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Security in Mérida Under Threat: Saidén Ojeda’s Departure Leaves a Void

- June 10, 2024

The recent news that Yucatán’s Secretary of Public Security, Luis Felipe Saidén Ojeda, will not continue in his position has sent shockwaves through the state’s security circles. The 69-year-old police chief, who has led the force for over two decades.

The decision is unrelated to political reasons: the powerful security chief already has some health problems, typical of age. The fact that the next governor comes from Morena does not influence his decision, his loyalty to his current superior, the PAN governor Mauricio Vila Dosal, and his respect for the PRI governors who kept him in that public position.

He is 69 years old, 23 of which he has held the leadership of the police with four governments, three from the PRI and one from the PAN. Money is the least of his worries: he has formed an empire in the passenger transport and towing (cranes) sector and has a lifetime pension, which he can make effective if he considers it, as soon as he finishes his term as an active official.

In fact, he has been preparing Alejandro Ríos Covian and Commander Carlos Flores Moo for his succession. However, if the security advisor to Díaz Mena, the former prosecutor Héctor Cabrera Rivero, declines that position, the head of police would come directly from the capital of the country and will have the approval of the military.

The imposition of commands from the center could trigger a security crisis in Yucatán, as happened in Campeche and Quintana Roo, where Morena also governs.

In political circles, the disagreements during the campaign are still fresh: first, at a rally in Kanasín, the now president-elect Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo suggested that Saidén Ojeda was not contemplated in Díaz Mena’s project, who showed great closeness with the former prosecutor Héctor Cabrera; the latter had confrontations with the police chief in the government of Ivonne Ortega Pacheco.

In police circles, it has been revealed that the current Secretary of Public Security of Yucatán, Luis Felipe Saidén Ojeda, will not continue for a new six-year term in that position. The decision is unrelated to political reasons: the powerful security chief already has some health problems, typical of age. The fact that the next governor comes from Morena does not influence his decision, his loyalty to his current superior, the PAN governor Mauricio Vila Dosal, and his respect for the PRI governors who kept him in that public position.

He is 69 years old, 23 of which he has held the leadership of the police with four governments, three from the PRI and one from the PAN. Money is the least of his worries: he has formed an empire in the passenger transport and towing (cranes) sector and has a lifetime pension, which he can make effective if he considers it, as soon as he finishes his term as an active official.

In fact, he has been preparing Alejandro Ríos Covian and Commander Carlos Flores Moo for his succession. However, if the security advisor to Díaz Mena, the former prosecutor Héctor Cabrera Rivero, declines that position, the head would come directly from the capital of the country and will have the approval of the military.

The imposition of commands from the center could trigger a security crisis in Yucatán, as happened in Campeche and Quintana Roo, where Morena also governs.

In political circles, the disagreements during the campaign are still fresh: first, at a rally in Kanasín, the now president-elect Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo suggested that Saidén Ojeda was not contemplated in Díaz Mena’s project, who showed great closeness with the former prosecutor Héctor Cabrera; the latter had confrontations with the police chief in the government of Ivonne Ortega Pacheco.

To calm the waves that this situation created, Díaz Mena and Saidén Ojeda ended up posing ‘casually’ at a crossroads, but the conflict did not stop there: media affiliated with the police chief broadcast a video of Díaz Mena’s first campaign for the governorship making strong accusations of political harassment and espionage against his family, and without hesitation accused Saidén of both crimes.

Moreover, although his daughter Jessica became a federal deputy with Morena, Commander Luis Felipe does not forget that when Luis Omar Saidén Quiroz, his eldest son, was involved in a tragic accident on Paseo de Montejo and Díaz Mena, as a federal deputy, demanded the resignation of Saidén Ojeda as head of the extinct Secretariat of Protection and Road Safety (SPV).

In 2012, when Díaz Mena ran as a candidate for the PAN to the governorship, he accused Saidén Ojeda of operating in favor of the PRI, to burst the election and favor Rolando Zapata Bello, who won the contest.

And this Thursday the news spread like wildfire: in an act of solidarity, Luis Felipe Saidén Ojeda confirmed to his first circle of collaborators, his decision not to continue as police chief, so that the change of government does not take them by surprise. He confided to his close ones that he already feels the fatigue that comes with being at the head of the largest dependency in the state. For health, he needs to rest.

The above, coupled with the health problems he has been dragging, which even led him to consult specialists in Houston, Texas, United States.

Díaz Mena has stated on several occasions that he would invite Commander Saidén Ojeda to his cabinet, however, according to his close circle, he would reject the invitation as he did in 2001, when Patricio Patrón Laviada invited him to his team, on that occasion his resignation was out of loyalty to the PRI and Víctor Cervera Pacheco.

Saidén Ojeda’s departure comes as a significant blow to the state’s security apparatus, which has enjoyed relative stability under his leadership. His departure could create a power vacuum that may be exploited by external forces.

The situation is particularly concerning given the fact that Saidén Ojeda was a strong advocate for the state’s security and had earned the respect of the public and politicians alike. His successor will have big shoes to fill, and it remains to be seen whether they will be able to maintain the level of security enjoyed by Mérida in recent years.

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