Claudia Sheinbaum

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Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo (born 24 June 1962) is a Mexican politician, scientist, and academic who is the president-elect of Mexico, the first woman to be elected to the position. She is a member of the left-wing National Regeneration Movement (Morena).

Claudia Sheinbaum
Sheinbaum in 2024
President-elect of Mexico
Assuming office
1 October 2024
SucceedingAndrés Manuel López Obrador
Head of Government of Mexico City
In office
5 December 2018 – 16 June 2023
Preceded byJosé Ramón Amieva
Succeeded byMartí Batres
Mayor of Tlalpan
In office
1 October 2015 – 6 December 2017
Preceded byHéctor Hugo Hernández Rodríguez
Succeeded byFernando Hernández Palacios [es]
Secretary of the Environment of Mexico City
In office
5 December 2000 – 15 May 2006
Head of GovernmentAndrés Manuel López Obrador
Preceded byAlejandro Encinas Rodríguez
Succeeded byEduardo Vega López
Personal details
Born
Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo

(1962-06-24) 24 June 1962 (age 61)
Mexico City, Mexico
Political partyMorena (since 2014)
Other political
affiliations
Party of the Democratic Revolution (1989–2014)
Spouses
(m. 1987; div. 2016)
Jesús María Tarriba
(m. 2023)
Children2
Parent(s)Carlos Sheinbaum Yoselevitz (father)
Annie Pardo Cemo (mother)
EducationNational Autonomous University of Mexico (BS, MS, PhD)
SignatureClaudia Sheinbaum - Wikidata
Scientific career
FieldsEnergy conservation, energy policy, sustainable development
InstitutionsNational Autonomous University of Mexico

From 2000 to 2006, Sheinbaum served as secretary of the environment under future president Andrés Manuel López Obrador during his tenure as head of government of Mexico City. She was mayor of the Tlalpan borough from 2015 to 2017 and was elected head of government of Mexico City in the 2018 election, where she ran a campaign that emphasized curbing crime and enforcing zoning laws.

A scientist by profession, Sheinbaum received her Doctor of Philosophy in energy engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has authored over 100 articles and two books on energy, the environment, and sustainable development. She contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and in 2018 was named one of the BBC's 100 Women.

In June 2023, Sheinbaum resigned from her position as head of the city government to seek Morena's presidential nomination in the 2024 election. In September 2023, she secured the party's nomination over her closest opponent, former foreign secretary Marcelo Ebrard. In June 2024, Sheinbaum won the Mexican general election in a landslide. When Sheinbaum assumes office, she will be the first female president of Mexico and the first president from a predominantly Jewish background.

Early life

Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo was born on 24 June 1962 to a Mexican Jewish family in Mexico City. Her paternal Ashkenazi grandparents emigrated from Lithuania to Mexico City in the 1920s. Her maternal Sephardic grandparents emigrated there from Sofia, Bulgaria, in the early 1940s to escape the Holocaust. She celebrated the major Jewish holidays at her grandparents' homes.

Both of her parents are scientists: her mother, Annie Pardo Cemo, is a biologist and professor emeritus at the Faculty of Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and her father, Carlos Sheinbaum Yoselevitz, was a chemical engineer. Sheinbaum has two siblings. Her older brother, Julio, is a physicist and physical oceanography researcher at CICESE. Her younger sister, Adriana, is a teacher who lives in the United States and is married to director Rodrigo García Barcha.

Academic career

Sheinbaum studied physics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where she earned an undergraduate degree in 1989. She earned a master's degree in 1994 and a Ph.D. in 1995 in energy engineering.

Sheinbaum completed the work for her Ph.D. thesis between 1991 and 1994 at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. While working for the laboratory, she analyzed the use of energy in the Mexican transportation sector and published studies on the trends in Mexican building energy use.

In 1995, she joined the faculty at the Institute of Engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She was a researcher at the Institute of Engineering and is a member of both the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores and the Mexican Academy of Sciences. In 1999, she received the prize for best UNAM young researcher in engineering and technological innovation.

In 2006, Sheinbaum returned to UNAM after a period in government and began publishing articles in scientific journals.

In 2007, she was a contributing author to the "Industry" chapter of the WG3 (Mitigation) report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4AR and in 2013, a lead author for the chapter in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Early political career

Sheinbaum has been reported as an active supporter of Colombian guerrilla movement M19 during her youth.

