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Mexico leader beats COVID, vows to end transparency agency

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s president returned to his morning press briefings Friday after recovering from COVID-19, and he came out swinging.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, 69, said he had tested negative after his third bout of the coronavirus.

His return came the same day that opposition legislators continued to hold protests in the Senate, after senators from López Obrador’s Morena party refused yet again to approve appointments to the national information-access agency.

The transparency agency has been unable to function for more than a month because of a lack of committee members. López Obrador came out Friday and said the agency should be dissolved to save money.

“Let the federal comptroller’s office, which belongs to another branch of government, the legislative branch, take over this function and let this agency disappear. Enough playing with appearances,” López Obrador said.

Formally known as The Institute for Information Access and Transparency, or INAI, the government-funded agency is autonomous and decides what information the government must release to the public. Its autonomy is meant to ensure that no branch of government can prevent public access to information.

With currently only four committee members — there should be seven, but it can function with five — the institute cannot make decisions.

Legislators from López Obrador’s Morena party voted late Thursday against approving the appointment of a fifth committee member, prompting opposition senators to stand in front of the speakers’ podium with banners reading “INAI Now!” and “Appointments for the INAI now!”

A leader of the Morena delegation in the Senate, César Cravioto, was seen slapping and punching opposition lawmakers’ hands in a bid to rip the banners away from them.

After the scuffle, it was unclear whether the Senate would be able to meet Friday in the Senate chamber.


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