Cuban president to get Mexico’s highest medal for foreigners
The award — the country’s highest honor for foreigners and decided primarily by the president — has previously been presented to leaders ranging from Fidel Castro to the King of Iran.
The announcement of the award said the Cuban leader “promoted cooperation between the two countries on health issues.”
López Obrador praised Cuba Friday for sending doctors to Mexico, some of whom serve in dangerous or remote areas. But those doctors and the salaries they are paid are controversial in Mexico. Some argue that the work should go to Mexican doctors, while others suspect that most of their wages will go to the Cuban government.
As president, López Obrador went out of his way to buy as much as possible from Cuba. But he bought everything from Cuban ballast to Abdala Coronavirus vaccine raised eyebrows.
Mexico purchased 9 million doses of the Cuban-made Abdala vaccine in September 2022, with doses due later in the year, when Mexico’s vaccination efforts have ended.
The administration of López Obrador is using the Cuban vaccine as a booster, although the vaccine is designed for coronavirus variants circulating in 2020 or 2021, not variants present present. Very few Mexicans have come to get the Cuban boosters.
As he rushes to build his pet project, a cruise train that will circle the Yucatan peninsula, López Obrador said he will import trains carrying crushed stone from Cuba at a very high price.
Ballasts are necessary to stabilize the relationships of rail tracks. The local rock in the Yucatan was not the right kind and much of it was shipped to the Yucatan ports from the Gulf coast of Mexico.
López Obrador has long been a fan of Cuba and regularly plays Cuban “nueva trova” music during his daily press conferences.
The president has also been criticized for his connections to other leftist regimes. His administration has come under fire for appointing a former Venezuelan official to a key position in the Ministry of Public Education at a time when Mexico is reforming teaching methods and textbooks.
Despite his passion for leftist regimes abroad, the Mexican president is largely conservative on social and financial issues at home.
He dismissed critics who cited human rights abuses by the Cuban and Venezuelan regimes.
“It is a conservative political stance,” López Obrador said earlier this month. “It was like, ‘We’re going to turn into Venezuela, we’re going to turn into Cuba.’”