At the gates of the Chamber of Deputies, a group of dozens of researchers and human rights defenders put their hands to their heads last Tuesday. The legislators had approved the extinction of 109 trusts with which a trail of public institutions dedicated to the scientific, cultural and sports development of the country was financed. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador celebrated the measure that seeks to recover income urgently to balance the budget for the year in a context of economic recession exacerbated by the pandemic. Untouchable funds remained off the list, which not only have not been affected by the cuts, but have also benefited the most during this government: reserves for the Army.

“The serious thing about all this is that we observe how at the end of 2019 we burn our savings and deliver a bag of resources to the Army. And with the increase, their margin of independence and autonomy increases, because instead of the resources being returned to the Treasury, thanks to the trust they maintain control ”, explains the association’s researcher, Leonardo Núñez. The Government’s strategy for the elimination of the 109 trusts was, in addition to recovering the 68,000 million pesos of these items (more than 3,000 million dollars), to grant the Treasury the power to distribute those resources next year. Something that has not happened with the Army trust, which accounts for almost half of the total proceeds.

Of these four trusts, the one for the purchase of military equipment is particularly striking, since it has 30,193 million pesos, almost the total of all that Sedena receives. A fund that, according to , was used in 2012 for very different purposes, such as aircraft maintenance, the expansion of a parking lot, as well as to prevent surpluses from being returned to the Treasury. The body concludes in its report that the fund “lacks formal procedures that regulate the registration, control and monitoring of resources.”

The opacity of the Army has been evidenced on other occasions, such as the concession to build the Santa Lucía Airport, under the order of the president, of which no data has been made public to date and any information protected in the national security appeal. The president pointed out in his press conference on Wednesday that “those who are defending the trusts are defending corruption.” But he has not explained, however, why one of the funds with more public resources is maintained, which has also been indicated by the Audit.

The same opponents of the elimination of the 109 funds acknowledge that not all trusts operated in a transparent and regulated manner. “But in the case of the Sedena trusts, which are excluded from the list of those eliminated, it shows the enormous discretion of the president to decide which ones are and which ones are not, without carrying out a more detailed analysis”, explains José Roldán Xopa , professor in Administrative Law and researcher at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE), one of the institutions affected by the disappearance of funds. “There is an inverse logic to what should be given, because to make such important decisions you have to know and then decide. Here it is happening the other way around. That is the risk of making decisions on the knees, little thought out, where prejudices are more important than reasoned decisions ”, Xopa adds.

The deputy of the Citizen Movement, Martha Tagle, pointed directly to the Army fund in the middle of the controversy over the disappearance of the 109 trusts. “It seems terrible to me. They prefer to eliminate the funds that attend to the situation of human rights victims, which was precisely because of this war. We have a large number of victims, disappeared, of extrajudicial executions … And it is incredible that these victims are unprotected and, on the other hand, the Sedena is respected ”, denounces the deputy in an interview with this newspaper.

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