The former Uruguayan president José “Pepe” Mujica criticized the government of Luis Lacalle Pou and assured that the Covid-19 pandemic “helped” to improve his image. ”The pandemic is white (in reference to the color of the ruling party)“ and ”brought a big help“ to the government, said the former president in a radial interview on Wednesday. ”He has no responsibility, but he positioned himself well in the situation and knew how to take advantage of it”, he assured.
Under Lacalle Pou's mandate, Uruguay lagged behind its continental neighbors in the acquisition of vaccines and the start of the inoculation program – which began on March 1, being the last in the region to implement it.
Nevertheless, with 624 deaths due to covid-19 and an average, now increased by a second wave of contagions, of 213 cases per million inhabitants to date, Uruguay was not affected by the pandemic the same way its neighbors Brazil or Argentina did suffer.
For that reason, Lacalle Pou's government was not forced to restrict mobility or paralyze its economy during 2020, since the first serious upturn of cases occurred in the middle of the austral summer, when up to 1,514 cases were registered on January 14 of this year, without losing much tracking capacity, according to reports from the National Emergency System (SINAE).
Regarding the vaccination campaign against COVID-19, Mujica, president of Uruguay between 2010 and 2015, said that it could have started much earlier if the Government had negotiated for the Russian injectable Sputnik V, the same one applied in Argentina.
The Government was phenomenal at the beginning with the measures it took and applauses, that’s great. And we took a nap and got relaxed, and in a country of three million inhabitants we fell asleep on the issue of the vaccine, reality overtook us and that has a cost, he pointed out to Radio Sarandí.
We had the opportunity to start vaccinating three months ago and we let it pass because we were confident or for ideological reasons, he said and then added: ”For an ideological issue or out of hatred for (Vladimir) Putin we let it pass.
Fewer registered people than expected to get the vaccine
Uruguay's Minister of Health, Daniel Salinas, announced that between Monday and Wednesday of this week some 55,000 people were vaccinated and there are another 20,000 registered to be vaccinated between Thursday and Friday to receive the Chinese Coronavac. This means that only 75,000 of the 143,000 qualified persons registered for this first round of vaccinations will have been vaccinated. There will be 117,000 doses left over.
In the first stage of the program, only police, military and education personnel could receive the vaccine.
In another interview with radio M24, Mujica ironized in reference to what he understands as government propaganda linked to the vaccination: Some big media criticized Argentina for the noise they made when the first plane loaded with Sputnik V vaccines arrived, with an almost football-like story and, however, shortly after, here, they even made noise with the Hercules that went to pick up some refrigerators”, said the 85 year-old former president.