Hugging is the perfect symbol for Mr. López Obrador’s tropical populism. It portrays him as a warm man of the pueblo in contrast with the cold technocrats of what he calls “the mafia of power.” His slogan for trying to end the country’s drug war is “abrazos, no balazos,” or “hugs, not bullets.”
(Ioan Grillo, “Mexico, the Coronavirus and the Hugging President,” NYTimes, 3-23-20)
AMLO can’t catch a break. As he tries to smother narco-trafficking and femicide with hugs, a looming war on bugs — the coronavirus — now rears its head. Adding insult to irony, a gaggle of well-heeled Mexican skiers have trooped home from Vail infected with it.
On a positive note, a government social-distancing campaign has created a superhero icon named Susana Distancia, whose name is a play on “su sana distancia,” or “your healthy distance.” Ioan Grillo points out that Mexico has liabilities, but also assets, in the fight against the coronavirus.
Family networks are strong, making it easier to close schools. During recent natural disasters, I have witnessed great social solidarity… If cases of coronavirus infection do shoot up, as is likely, this solidarity could translate to help the distribution of food and support for affected families.
(c) 2020 JMN