Uh... feeling all right, Mr. Obama? [updated]

By what I've so far read on the newspapers, it is beginning to be clear that the Mexican government knew about the swine flu outbreak threat (confirmed death toll: 20 by now) since at least the middle of April, if not earlier— there's an article that states the private hospitals were warned about the possible threat and began to take measures since the beginning of the year.

...And yet, the Mexican government failed to warn Barack Obama or postpone his visit!

Not only that, but at the reception diner held in his onor at the National Mseum of Anthropology, he spent a considerable amount of time personally greeting —and shaking hands with— many of the guest attendants gathered for such illustrious occasion.

But wait, it gets worse:

On April 16th, Mexican Archeologist Felipe Solís greeted President Obama at the museum, where he let him admire the magnificent Aztec calendar before attending the reception diner where his guests were already gathered —among the guests were the super-wealthy business man Carlos Slim, and the Nobel prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, to name a few.

The next day, Solís began to feel an infection in his threat as well as chest pains; according to his collaborators, he dismissed it as a common cold. A mistake that turned out to be fatal.

The next Saturday he was rushed to the Metropolitan Hospital, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. The next day his condition worsened and became more dangerous due to the diabetes he had been suffering for some years. He fell into a coma and died(*) on Wednesday.

After his visit on Mexico, Obama travelled to Trinidad to meet the Statement of all Latin America; as always he showed courtesy and diplomacy, and even dared to shake hands with Hugo Chavez. The summit was considered a tremendous success by all the political analysts of the region.

Was Solís infected with the new swine flu virus? it is too early to say at this moment; an autopsy should definitely be performed.

Was Obama carelessly exposed to the virus? Again it is too early to say (**)

Would he have come to Mexico had he known about the outbreak situation beforehand? I think I don't even have to answer that one.

For my part, the level of outrage and embarrassment I feel is indescribable. Here we are, trying to creae a new relationship with the United States that helps us fight the drug cartels and solve the issues of climate change and illegal immigration, and yet we fail to inform our ally about his tiny health problem that could turn into a pandemic of catastrophic proportions.

I guess all those conservative pundits were right after all: Obama shaking hands with Chávez was a reckless gesture... for Chávez! :-(

(*) My apologies for including articles in Spanish, but at the moment this article is not mentioned in the English-speaking media; I'm sure that later on the articles will appear (in fact, I guarantee it).

(**)Manuel Camacho Solís, a Mexican politician who is the former regent of Mexico city & MIGHT have been a guest at the reception diner —so far I haven't found his name mentioned on the reception dinner reports— was admitted to a private city hospital with a case of pneumonia and a confirmed swine flu infection.

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[UPDATE: April 26th]: he head of the Health Secretary, José Angel Córdova, dismissed that the director of the National Museum of Anthropology —Felipe Solís— had died because of the swine flu virus. he assured the media the Solís, who served as the host of Obama during the reception diner held at the museum, died because of a pneumonia related to a previous disease.

Carlos Tena Tamayo, the Medical Director of the ISSTE —That's the Social Security Institute for State workers & beurocrats— wrote in a letter that Solís died because of a pneumonia aggravated by a previous sickness of diabetes, low levels of the inmmune system & hypertension.

On his letter, Tamayo explains that "the cause of death was a pneumonia bacterial origin (probably kebsiella) which doesn't have the characteristics of a viral infection".

I still would like an independent authopsy, just to be sure.

The White House has also dismissed the possibility that president Obama would have been exposed to the swine flu virus —nevertheless, I'm sure they are pretty pissed with the Mexicans.
Steve Padilla writes about this on his LA Times blog. CBS News has also covered this story.

Meanwhile, Mexican politician Manuel Camacho Solís is fully recovering from the flu infection, and he will be coming out of the hospital in a couple of days.
......

This unforgivable mistake on behalf of the Mexican government could spawn all sorts of conspiracy theories —"maybe someone in the US knew about the swine flu outbreak threat before Obama visited mexico, so why didn't they warn him? Were they trying to get rid of him???" you know the drill— Even if there's plenty of indication that there are a lot of people in high seats of the government who are not particularly loyal to Obama, we should try to approach these events soberly and not get too carried away. At this moment, I still think that the Mexican authorities were careless not to inform the hite House & the Secret Service about the possible threat of the swine flu outbreak. I mean, wha's the point on turning the hotel where obama stayed into an impenetrable bunker, if the man is exposed to a microscopic danger from unsuspected allies? I don't see a conspiracy here; I see stupidity.

... And you know what else? all this has suddenly made me think abou that stunt Bill Gates pulled off at the TED conference, where he released a bunch of mosquitoes to the audience, saying that "there's no reason why only the poor should contract Malaria" —the mosquitoes were not carrying Malaria of course, but it was a really good punch line.

So, I guess there's also no reason whatsoever why the most powerful man in the world shouldn't be exposed once in a while to a dangerous epidemic outbreak, either! :-P

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earthling's picture
Member since:
22 November 2004
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3 weeks 16 hours

Indeed there will be assassination attempts on both Obama and Chavez.

Get them both without firing a single bullet?

The evil scientists could be behind this, indeed.

And no, I am not serious. This is a lame attempt at humor.

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It is not how fast you go
it is when you get there.

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
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...is that I also thought about it for a while :)

And ultra-lamer still: That it wouldn't be surprising to hear Chavez rant about it on the news in the near future.

