By KELIN DILLON
Mexico’s expanding military, under the lead of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), has seen its trust increased by 32.4 percent already in the first quarter of 2021 since the end of 2020, according to a report published in Reforma.
Figures show the Military Equipment Administration and Payment Trust (Fidape) received 15.8 billion pesos in funding just from January to March of this year, increasing the trust’s holdings to over 64.4 billion pesos.
Meanwhile, four government organizations AMLO repeatedly has requested to eliminate due to being “too expensive,” the National Electoral Institutes (INE), National Institutes of Access to Information (INAI), the Federal Telecommunications (IFT)Trust and the Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece), will collectively only spend 29.8 billion pesos throughout all of 2021 based on their appropriated budgets.
With the time period extended from September 2020, or the beginning of Mexico’s electoral process for the upcoming June midterm elections, to March 2021, the Fidape reportedly had an income of 34.4 billion pesos, funding higher than the total annual budget of 10 of the nation’s secretariats.
At the end of the previous administration’s six-year term, the 2007-created military trust only had 5.4 billion pesos in its coffers, an amount which has increased over 13 times in the less than three years López Obrador has been in office.
In the case of AMLO’s party, the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena), losing the majority in the Chamber of Deputies after this summer’s elections, the Fidape trust could be used to fund his personal priority projects like the Tren Maya, Santa Lucia Airport and Dos Bocas Refinery which otherwise may not be given budgetary expenditure with shifted congressional power.
It should also be noted that Mexico’s military is both in charge of the aforementioned projects’ construction and is set to receive all the profits generated from their use, at least in the case of the train and airport, only further bolstering the trust’s funds.
The Fidape trust was also controversially created directly by the Secretariat of Defense (Sedena), instead of by law of congress, circumventing any legal repercussions for stacking the military’s funding.