Mexico’s President Is Resisting Coronavirus Restrictions as the Rest of the World Shuts Down

Mar 22, 2020

(MEXICO CITY) — Many countries in Latin America have taken aggressive measures to deal with the coronavirus such as closing their borders, dock and airports to foreigners, declaring states of emergencies and ordering business shutdowns.

Mexico, by contrast, has so far taken a “business as usual” attitude. People still crowd street markets picking through piles of fruit and vegetables. Cars and trucks continue to fill the streets and commuters throng subway trains, though the volume of traffic is noticeably lower.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his government have said a shutdown of the country would disproportionately hurt poor people and also be a psychological weight on all Mexicans. They say there is no reason to impose major restrictions before health officials deem them necessary — a moment they are expecting in late March, based on the virus’ pattern elsewhere and the Feb. 27 date of Mexico’s first confirmed case.

The approach is worrying many experts.

But it is the president’s personal attitude that has Mexicans puzzled. He continues to attend mass public rallies, shaking hands and kissing babies. Asked how he was protecting Mexico, López Obrador removed two religious amulets from his wallet and proudly showed them off.

“The protective shield is the ‘Get thee behind me, Satan,’” López Obrador said, reading off the inscription on the amulet, “Stop, enemy, for the Heart of Jesus is with me.”

Mexican President Reads Inscription Off Amulets When Asked About His Nation's Response to COVID-19

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his government have said a shutdown of the country would disproportionately hurt poor people and also be a psychological weight on all Mexicans.

López Obrador, often described as a leftist, is in fact a nationalist with deep religious feelings.

“I think President López Obrador is trying to project confidence and minimize the risk,” said Jesus Silva-Herzog, a political commentator and professor at the Tecnológico de Monterrey University.

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The post about “Mexico’s President Is Resisting Coronavirus Restrictions as the Rest of the World Shuts Down" first appeared on the Time website.


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