27 de enero de 2021
Hispanic World

Powerful in Americas following "stay home" orders by going on vacation

By Claudia Polanco Yermanos

 Montage of file photos showing (l-to-r) above Mexican Assistant Secretary for Prevention and Promotion of Health Hugo Lopez-Gatell; Brazilian soccer icon Neymar; Sao Paulo state Gov. Joao Doria; and l-to-r below Cuban singer Niurka Ramos, Chilean first lady Cecilia Morel and Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez. EFE

Montage of file photos showing (l-to-r) above Mexican Assistant Secretary for Prevention and Promotion of Health Hugo Lopez-Gatell; Brazilian soccer icon Neymar; Sao Paulo state Gov. Joao Doria; and l-to-r below Cuban singer Niurka Ramos, Chilean first lady Cecilia Morel and Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez. EFE

By Claudia Polanco Yermanos

International Desk, Jan 6 (efe-epa).- Although numerous politicians, famous people and opinion leaders across the Americas in 2020 promoted "staying at home" in speeches and on the social networks, some of them now are relaxing that stance to go on vacation, despite the fact that the Western Hemisphere is in the midst of a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic, has suffered 37 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and vaccination of priority groups has only just begun.

One of those who strongly spoke out to criticize people who have moved around freely, without respecting the restrictions imposed by their governments to contain the pandemic, was Pope Francis.

"But those people, good people, did they not think about those who stayed at home, about the economic problems faced by many people who have been floored by the lockdown, about the sick? They thought only about taking a holiday for their own pleasure. This pained me greatly," said the pontiff last Sunday.

The decision to take a few days off has already cost Canada's Ontario provincial finance minister, Rod Phillips, his job after he traveled to the Caribbean resort island of St. Barts and even pulled the stunt of posting on Twitter a fake photo apparently showing him in quarantine at home and urging the public not to leave their homes.

"Obviously I made a significant error in judgement and I will be accountable for that," he said, adding "I know that I disappointed a lot of people, I hope people appreciate I've disappointed no one more than myself" and calling it a "dumb, dumb mistake."

Canadian Prime Minister Doug Ford asked for Phillips' resignation, saying that his government "takes seriously" the idea of government officials doing what they are asking the public to do.

Also in eye of the hurricane at present is Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez, who traveled to Costa Rica with her wife, Sen. Angelica Lozano.

Colombian politicians from across the political spectrum have used the social networks to ask Lopez to resign and calling the situation "regrettable," "disgraceful" and "unfortunate" because she took her vacation just when the capital was nearing 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and so far has suffered more than 10,000 deaths from Covid-19.

Given these figures, three densely populated sections of Bogota on Tuesday began a new two-week quarantine to try and halt the spread of the virus and the skyrocketing number of hospitalizations.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro created his first controversy of 2021 by hitting the surf at a Sao Paulo beach amid a huge crowd of sunbathers and despite the fact that the virus has infected more than 7.7 million people in his country, making it the Western Hemisphere nation in the No. 2 spot in terms of infections, after the United States.

"At a time when Brazil needs peace and (behavior) to combat the pandemic and save lives, President Jair Bolsonaro attacks us once again, in a cowardly manner. The ineffectiveness and denial of the government of that president promoted the deaths of 194,000 Brazilians from Covid-19," tweeted Sao Paulo state Gov. Joao Doria, the president's political rival.

Despite Doria's stance on the matter, however, he himself had to apologize for taking a vacation to Miami on the eve of the new lockdown in his state.

As we know, Covid-19 doesn't spare anyone and Doria found himself forced to return to Sao Paulo a day after arriving in the US because Vice Governor Rodrigo Garcia, who took over the reins of the regional government during the governor's absence, was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

In addition, Brazilian soccer star Neymar, who plays for Paris Saint Germain, was questioned by many for throwing a party for some 150 invited guests at a cost of four million reais (about $800,000).

As a result, the authorities asked the sports icon to explain the event, which took place at his mansion in Mangaratiba, a beach resort in the state of Rio de Janeiro, despite the fact that the company organizing the party complied with "all the health protocols."

The vacation of Mexico's assistant secretary for the Prevention and Promotion of Health, and the country's main strategist vis-a-vis Covid-19, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, also made a negative impact when he was photographed not wearing a facemask on his plane flight to - and on the beaches of - the southern state of Oaxaca at a point when Mexico City is in a health emergency due to a massive increase in hospitalizations.

The social networks exploded with criticism of the official and even a lawmaker with the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) called on him to apologize and resign but when Lopez-Gatell returned he said he didn't have "anything to hide" because, he said, he followed his own directive to only socialize in small groups over the yearend holidays.

Another person who garnered reprimands on Twitter and Instagram was English singer Dua Lipa, whom some called a "Covidiot" after images circulated showing her surrounded by her girlfriends and her boyfriend, Anwar Hadid, at the Tulum seaside resort, where health safety measures remain in effect until Jan. 15.

