In the midst of an inevitable crisis that has produced the expansion of the swine flu epidemic, the conspiracy theories couldn't be absent: it turns out that, as was published, that there is an international conspiracy regarding the topic or the information is being hidden in Mexico, without comprehending that before a situation of this magnitude the information of what is happening in our country is being monitored by international organizations and by epidemiological institutions from other nations and there's no way to hide it. The authorities have been criticized for not acting with swiftness, when in reality the same day that it was known that the virus that was affecting the population and causing atypical cases of influenza was new and unpredictable, which is to say, only on Thursday, that same night emergency measures were taken. It's true that some international laboratories began to analyze the situation days earlier and warned the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and the World Health Organization, that something was happening in Mexico and the South of the United States, but it was until last Thursday that there was a confirmation that the virus was new and unknown. It has been said that, as a show of that government irresponsibility, there was a stock of a million vaccines against the flu in a country of one hundred million inhabitants. The problem is that this is an atypical illness and the vaccine doesn't block it from infecting because it is concocted to attack other viruses and the traditional period of vaccination against the flu is between October and November. In other words, even if there were one hundred million doses of the vaccine, they wouldn't help address the illness. What is important is that there exist medicines that actually can cure swine flu (antiviral drugs) and there is an adequate supply of these. It has even been said that in reality everything is a media construction to distract us from the economic problems and the consequences of the fight against drug trafficking, as if the national and international media could be part of a conspiracy of this type.One hesitates to mount a response to such insane theories, which are emerging with increasing frequency here. Fernández point about the media is a good one, but the problem is the people who espouse conspiracy theories have no faith in the media, reserving their confidence for the crackpot email chains that have been piling up in my mailbox. Another point, which also is surely insufficient for conspiracy theorists, is that this distraction hasn't helped the government in the least. Quite the opposite: as Fernández points out, the estimated loss in commerce in Mexico City alone this weekend was roughly $200 million, and lingering fears will limit international tourists for months, if not years. This will make the economic recovery, which is vital to Calderón's agenda over his last three years, much harder. If this is all a fabricated distraction, who is coming out ahead?
A wag-the-dog strategy relies on the government drowning one embarrassing episode (supposedly a sex scandal in the Clinton years) with another that will rally the country behind the government (attacks on Baghdad). That pattern --something embarrassing and inconsequential replaced by something ostensibly noble and very consequential-- doesn't fit here. It would be more like if the Clinton White House aimed to make us forget about Monica by setting up a murder in the Oval Office.