Mexico’s Marines will be taking control of seven airports across the country, with Mérida and Cancún among them.
On the Yucatán Peninsula, the change is scheduled to take place as early as this month when security responsibilities will be taken by the Marines from Mexico’s National Guard.
The transition has already taken place in Mexico City’s Benito Juarez Airport, in Terminals 1 and 2.
Other affected airports include those in Cozumel, Tapachula, Kahua (Chichén Itzá) and Tuxla Gutiérrez.
It has also been announced that members of the armed forces will be taking control of customs security in Progreso’s port.
“We are taking these measures to safeguard security while at the same time fighting off privatization and freeing up resources for important infrastructure projects,” said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Since assuming the presidency, López Obrador has relied heavily on Mexico’s armed forces for several key infrastructure projects and to offer security.
This is despite his criticism of past administrations for “militarizing” the country.
Like in the United States, Mexico’s president also serves as the country’s commander in chief, giving him full discretion over the armed forces.
Critics noted that the relationship AMLO has forged with the armed forces is too close for comfort and raises significant constitutional concerns.
Though Mexico’s armed forces are not without scandal or controversy, they remain one of the institutions most trusted by Mexicans, according to a recent poll by El Financiero.
The institutions with the lowest levels of trust in the country include political parties, followed by the state police, justice ministers, and municipal officials.
Soldiers at the Customs Office in Progreso
Since July 2020 President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the militarization of the country’s customs and ports. In October of that year, Rear Admiral Armando Caballero Vázquez was appointed as the new administrator of the Progreso Customs. Since mid-August, Vice Admiral Jorge Carlos Tobilla Rodríguez has been the general director of the Comprehensive Port Administration (API).
Both retired officers of the Secretary of the Navy-Navy of Mexico replace two civilians.
The API was in charge of Agustín Arroyo Toledo since January 22, 2019. The Customs (with jurisdiction in the port of height of Progreso and the airport of Mérida) was in charge of Ronald Hernán Sánchez Celis. From March 17 he replaced Guillermo César Calderón León. The latter in January was fired. In May, he was denounced by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance for alleged acts of “laundering” money.
Sánchez Celis left office in August, following the fact that in mid-July the president announced that the country’s ports remain in the hands of Semar.