Claudia Sheinbaum is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a close ally of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
During her swear in ceremony as the first woman to be elected as mayor of Mexico City on Wednesday, the leftist Claudia Sheinbaum announced her first set of promises including the disappearance of the controversial anti-riot police corporation known as “granaderos.”
Sheinbaum, 56, explained her decision as a tribute to one of the demands of the 1968 student movement, in line with the “democratic and peaceful essence” of the political force that came victorious out of the July 1 elections, and aiming to prevent “the use of armed forces to repress the people.”
“The Police’s responsibility is to take care of the people, not to repress it. The transition period starts now,” said Sheinbaum during the ceremony.
In 1968 a large-scale student movement, supported by unions and large sectors of society, was threatening the Olympic Games. In response, then president Gustavo Diaz Ordaz and his right hand Luis Echeverria ordered their repression and the October 2 Tlatelolco Massacre.
“The then-president Diaz Ordaz said the terrible phrase: ‘We’ve been tolerant but everything has a limit.’ A month later the student massacre was ordered,” said Sheinbaum.
The Granaderos Metropolitan Police’s purpose is to “preserve public order” and control crowds during protests, evacuations, sports and religious events.
Members of the disappearing corporation would be integrated into other security forces or public or carry out civil protection duties.
Sheinbaum also announced the creation of new citizen security and civil protection commissions starting January, holding regular meetings with National Security cabinet of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Other promises include support for the victims of the 2017 earthquakes, including subsidies and economic funds for reconstruction; public hearings with citizens regularly; to expand the public transportation network; more schools and sports centers; and a mid-term revocation referendum just as Lopez Obrador promised he will also do.
President Lopez Obrador was right next to her during the ceremony, sparking an uproar in support despite his silence.
She was the chief of Tlalpan, one of Mexico City’s south delegations, at the time of the devastating earthquake in September 19. Many neighbors from the area and political opponents accused her of corruption for granting construction permits to the Enrique Rebsamen College in which 19 children and seven adults died.
Sheinbaum denies any responsibility and has shown willingness to help the earthquake victims, as the previous government decided to grant loans to victims instead of providing them with economic support for reconstruction.
With studies in physics and energetic engineering, Sheinbaum formed part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. She has been involved in politics for years and is a close ally of Lopez Obrador, serving as the city’s Environmental Minister when he was the mayor.
Showing a more sober attitude than Lopez Obrador, Sheinbaum claims she likes to write her own speeches and to reflect thoroughly on her political strategies before making promises to the public.