«We are talking about more than a million victims of violence, that was the balance, since the absurd war to deal with violence was declared; more than a million victims, family members and those who lost their lives.»
These were the words of the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, at his morning conference on February 4, which he dedicated to the topic of victims and search for missing persons.
She repeated the figure on 10 May, when the mothers of the missing marched to demand justice, and on 27 April, after promising support to the relatives of 13 people massacred in Minatitlán, Veracruz.
However, there is no record of where that fact came from.
Animal Politician asked for transparency the Office of the Presidency, with application 0210000035619, made in February, the explanation of that calculation, databases or documents clarifying how many of those victims were killed, missing or other types of victim, and how many relatives.
The answer was that it is not within your competence to have that information. Even after a review appeal with the National Institute for Access to Information (INAI), Chair reiterated in June that it was not competent to have the information, when the president had already said it twice.
The most he suggested was to look for the data in three institutions that might have it: one was the National Victims Register, run by the Executive Commission on Victim Care (CEAV), but it only has 20,000 people; another, the National Register of Missing and Unlocated Persons, of the Ministry of the Interior (Segob), which had 40 thousand but has been outdated since April 2018.
Finally, the National Register of Unidentified Defaultpersons and the National Forensic Data Bank, by the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic (FGR), but the latter had not even been created yet.
As this case, the president and his government’s assertions abound that there is no evidence or documents, and even transparency states that information does not exist.
A year after rule, the Federal Public Administration as a whole has declared 14,801 times the figure of «non-existence» of documents, according to INAI statistics. In the first year of Enrique Peña Nieto as president it was answered that the information was non-existent to 5 thousand 659 applications and in that of Felipe Calderón, at 3 thousand 850.
Councillor Joel Salas warned in a video posted on his social media that this president’s style has prompted citizens to make more requests for information than in previous six years. But he called for a restraining of declaring non-existences.
This increase is clear in the requests made particularly to the Office of the Presidency: with Calderón there were a thousand 733 in its first year, with Peña mil 907, and with López Obrador they climbed to 3 thousand 723.
But non-existences also rose from 84 and 98 with the former, to 382 today. Whereas in the past two six years they accounted for 5% of the total responses, they are now 11%.
These are other examples of claims that there is no evidence, more than what the president has said.
Children’s Stays that had irregularities
In early February, the government announced that child stays, a program of the then Secretariat for Social Development (Sedesol), would no longer be given money today for Welfare, to provide daycare services to families who do not have it as a benefit, and that that money better would be given directly to mothers.
The move caused great controversy because it left a programme that covered 329,000 children from 313,000 children who did not have other day care centres or resources to pay for private care as a work benefit.
The government justification for cancelling the subsidies was that there were numerous irregularities, and the undersecretary of welfare, Ariadna Montiel, gave concrete example of stays that had 15 children but charged for 30, or that 97,000 children enrolled were not located on the premises.
Animal Político requested the Welfare Secretariat for the list of children’s stays that had inconsistencies, what they were and where they were located.
The answer was that the irregularities had been reported by the Federation’s Superior Audit (ASF) and that, in any event, the System for Integral Family Development (DIF) be asked what failures were in the oversight, training and Certification.
Evidence of corruption at The Texcoco NAIM
The signs that there was corruption around the construction of Mexico’s New International Airport (NAIM) in Texcoco have been multiple, since López Obrador was in a presidential campaign.
For example, when in the transition period he ensured that the grounds of the old airport would be used to make a kind of Santa Fe, or a contradiction starring in April with the Secretary of Communications and Transport, Javier Jiménez Espriú, who said that the project had not been cancelled for corruption, and the president dissented it by assuring that there was.
But López Obrador himself had denied at his january 8 conference that there was evidence to file a complaint.
Derived from that day, a citizen requested all the documents to support the president’s statements. The response was classified in the category «information is publicly available», although when opening the detail, it was explained that the unit used that option of the platform to be able to give a broad answer, but declared «non-competition» and suggested Secretariat of Communications and Transport (SCT).
This led to a discussion of inAI’s plenary, in which it was argued that the Office of the Presidency does «have the powers to provide the president with the information and data necessary for his activities, decision-making or message-making,» so he had to hand over the documents that underpin his sayings.
After that, at least two other citizen applications were filed to learn about the information regarding corruption in the NAIM, the 021000060319 in March and 0210000106819 in April.
The answer, then, was to declare «non-existence» of those documents.
Who goes and what is discussed in Cabinet meetings before mornings
López Obrador inaugurated his presidency by convening daily press conferences at 7 a.m. that are preceded, he said, by meetings with the Security Cabinet, to analyze daily the criminal incidence and make decisions on how fight it.
Other members of your team also attend these meetings, depending on the topic that day, or if there are any points to discuss.
In February, Animal Político requested the list of attendees to these working meetings, and both the Technical Secretariat of the Security Council and the Private Secretariat of the President and the Voice of the Government of the Republic said that they had no information on them.
Following a review appeal, on the grounds that it is in the public interest to know who is involved in daily decision-making, INAI decided that this information could also have been sought in the archives of the Headquarters of the Office of the Presidency, in the Coordination of presidential chronicle and in the Coordination of Advisers of the President, so he ordered to modify the given response.
But in July, five months after the original request, the unit again declared «non-existence» of the lists of attendees to those meetings.
Another request made in May, the 210000129419, requested the minutes, reports, diagnoses or other materials generated from those meetings. She was turned over to the President’s Private Secretariat and the Technical Secretariat of the National Security Council.
