Antidote and Poison from Harris and Biden

The government of the United States gave the government of Mexico a bittersweet potion, or perhaps a slap with a white glove: the gift of 1 million COVID-19 vaccines and the warning that it will continue to fund organizations that President Andres Manuel López Obrador believes to be made up of political groups, coup plotters and traitors to the country.

While Vice President Kamala Harris informed him of the vaccine delivery, the White House revealed the memorandum in which Joe Biden assessed corruption to be a threat to the security of his country, for which he ordered the continued funding nongovernmental organizations, journalists and public entities of foreign governments engaged in denouncing and combating this scourge.

“Corruption corrodes public trust; hobbles effective governance; distorts markets and equitable access to services; undercuts development efforts; contributes to national fragility, extremism, and migration; and provides authoritarian leaders a means to undermine democracies worldwide,” the memo states.

Without mentioning its name, the news fits the organization Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity “like a glove,” according to its president, María Amparo Casar. And that’s how it should seem to “4T,”* she said, because it’s about ending dishonesty in public service.

The double dose of news arrives the evening before Harris will speak personally with López Obrador. (Harris will be in Guatemala and Mexico on Monday and Tuesday.)

Among the reasons given for funding through the U.S. Agency for International Development is “to modernize, increase, coordinate, provide resources and improve the capacity of executive departments and key agencies.”** On Tuesday, Milenio reported that during the López Obrador administration, support for USAID and the National Foundation for Democracy has amounted to almost $591 million.

The document signed by Biden ensures that his government, with nongovernmental organizations and journalists, will seek to promote preventive measures, investigate and uncover corruption, as well as hold world leaders accountable. He hopes the support will help inform and uphold the accountability of U.S. and foreign governments, as well as help provide a safe and open domestic and international operating environment for these actors.

Regarding vaccines, López Obrador wrote on his social network, “We spoke with Vice President Kamala Harris. She was kind enough to inform us, prior to their announcement in the United States, of the decision to send us one million Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccines. I expressed our gratitude on behalf of the people of Mexico.”

The antidote-poison — with kind greetings from Biden — explains why Ricardo Monreal anticipates the cancellation of the vice president’s attendance at the senate, where the Morena majority [López Obrador supporters] could get ugly. “The best formula is to generate conditions for a successful visit and by consensus. That is why we agree with the foreign ministry that ‘the meeting’ will take place on a future occasion,” he asserted.

*Translator’s Note: López Obrador refers to his election as the Fourth Transformation of Mexico.

**Translator’s note: Although accurately translated, this quoted passage could not be independently verified.

About this publication

About Patricia Simoni 82 Articles
I first edited and translated for Watching America from 2009 through 2011, recently returning and rediscovering the pleasure of working with dedicated translators and editors. Latin America is of special interest to me. In the mid-60’s, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile, and later lived for three years in Mexico, in the states of Oaxaca and Michoacán and in Mexico City. During those years, my work included interviewing in anthropology research, teaching at a bilingual school in the federal district, and conducting workshops in home nursing care for disadvantaged inner city women. I earned a BS degree from Wagner College, masters and doctoral degrees from WVU, and was a faculty member of the WVU School of Nursing for 27 years. In that position, I coordinated a two-year federal grant (FIPSE) at WVU for an exchange of nursing students with the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. Presently a retiree, I live in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I enjoy traditional Appalachian fiddling with friends. Working toward the mission of WA, to help those in the U.S. see ourselves as others see us, gives me a sense of purpose.

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