Mexico will seek more vaccines for the region with Latin American partners

The Mexican government has played an active role at the UN, where it has a seat on the Security Council, in calling for vaccines against COVID-19
Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard

REUTERS/LUIS CORTES  -   Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard

This Saturday, Mexico is hosting a summit of Latin American and Caribbean foreign ministers to seek mechanisms to obtain more vaccines against COVID-19 for the region and to reach a consensus on a common Latin American position for the next G20 summit.

"We will seek a common position on access to vaccines and economic recovery that we will take to the G20 as a Latin American position," Maximiliano Reyes, undersecretary for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Foreign Ministry of Mexico, the country that holds the temporary presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), told Efe on Friday.

At least 11 representatives of the 33 countries confirmed for the CELAC meeting have already met separately with the Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the centre of Mexico City.

Puente fronterizo internacional Paso del Norte, en Ciudad Juárez, México 18 de junio de 2021
PHOTO/REUTERS - Paso del Norte International Border Bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 18 June 2021

Ebrard received, among others, the Colombian vice-president and foreign minister, Marta Lucía Ramírez; and the foreign ministers of Argentina, Felipe Solá; Chile, Andrés Allamand; Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez; Bolivia, Rogelio Mayta; and Ecuador, Mauricio Montalvo.

"All the meetings have been in very good spirits and fruitful, talking a lot about the need to exchange the supply of vaccines in the region and above all thanking them for their presence and commending Mexico's leadership in this forum," revealed the Mexican undersecretary.

Un hombre muestra una identificación en la que se lee "me vacuno" después de recibir una dosis de la vacuna de Sinovac contra la COVID-19, en Santiago, Chile
REUTERS/IVAN ALVARADO - A man shows identification that reads "me vacuno" after receiving a dose of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine in Santiago, Chile.
In search of vaccines

The Mexican government has played an active role at the UN, where it has a seat on the Security Council, in calling for vaccines against COVID-19 for Latin America and the Caribbean, and has also signed an agreement with Argentina to distribute AstraZeneca drugs to its neighbours.

The Mexican official explained that they want to "increase AstraZeneca's production", whose active ingredient is produced in Argentina and then packaged in Mexico, which then distributes the vaccines throughout the region.

In addition to this distribution, Mexico has in recent weeks donated two million doses to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Paraguay, Jamaica and Bolivia, and plans to send doses to Haiti, which only last week had access to anti-COVID vaccines for the first time.

"The distribution of Covax vaccines (a UN mechanism), which many countries took advantage of, has not been efficient. It has gone wrong because the laboratories have not supplied it," lamented Reyes.

Una mujer recibe una dosis de la vacuna de Pfizer/BioNTech contra la enfermedad del coronavirus (COVID-19) en un estadio deportivo durante la pandemia, en Viña del Mar, Chile
REUTERS/RODRIGO GARRIDO - A woman receives a dose of Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a sports stadium during the pandemic, in Viña del Mar, Chile.
Commemorating Bolívar

The CELAC meeting will be preceded by an event to commemorate the 238th birthday of the South American liberator Simón Bolívar, in which Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will participate.

The event aims to give a Latin American perspective to the celebrations organised this year for the 200th anniversary of Mexico's independence (1821) and the 500th anniversary of the conquest (1521).

"President López Obrador has instructed us to restore Mexico's leadership role in the region, and Bolívar is the liberator of the Americas, historically recognised by practically all the countries of the continent," said the undersecretary.

In addition, Reyes recalled that in the 19th century, the Mexican Congress granted Mexican citizenship to Bolívar (Caracas, 1783), whom the Undersecretary considered "a Mexican by adoption who deserves to be remembered".

Un trabajador sanitario prepara una dosis de la vacuna de Pfizer-BioNTech contra la COVID-19 en el estadio olímpico Pascual Guerrero, en Cali, Colombia, el 26 de abril de 2021
AFP/LUIS ROBAYO - A health worker prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at the Pascual Guerrero Olympic Stadium in Cali, Colombia, 26 April 2021.
Venezuela is not on the agenda

The summit comes after Venezuela's president, Nicolás Maduro, assured on Thursday that he is ready to sit down to negotiate with the opposition in Mexico following failed talks in 2019.

However, the Mexican undersecretary assured that this issue will not be on the agenda of the CELAC summit, in which the Venezuelan government will participate.

"What we have said with regard to Venezuela is that when they are ready, Mexico offers guarantees of security, confidentiality, neutrality and diplomatic efficiency. There has been no more than that. This is nothing new," Reyes said.

El presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador
REUTERS/EDGARD GARRIDO - Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

The official recalled that "Mexico has always shown itself to be a guarantor of being a host for dialogue between countries that have some kind of internal conflict".

In the face of the social and political crisis in Venezuela, President López Obrador has always placed special emphasis on the principles established in the Mexican Constitution of non-intervention in other countries and the peaceful settlement of disputes.