people aged 60 and over (from February to April 2021); 3) people between 50 and 59 years of age (from April to May 2021); 4) people between 40-49 (from May to June 2021); and 5) the remaining social population (from June 2021 to March 2022), although it is unclear who is part of the “remaining social population”.
However, various sources have questioned the “success” of this vaccination campaign. From Ciudad Juarez to southeastern Mexico, public and private health workers claim the federal government is denying them the right to be vaccinated as Mexico has the world’s highest death rate among health workers from COVID. According to the Mexican federal government, five vaccines were administered most frequently among those vaccinated so far by April 2021: Pfizer-BioNTech (American-German), AstraZeneca (British-Swedish), Sputnik V (Russian), Cansino (Chinese)) and Sinovac (Chinese) ). In Mexico, however, other vaccines have been approved in clinical trials involving people under 40, including Novavax (American), CureVac (German), and Janssen-Johnson & Johnson (American).
There are many testimonies (including frontline health workers) alleging the ineffectiveness and corruption of the vaccination campaign, which was ultimately used as an attempt to legitimize the president-elect’s populist style of government. AMLO came to power under the umbrella of a newly founded party MORENA (National Regeneration Movement, founded 2011), which superficially uses identity-political maneuvers to bring skin color and femininity forward as political weapons. At the same time, however, feminicides and racism are receiving new forms of inspection and public display, without mentioning the lack of resources for those populations who would benefit from quality psychosocial support.
MORENA’s unveiled bio-political agenda promotes politically sanctioned practices of the highly debated concept of “reverse racism” that ultimately purport to oust those social groups that do not identify with Mexican indigenous values and do not want to advocate the AMLO populist agenda the leaders of his party. It is worth noting that the most recent national censuses (2010 and 2020) identified more than 80% of the total population of Mexico as indigenous or indigenous ancestors. It’s also worth noting that the 2020 census provided data suggesting that roughly half of the Mexican population is either illiterate or has literacy levels below the level required to attend middle school.
An article published in November 2020 in Public books by Alfonso Fierro with the title “A Quiet Disaster: Mexico City, Mexico” gives a brief insight into the sudden changes that have changed, if not simply destroyed, the once self-proclaimed global megalopolis. Fierro subtly narrates the transformation of one of Mexico City’s most prominent neighborhoods due to its business dynamism and architectural design in the following terms:
The hip and prosperous Roma quarter, a common meeting place for young residents and tourists, suddenly looked like a small provincial town in the middle of nowhere: a car here or there, abandoned gardens in once overcrowded squares, shops in ruins, everything sounds securely sealed behind the walls of its townhouses and apartment buildings from the mid-20th century. It was a peaceful picture, but also in some ways an apocalyptic one (Fierro 2020).
While Fierro attributes this in part to the failed governments that have ruled the city for the past few decades, it firmly condemns COVID-19 and administrative failures as the main culprits of the sudden decline that has spread across the city without acknowledging the countryside mention things are worse.
Among the pre-existing conditions that future generations of Mexico City will face, it is important to highlight: 1) The impending lack of clean water, which will prevent millions of families from having access to daily hygiene practices and running water; 2) the precarious public health system kept afloat by an acute system of asymmetric dependence; 3) The environmental damage to the few green spaces that repeatedly suffer from the consequences of uncontrollable air pollution; 4) the financial crisis inherent in the sudden surge in unemployment leading to more hideous and higher crime rates; 5) The unsuccessful transformation of the basic public education system that has left millions of children without access to formal education since the official start of the pandemic (access to the Internet and television are considered forms of education in most households); and 6) the increasing ethnic, racial and gender-based objective and symbolic violence fueled from the lower acts of the MORENA party.
Noting that in addition to the current “war” on COVID-19, Mexico has been unsuccessfully waging a bloody war on drugs on its own soil since 2006 and recently its own war on Central American immigrants as a bilateral effort with the US to curb the influx of people stop without papers to the US and Mexico. One can only wonder how far and deep the ongoing catastrophe will go, as both MORENA and her followers continue to pretend that “science” is a joke invented in the so-called “first world” about one enforcing western neoliberal worldview in a country where the vast majority of the population still clings to a legacy that purports to be the ultimate cure for COVID in religious practices such as santeria, shamanism and the many churches that have proliferated 19 to be found. Regardless of these socio-cultural and biopolitical factors, Mexico’s present seems to be one mise en abyme Depiction of an octopus disintegrating in a labyrinthine and unreachable future, as if time were also a joke that irrevocably separates the possible and the impossible.
Abdalla, Jihan. 2021. “Mexico’s vaccination campaign stops, AMLO will still not wear a mask”, Aljazeera.
Averbuch, Maya, and Navarro, Andrea. 2021. “Mexican health workers say AMLO is denying them Covid vaccines”, Bloomberg.
Camhaji, Elias, Galindo, Jorge and Zerega, Georgina. 2021. “The crisis of the coronavirus: Así avanza la vacunación contra la covid-19 in México”, El Pais.
Carlsen, Audrey, et al. 2021. “How is the COVID-19 vaccination campaign going in your state?” NPR.
Thunder, simon. 2020. “The ugly history of climate determinism is still evident today”, Scientific American.
Editors. 2021. “Mexico’s Long War: Drugs, Crime and the Cartels”, External Relations Council.
Fierro, Alfonso. 2020. “A silent disaster: Mexico City, Mexico”, Public books.
Graham, Dave, Oré, Diego and minister, Laura. 2021. “Mexico plans a crackdown on migration as the US struggles with record arrivals”, Reuters.
Government of Mexico City. 2021. “Se ha vacunado al 17 por ciento de la población en la Ciudad de México”, Mexico City Government website.
National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). 2021. “Population and Housing Census 2020”, Website of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography.
Stabweh, Rudolf. 2019. “Theories of asymmetrical dependence”, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies.
World health organization. 2021. “WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard”, World Health Organization website.
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