The answer, once again, was that any proof of these morning meetings at the National Palace does not exist.
The Help, the security body that cares for the president
One change in the current presidency is that the security provided to him by the Presidential General Staff was removed. Instead, López Obrador reported from before taking office, that he would be cared for by a body made up of 10 women and 10 men called «Help».
However, to multiple requests about who is made up of that group, what training they have, what salary they receive, what item pays their expenses, what they travel in, what their official appointment is, etc., the answer has always been the same:
«No document related to each of the data concerning the ‘Help’ could be identified.» A response already made official by the Transparency Committee so that everything asked about it is declared «non-existence».
The only thing to which an answer was offered was to a question with first and last name about its coordinator, Daniel Asaf Manjarrez, who was reported to belong to the Institutional Liaison Coordination, with a salary equivalent to that of undersecretary of state level H1 (and referred to the official decree stating that this level receives a gross salary of 153 thousand pesos).
There were 30% of airmen in the government or who were on support without
On June 26 at the morning press conference, when a journalist questioned that they were at risk of dismantling programs from the Mexican Radio Institute (IMER), the president replied that adjustments were necessary because too much was spent government without justification.
«Were there airmen in the government, President?—, questioned you.
«Yes. In all cases, in censuses that are carried out, it is found that as 30%, or people who supposedly received support and did not exist, he said.
Animal Político called for these censuses for transparency from the Office of the Presidency, in application 210000189219. The answer was that the issue was not within its competence and cited a resolution of INAI itself that «there is no legal provision imposing the duty on this obligated subject to count con the supplies or documentary support on the topics covered in speeches and public messages of the Holder of the Federal Executive». Finally, he suggested directing the question to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP).
In the face of an appeal for review, INAI reversed that response and forced the Presidency to respond again, but the result was the same: that it did not have such censuses.
For its part, the Treasury also responded to the request 000600356419 that it had nothing about it in its archives and that it is not even among its legal obligations to have such documents, in addition to denying that the Presidency signal meant that it had the data.
After a review appeal that prompted INAI to revoke that response, on 4 November, four months after the information was requested, it formally declared its «non-existence».
Salary returned to the Treasury
On December 18, López Obrador stated that since the previous president’s salary was still in force and the cut he asked for to receive only 108 thousand pesos per month was still in force, he made a refund to the Federation Treasury for 22,313 pesos of his first fortnight.
A citizen asked in application 021000010101418 to inform the Treasury of the movement and receipt. Presidency replied that both were non-existent.
The department of National Palace that Calderón built and its adaptation
Although López Obrador even moved and at a morning conference taught the plans, there does not appear to be any official information about its construction and conditioning for the current president’s family.
To the request for information 0210000189319 on the dimensions and furniture of that department, The Presidency replied on 9 August that it had no documentation, so in one appeal it was made to see that the President himself had submitted ten days earlier, on 30 July, the plans and measures.
In view of this, he replied: «the area to be inhabited within the National Palace comprises 300.11 m2 distributed in two rooms, a study, a kitchen and a dining room, an area that was already impacted since the sixteenth of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa».
Although it ignored the questioning of furniture, so INAI reversed that response on 6 November and to date there is no new one.
Another application, the 210000188319, was about the cost of adequacy of the department for the current president and his family. Also in this case Presidency replied that it did not find «documentary evidence of any erogation that meets the applicant’s request».
But INAI pointed out that at the morning conference on June 18, López Obrador said that the adaptations had been «the minimum,» «a general cleanliness and paint,» so he demanded that the unit report on it at least.
Chair of the Board used its Transparency Committee to declare «non-existence» on such information.
In addition, a citizen requested, with folio 0210000207719, reports, documents and contracts of the works undertaken in the sixteenth of Calderón to install a department in Palacio Nacional. But even on this data from the past, the response of the current Office of the Presidency was that the information did not exist.
So you only know about the department what López Obrador has said in his lectures.
As in the case of the department, the president has personally released data that by transparency is denied to citizens.
The Presidency has received on several occasions requests for information on the vehicles in which López Obrador is transferred, in particular on the white Jetta(s) he used since the transition and even earlier, in the presidential campaign, he became famous for the dents he came to suffer when people crowded to try to greet his main passenger.
At application 0210000124419, for example, which specifically gave the plates that have been seen to be used by two Jettas in which it travels, 625-YPH and M30-AHW, the president’s office responded in May that both the Private Secretariat and the Directorate-General for Material Resources and General Services reviewed in their files, and found no information on those vehicles.
But in June, a month later, López Obrador showed photographs of the driving cards of those cars and revealed that they are in the name of his private secretary, Alejandro Esquer Verdugo.
Where do the coffers that eat or eat López Obrador come from?
The doubts of citizens who have been left unanswered are not only about controversial statements or government decisions.
In front of several photos of the president on his social networks in which he shows Mexican breakfast or food coffers, alone or accompanied, there have been anyone who asks where these dishes come from, how much is spent on food at Palacio Nacional, and whether they are prepared by a chef, cook or domestic worker.
Unfortunately for anyone who had a craving for a presidential meal, the answer was that the information the respect is non-existent.
What we do in Animal Político requires professional journalists, teamwork, dialogue with readers and something very important: independence. You can help us keep going. Be part of the team.
Subscribe to Animal Politician, receive benefits and support free journalism.#YoSoyAnimal