New Leadership at the Nation’s PortsBy Pedro Alcalá | Mon, 12/07/2020 - 18:59
Today, President López Obrador announced administrative changes in key public institutions. The president appointed Ana Laura López Bautista as the new General Coordinator of Ports and Merchant Marine. This designation is the latest in a series of political decisions that have reshaped the institutional design of Mexico’s ports and their hierarchies. Specifically, this decision has given the armed forces a tighter grip on the nation’s ports.
This move started back in July, when MBN reported that the president’s plan to give SEMAR power over the nation’s custom’s facilities at all ports of entry had been rejected by SCT. At the time, the president justified his plans by stating that SEMAR could take care of ports and customs to fight contraband, corruption and drug smuggling. “We need this authority to control the ports,” he said. The president also said that discrepancies around the proposal were going to be resolved, “one way or another.” This came true when the head of SCT Javier Jiménez Espriú resigned and was replaced by Jorge Arganis Díaz Leal. In his resignation letter, Espriú was explicit regarding the reason for his exit: he disapproved of handing over civil institutions and responsibilities to the armed forces. We reported on more resignations at SCT in early August, which included that of Director General of Ports Fernando Bustamante (you can read our interview with Bustamante here).
Ana Laura López Bautista’s designation comes with a complete administrative overhaul regarding the relationship between port infrastructure and the federal government. All of the administrative, financial and material resources that SCT had access to when it came to overseeing the operation of ports, merchant marine and APIs will now be completely transferred to SEMAR, reported T21. According to a report from Reforma, this transition is expected to take six months.