Mellado López confirmed as Health secretary
By The Star Staff
The island Senate confirmed several nominations on Monday, including that of Carlos Mellado López as secretary of Health.
Mellado’s confirmation was opposed by the Citizen Victory Movement (CVM).
The Senate in a voice vote also confirmed Ramón González Beiró as Agriculture secretary. His confirmation was opposed by the CVM and the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP).
González Beiró was criticized over his support for the use of the herbicide glyphosate and his support of using agricultural land for solar farms.
The Senate approved but without any debate the appointment of Fernando Figueroa Santiago as solicitor general and the appointment of Rafael Freytes Cutrera as commissioner of the Special Investigations Bureau. The CVM delegation voted against both nominations.
Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago, meanwhile, filed the report recommending the confirmation of Mellado that discussed his experience as a physician and former patient advocate.
Sen. José Vargas Vidot, an independent senator, supported Mellado’s confirmation citing his support for the needy.
The Health secretary is best known for his humanitarian missions, especially for the non-profit organization Haiti Stands Up, created after the 2010 earthquake that struck the neighboring Caribbean nation. He is president of the organization’s board of directors. Mellado enlisted orthopedic surgeons, general practitioners, prosthetics specialists, and physiotherapists to help Haitians.
“I am sure that the small elites of corporate medicine must be in mourning,” Vargas Vidot said, highlighting Mellado’s commitment to health.
PIP Sen. María de Lourdes Santiago Negrón said Mellado’s poise and frankness had impressed her.
“I think the Health Department is in need of someone to carry that energy,” she said.
However, CVM Sen. Ana Irma Rivera Lassén said her delegation rejected Mellado’s appointment because the delegation supports a universal health system with a single payer.
The delegations of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and the New Progressive Party voted in favor of the appointment.
“He has shown a genuine commitment to public service,” said Sen. Gretchen Hau Irizarry of the PDP, the alternate spokeswoman in the upper chamber.