Similarly, Cuban dancer and actress Niurka Marcos was "castigated" by her fans after photos of her more recent trip to the Yucatan city of Merida along with about 13 other people made the rounds on the social networks.

Her behavior sparked indignation among many, given that besides not remaining at home as she had asked her fans to do in December, Marcos and her entourage did not social distance or use facemasks.

In Chile, it was first lady Cecilia Morel's turn for ridicule when she made a 10-day trip to Miami with two of her daughters just two weeks after the country reopened its borders and when coronavirus cases have once again begun to climb in Chile.

Morel's office said that it was a "family" trip and all bio-security protocols were observed, but the controversy touched her husband - President Sebastian Piñera - who on the social networks was accused of having a "double standard" by asking the public to stay at home while his family enjoyed vacations abroad.

Histórico de noticias
Trump impeachment could be dead on arrival

Washington, Jan 26 (efe-epa).- The great majority of Republican senators on Tuesday opposed pushing ahead with impeachment proceedings against former...

US to buy 200 mn more anti-Covid vaccine doses

Washington, Jan 26 (efe-epa).- The Joe Biden administration on Tuesday announced that the US government will buy 200 million additional doses of the two...

Biden speaks with Putin about extending nuke accord, Ukraine and Navalny

Washington, Jan 26 (efe-epa).- US President Joe Biden on Tuesday spoke by telephone with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, a conversation in which...

Santa Rosa Xtampak, a Maya city on verge of revealing its mysteries

By Maria Alonso

Americas hits 1 mn mark for Covid death toll as cases keep skyrocketing

International Desk, Jan 25 (efe-epa).- The Covid-19 pandemic continues to worsen in terms of caseloads and deaths with total fatalities crossing the...

Return of US to climate fight mobilizing world to adapt

By Imane Rachidi

Dominion sues Trump attorney Giuliani for defamation

Washington, Jan 25 (efe-epa).- Dominion Voting Systems, a company that makes voting machines, on Monday filed a defamation lawsuit against ex-President...

Argentina's voluntary abortion law enters into force

By Veronica Dalto

Biden warns that US will exceed 500,000 Covid deaths in February

Washington, Jan 21 (efe-epa).- New President Joe Biden on Thursday warned that the number of Covid-19 deaths in the US will probably exceed 500,000 in...

Rio de Janeiro city gov't cancels this year's Carnival

Rio de Janeiro, Jan 21 (efe-epa).- Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes on Thursday announced the cancellation of Carnival this year due to fact that the...

Lopez Obrador applauds Biden's immigration plan, halt in building wall

Mexico City, Jan 21 (efe-epa).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday said that he considers newly-inaugurated US President Joe Biden's...

Senate confirms Avril Haines as Biden's intelligence director

Washington, Jan 20 (efe-epa).- The United States Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly confirmed Avril Haines as the country's new director of national...

Biden gets to work, rolling back Trump policies

By Laura Barros

Mexican business group: Renew ties with US after Biden's inauguration

(Update: changes headline, re-ledes with statement from business group)

US actors, musicians celebrate Biden-Harris inauguration

By David Villafranca

Trump arrives in W. Palm Beach shortly before Biden is sworn in as president

Miami, Jan 20 (efe-epa).- Donald Trump arrived in Palm Beach, Florida, on Wednesday while still president, shortly before the inauguration of Joe Biden in...

Biden arrives in Washington to take the reins of a country in crisis

(Update 1: Adds details of inauguration ceremony, changes head, lede)

McConnell blames Trump for violent assault by supporters on Congress

Washington, Jan 19 (efe-epa).- The outgoing Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, on Tuesday accused President Donald Trump of provoking the violent...

Argentina registers 50 aftershocks, no deaths in 6.4-magnitude quake

Buenos Aires, Jan 19 (efe-epa).- Argentine President Alberto Fernandez traveled on Tuesday to San Juan province, on the western border with Chile, to tour...

Harris resigns as senator, Biden helps NGO 2 days before inauguration

Washington, Jan 18 (efe-epa).- Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Monday resigned her seat as a US senator from California, while President-elect Joe...

Honduran private sector: Join forces to rebuild country

Tegucigalpa, Jan 18 (efe-epa).- The Honduran private sector is in a "state of calamity" due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in 134,111...

Guatemalan forces disperse migrant caravan on highway

Guatemala City, Jan 18 (efe-epa).- Guatemalan security forces on Monday dispersed a migrant caravan made up of more than 6,000 Hondurans looking to head...

Eccentric music producer Phil Spector dead of Covid complications

New York, Jan 17 (efe-epa).- Phil Spector, one of the most highly acclaimed modern music producers, the creator of the so-called "Wall of Sound," died on...

Argentina promulgates law making abortions easier to get

By Javier Castro Bugarin