Despite months of pressure to change his attitude on the coronavirus, Mexico’s president is sticking to his guns.
Andres Manuel López Obrador said Monday confirmed that he has no intention to start wearing a mask after recovering from the virus, Reuters reported.
Live and let live
López Obrador has taken a “live and let live” mentality to COVID restrictions, attacking lockdowns as a form of tyranny while refusing to wear a mask unless absolutely necessary. He has condemned the use of police force and fines to enforce restrictions.
His approach has been compared to that of former U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who also faced massive institutional pressure to change their ways. But the Mexican leader has refused, saying he’ll do so only when Mexico eliminates “corruption,” which is kind of like waiting for hell to freeze over.
At his first press conference since recovering from a recent bout with the virus, he dismissed questions about whether he would wear a mask and “launched into a polemic” against his critics before answering the question, Reuters reported.
“No, no,” he said. “Additionally, according to what the doctors say, now I’m not contagious.”
“There is no authoritarianism in Mexico … everything is voluntary, liberty is the most important thing,” he added. “It is each person’s own decision.”
Contrarian president sticking to his guns
The Mexican leader recently drew attention for condemning Twitter’s decision to muzzle Donald Trump, a move that seems to echo in a contrarian attitude on masks and lockdowns that has rattled critics. His approval rating has actually gone up, though, according to a tracker by polling firm Consulta Mitofsky.
The virus has divided those who consider restrictions an imposition by the government and those who insist they’re backed by “science” and for the public good.
The controversy shows no sign of fading, as the likes of Dr. Anthony Fauci advise people to start wearing two masks for protection, prompting mockery and anger from skeptics.
López Obrador has left little doubt on where he stands, recently warning that the virus has revealed “authoritarian instincts” in some.
“A lot of them are letting their authoritarian instincts show,” he said. “Everyone is free. Whoever wants to wear a face mask and feel safer is welcome to do so.”