EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The President of Mexico will be in Juarez on Friday to discuss the COVID-19 situation and other issues affecting the border, the Office of Gov. Javier Corral said.
Corral said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador asked him to join in during his one-day visit to Juarez. The two men faced each other off last fall over how to pay a water debt to the United States under a 1944 treaty. Lopez Obrador ended up transferring water rights from an international reserve to the U.S., but the last time he came to Juarez he made it a point to exclude Corral.
“We have a program and, of course, I will accompany him. This time we were invited and I will welcome him. The president will always be welcome in Chihuahua, beyond political or democratic issues,” Corral said on Thursday.
Corral plans to ask Lopez Obrador for additional COVID-19 vaccines. So far, only health workers and elderly with underlying health conditions have received vaccines in Juarez and Chihuahua City. The governor said he’s been told vaccines would be available for all adults in the state by April. “That would be great news,” he said.
The political reconciliation between the President of Mexico and the opposition party governor of the country’s largest state also involves money. Corral last year complained the federal government didn’t send back adequate funds to the state, and now is asking Lopez Obrador for additional funds for health services and for a pension plan for state employees.
“We are under tremendous pressure and we need the federal government’s support,” Corral said.
The two men are also scheduled to discuss elections, which are coming up this summer.
The governor’s office did not say if the two leaders will discuss the migrant situation – Mexican border cities are now not only fielding the arrival of migrants headed to the United States, but also receiving hundreds of Mexicans and international citizens expelled under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 order.
The City of Juarez on Thursday afternoon was holding a planning meeting to cope with the spiraling number of migrants expelled by the U.S. to Juarez. Mayor Carlos Ponce Torres’ office said the city is preparing to use a school gym in south Juarez to temporarily hold migrant families expelled out of El Paso and is looking for other venues to accommodate an even larger number of people.