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It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

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DIABLA's picture
Member since:
25 January 2007
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4 years 36 weeks

Jaja no me molesto si la reina Chavez se infecta o si lo usa en el futuro para manipular a todo el mundo como siempre.

Val*

red pill junkie's picture
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El virus saltó de los cerdos a los humanos.

Todavía no puede saltar de los humanos, a los macacos! ;-)

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It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

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DIABLA's picture
Member since:
25 January 2007
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4 years 36 weeks

XD que vaina!

Val*

Inannawhimsey's picture
Member since:
14 April 2009
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1 year 11 weeks

I've never been to Mexico and I'm wondering if you can clear up an urban legend:

I heard that there is a pre-border crossing before you cross the border crossing at the Mexico/USA border?

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
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You mean, if there's a double-check at the border that pedestrians and vehicles must pass before entering or leaving Mexico?

I honestly don't know. I've never crossed the border by car. In fact I've only left the country twice —by plane.

Sorry for not being of much help.

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It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

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earthling's picture
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I used to live near the border, and went to Mexico a few times. This was from 1985 to 2004.

When I walked into Mexico, the Mexican immigration people didn't even look at me, or at anyone else. No checking of identification, no checking of what you were importing. Nothing, zilch, nada. There were officials there, but you had to approach them if you wanted something. Otherwise they just ignored you.

I sailed into Ensenada, it was the same thorough procedure - nothing whatsoever.

On the back into the US, it was the usual procedure as with most borders. Checking of identification and checking of what you are importing.

So I think it is highly unlikely that instead of the zero step procedure, there would now be a two step procedure, with all the infrastructure this would require.

Maybe this is urban legend comes from some of the peculiar procedures in Canadian airports.

When you fly into the US from Toronto or Ottawa (I've done that), and probably most major Canadian airports, you go through US immigration and customs at the Canadian airport. Yes, there are US immigration officials there (I think some of them are armed), way inside Canada.

Perhaps that is the source of the legend, in a very foggy way. Pure speculation on my part.

But there is a more reliable way to find out: ask the Mexican tourist bureau. There must be one :)

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It is not how fast you go
it is when you get there.

red pill junkie's picture
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Check here.

Upon entering Mexico, in all cases, you must fill out one customs form per family. The form will be given to you by the crew of the ship or plane, depending on your means of transport. In all other cases, it will be given to you, or you will be able to obtain it, at the
point of entry (border, airport, or seaport).
It is very important that you fill out the said form correctly, since you will be subject to a random search, and incorrect information may constitute a crime.
The obligation to declare before the customs authority applies to every individual who acts on his own behalf, as well as to the legal representatives of national or foreign
individuals or corporations, to the officials and employees of international organizations, and to the employees of messenger services who carry with them quantities that, for
such purposes, the Law indicates must be declared.
Once you have filled out the Customs Declaration Form, you may proceed to the automated selection mechanism, or fiscal traffic light. This is when it will be indicated whether a passenger must allow the customs authority to inspect his goods.
If the mechanism determines that you are subject to revision (red light), you must give the Declaration to the individual that is going to perform the inspection and open your baggage, so that what you declared on the form may be corroborated.
If the mechanism determines that the inspection will not be performed (green light), simply hand in your declaration and you may leave without undergoing further procedures.
The result of the automated selection mechanism (fiscal semaphore) does not depend on any personal criteria whatsoever; it is completely random.

Hmmm... maybe that green light mechanism is what's sparked the myth/confusion. Yeah, when you arrive to the International Airport, all passengers are subjected to the random green/red light. If you get the red light: tough luck! the custom agents will inspect everything you bring (and they will take their time).

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It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

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earthling's picture
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I am sure that the US health people, like the Center for Disease Control, the Surgeon General's office, and all the rest of them, knew about these problems in Mexico. So Obama's team would have been informed.

That is not because of some conspiracy, it is because this is their job. They are not political people, they are professionals.

To add another level of conspiracy on top of this - maybe this is an attempt on Chavez's health. Obama and Calderon conspire to slow Hugo down for a few days? And NO I am not serious.

Also the death rate from this flu is too low to make this an assassination attempt. About this one, I am serious.

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It is not how fast you go
it is when you get there.

red pill junkie's picture
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One of the things that have people scratching their heads, is why there are so many death reports coming from Mexico, and so far none from abroad. The authorities in Mexico don't have an explanation for this, and are conjecturing this might be due to the different reporting methods of other countries —e.g. they are expecting to hear death reports from elsewhere.

Are the death rates too low. Keep in mind that there's reason to suspect the figures given are lower than the real numbers.

Mexico reports 149 deaths. The Avian flu in China killed about 200+, and everybody wept their pants because of that one. And this is just beginning, the WHO raised the level threat from 3 to 4 (out of 6).

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It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

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earthling's picture
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22 November 2004
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3 weeks 16 hours

I have been following this on the news, for obvious reasons. Also for the reason that if it gets really bad, I have to be prepared to live without human contact for a few weeks. Nor that they would miss me :P

But panic aside, there are two significant differences between the cases in the US and in Canada on one side, and the Mexican cases on the other side.

There are so few cases outside Mexico that you can't really tell what the death rate is.

Another difference (please don't get upset with me) is that in Mexico City, what you folks use there instead of air makes it harder for individuals to deal with the virus, and makes it easier for the virus to spread.

But another peculiar thing is that no swines seem to have been infected with the swine flu.

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It is not how fast you go
it is when you get there.