Mexico’s military remains silent more than a month after the massive leak of documents from the Defence Secretariat, which was hacked by activist group Guacamaya. Defence Secretary Gen. Luis Cresencio Sandoval refused to appear at before the national defence committee in the lower house of Congress to explain the hack, then sat silently in the Senate as opposition lawmakers unloaded on him. Sen. Germán Martínez, a former PAN party leader in the late 2000s who entered the Senate with president AMLO’s MORENA party, thundered at the general:
“Those of us who have made accusations against military activities in the exercise of our legislative work do not deserve your reproach. I will not accept it. I am not your soldier, nor should we think the same way. I respect the uniform you wear, but that does not make you a better Mexican.”
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, meanwhile, continued peddling the supposition that the leaks revealed nothing of interest and the public could care less, while also pursuing a strategy of betting on public apathy as the scandal unfolds.
Sure it’s costing them enormously. Imagine how many strategists, advisors and experts – and it turned out rotten for them. They would like that we continue speaking of this, but no. Better that they apply themselves and look for some other subject because this hasn’t worked.”
At his morning presser – an exercise in transparency, according to the president – AMLO refused to allow Sandoval to speak, saying it would would “stain” the proceedings and claiming the demands made of the minister were “politicking.”
He later presented a poll from the consultancy Enkoll, claiming only 29% of Mexicans were aware of the leaks, while 72% supported the army and/or navy administering Mexico’s customs service. Some 73% said soldiers and sailors should continue performing public security tasks until 2028 and 62% backed their work in building AMLO’s landmark infrastructure projects like the Mayan Train and Felipe Ángeles International Airport near Mexico City. AMLO boasted:
“It’s a lesson because what often happens is what we see on social media is what they see in all of the country, but no.”
The leaks, however, have kept on coming, spilling the secrets of Mexico’s most hermetic institution – the Defence Ministry (SEDENA) – and confirming suspicions of politicians, public officials and security forces colluding with drug cartels. The leaks also lent credence to the idea that Mexico’s military has actively pursued power and an increased role as Mexico’s political picture – while remaining stubbornly resistant to civilian oversight.
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