First Female President of Mexico – Who Is Claudia Sheinbaum

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (right) raises the hand of Claudia Sheinbaum | Image Credit:
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (right) raises the hand of Claudia Sheinbaum | Image Credit:

Claudia Sheinbaum, nicknamed “la Doctora” due to her impressive academic background, is a physicist who holds a PhD in energy engineering. She was also the mayor of one of the most populated cities in the world and a member of the United Nations panel of climate experts that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

She also made history on Sunday by being the first woman and Jewish person to be elected president of Mexico.

In the most significant election in Mexican history, Sheinbaum received around 60% of the vote, a remarkable victory in a mostly Catholic nation renowned for its strongly patriarchal society.

With his social welfare policies that helped many Mexicans escape poverty, departing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador—who, according to surveys, was the leftist Morena party favorite—will be succeeded by the 61-year-old.

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Sheinbaum declared in an early Monday morning speech, “Our responsibility is and will always be to take for every single Mexican without difference.” “To continue creating a just and wealthy Mexico, we will need to walk in peace and unity, even though many Mexicans do not entirely agree with our objective.”

Sheinbaum’s parents fled the Holocaust by emigrating from Europe, and she was born in Mexico City in 1962. She would later work in the city in a variety of capacities for many years.

She got involved in student politics while pursuing her undergraduate degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), participating in demonstrations against the privatization of public education. Following graduation, she pursued her studies in energy engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where she obtained a Master’s degree and fluency in English. She then went back to UNAM to pursue her doctorate.

Sheinbaum first got involved in politics in 2000 when Obrador, who was the leader of the city’s administration at the time, designated her as Mexico City’s environment secretary.

Sheinbaum devoted herself to the study of energy after stepping down from the position in 2006; she joined the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was a member of the group that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

She was elected as the first female leader of Mexico City’s Tlalpan district in 2015 and held that position until 2017. She became the first woman to lead the whole city’s administration the following year and remained in that position until June 2023, when she announced her intention to run for president.

Sheinbaum is the parent of two kids and one grandkid. Her spouse, Jesús María Tarriba, whom she met while studying physics at university, works at the Bank of Mexico as a financial risk analyst.

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What difficulties are ahead?

Mexico would have most certainly re-elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador, one of those few leaders who is known just by his initials, AMLO, along with JFK and JDR, had the constitution permitted it. Some have questioned if Sheinbaum will be able to effectively separate herself from her longstanding ally after riding the wave of AMLO’s popularity.

Journalist Jorge Zepeda, one of Sheinbaum’s biographers, has contended that Sheinbaum will probably unveil her platform piecemeal once she takes office. She will likely begin by acting as “the faithful disciple of the leader,” then give “glimpses” of her own agenda while being careful not to inflame unrest among the movement’s core supporters.

Zepeda has, however, also pointed out glaring distinctions between the two leads. Zepeda remembered asking Sheinbaum what makes her different from other politicians, as she mentioned in an article for the Spanish daily El Pais. She informed him, “I’m someone who bases decisions on the data.”

Zepeda suggested, however, that Obrador may compromise facts in order to uphold party allegiance. He stated, “If (a piece of) data gets in the way, another piece is picked,” yet Sheinbaum submits to the science’s direction.

Although Obrador had a strong mandate from the public and an outstanding track record of reducing poverty, his tenure as prime minister was tainted by his refusal to take on cartels head-on and instead allowed the violence to grow out of control.

This election has been the deadliest in Mexico’s history, and violence has been a major theme. Criminal groups have murdered several political candidates and applicants in an effort to sway the election of people in positions of authority.

Mexico has one of the worst rates of violence worldwide, and the nation still has over 100,000 unaccounted-for missing persons. Furthermore, statistics indicate that around ten women are murdered in the region each day, making it a terrible location for women to live.

Regarding Mexico’s security and organized crime problems, Sheinbaum has to move swiftly, according to Will Freeman, a fellow for Latin American studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The governing party’s apparent overwhelming victory in reelection is astounding. The issue is that, in light of the widespread violence, the opposition didn’t appear to have put together a much more plausible set of suggestions for what they would do, according to Freeman.

It’s unclear if Sheinbaum can duplicate her team’s track record of enhancing security on a national level, Freeman added. Sheinbaum brings with her a team from her tenure as mayor of Mexico City.

Ties between the US and Mexico

Elections will be held in both Mexico and the US in 2024—an event that only occurs once every 12 years—during a period of change in the two nations’ bilateral ties.

Just one month before Americans cast their ballots in November, when Joe Biden and Donald Trump will be running on immigration, Sheinbaum will take office.

Mexico is an important ally of the United States on several fronts, including commerce, combating drug trafficking, and immigration management. Current and past US officials expect a fruitful relationship with Mexico’s incoming president, and have repeatedly characterized President Joe Biden’s relationship with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador as cordial and professional.

However, the Biden administration is facing a difficult moment with the election in Mexico.

The United States of America has been significantly dependent on Mexico in recent months to increase immigration enforcement and assist in halting the migratory flow to the US southern border. Some Biden officials are unsure about what, if anything, would change with a crucial partner about border cooperation in light of the recent election in Mexico.

Implementing a new border executive action following Mexico’s election was one of the factors taken into account. To carry out the directive, the administration most likely needs support and cooperation from Mexico.

Given years of cooperation, officials anticipate that a new Mexican government would likely continue to work with the US on immigration; but, it is uncertain how migrants, and smugglers in particular, could plan their next course of action during a period of political upheaval.


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