By KELIN DILLON
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) formalized his appointment of Pedro Mario Zenteno Santaella to the head of Mexico’s Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE), leaving his former position as the head of the state-owned drug distributor Biological and Reagent Laboratories of Mexico (Birmex) available to be filled by retired General Jens Pedro Lohmann Iturburu, filling yet another high-ranking government position with a military man.
While changing possession of public offices in the middle of a six-year presidential term normally would need approval by the executive or federal authorities, Secretary of the Interior Adán Augusto López instead gave his blessing to the change during a private ceremony on Wednesday morning.
Before ascending to the head of Birmex, Lohmann Iturburu served years in the Mexican army, entering military college at age 14 and eventually working his way up to general. Lohmann Iturburu spent the 1980s helping fight drug trafficking in Sinaloa as a part of Operation Condor, and likewise participated in Mexico’s Olympic Pentathlon in the Moscow Olympics.
Within the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), Lohmann Iturburu has served as the military and air attaché deputy out of Moscow in the Commonwealth of Independent States consisting of Rwanda, Poland and Romania, as the director general of the Administration of Presidential Air Transport, the commander of the Battery of Honors of the Corps of Presidential Guards and the commander of the 1st and 2nd Artillery Regiment and the Military Artillery School. Lohmann Iturburu eventually ascended to commander of the IV Military Region based in Monterrey, Nuevo León, after his predecessor, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, was appointed as head of Sedena.
Prior to his appointment to Birmex, Lohmann Iturburu was serving as ISSSTE’s Regulatory Director of Administration and Finance, though has fully assumed the role at Birmex as of Wednesday’s ceremony.