During her time as a student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Sheinbaum was a member of the Consejo Estudiantil Universitario ("University Student Council"), a group of students that would become the founding youth movement of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

 
Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena meets with Sheinbaum at the Cibeles Palace.

Sheinbaum served as the Secretary of the Environment of Mexico City from 5 December 2000, having been appointed on 20 November 2000 to the cabinet of the Head of Government of Mexico City, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. During her term, which concluded in May 2006, she was responsible for the construction of an electronic vehicle-registration center for Mexico City. She also oversaw the introduction of the Metrobús, a bus rapid transit system with dedicated lanes, and the construction of the second story of the Anillo Periférico, Mexico City's ring road.

López Obrador included Sheinbaum in his proposed cabinet for the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources as part of his campaign for the 2012 presidential election. In 2014, she joined López Obrador's splinter movement, which broke away from the mainstream left-wing party, the Party of the Democratic Revolution.

Mayor of Tlalpan

From the end of 2015, Sheinbaum served as the mayor of Tlalpan. She resigned from the position in 2017 upon receiving the nomination for the candidacy of the mayor of Mexico City for the Juntos Haremos Historia (Together We Will Make History) coalition, consisting of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), the Labor Party (PT), and the Social Encounter Party (PES).

Chapel demolition

On 29 April 2016, during Sheinbaum's tenure as mayor of Tlalpan, city staff were ordered to demolish a wall that had been built illegally adjacent to a chapel (Capilla del Señor de los Trabajos) in Tlalpan's Cultura Maya neighborhood. The workers instructed to demolish the wall also destroyed part of the chapel's structure, including its sheet-metal roof, and removed religious images. Juan Guillermo Blandón Pérez, the parish priest, alleged that Sheinbaum was responsible for the demolition of the chapel and claimed that it was carried out without prior notification.

Days after the chapel's demolition, borough authorities acknowledged their error. Sheinbaum met with representatives of the church and proposed dividing the property in half to build a new chapel and a community art center.

Enrique Rébsamen School collapse

 
Earthquake damage to the Enrique Rébsamen School

The Colegio Enrique Rébsamen, a private school in Tlalpan, collapsed during the 2017 Puebla earthquake, killing 19 children and seven adults. In September 2016, during Sheinbaum's term as mayor, the city's Institute for Administrative Verification had ruled that the school's building infringed zoning regulations and was built higher than was allowed and that the owner, Mónica García Villegas, had presented falsified documents. Sheinbaum faced criticism for not providing a complete account of the permits for the school's land use, construction, and operation. Enrique Fuentes, a lawyer representing the deceased children's parents, stated that the mayor had an obligation to take action but had failed to do so, allowing the school to continue operating.

2018 campaign for the Head of Government of Mexico City

 
Election results by borough in the 2018 election for the Head of Government of Mexico City

In August 2017, Sheinbaum participated in a poll by the National Regeneration Movement to determine the party's candidate for the Head of Government of Mexico City. The other contenders were Martí Batres, Mario Delgado, and Ricardo Monreal. Sheinbaum secured first place with 15.9% of the vote, beating her closest opponent, Batres, by 5.8 points. On 5 December 2017, Sheinbaum resigned as mayor of Tlalpan in order to register her precandidacy.

At her campaign launch on 1 April 2018, Sheinbaum prioritized fighting crime, stating that she would hold regular public hearings, publish reported crime statistics, and rely on the Security Council for guidance. She committed to generating 1 million jobs during her term, maintaining the universal pension for seniors, and expanding the Mexico City Metrobús system to connect the city's outskirts with the center.

During the campaign period, Sheinbaum was accused by members of Por México al Frente of being culpable for the collapse of the Colegio Enrique Rébsamen, a private school in Tlalpan, during the 2017 Puebla earthquake.

On 1 July 2018, Sheinbaum was elected to a six-year term as the Head of Government of Mexico City with 47.08% of the vote, defeating six other candidates.

Head of Government of Mexico City (2018–2023)

 
After taking charge as head of government, Claudia Sheinbaum went to the Teatro de la Ciudad to present her cabinet.

On 5 December 2018, Sheinbaum was inaugurated as Mexico City's head of government. She became the first female head of government and the first to come from a Jewish background.

Crime and policing

Sheinbaum addressed security concerns through four key axes: addressing root causes, integrated with her education policy, which included initiatives like the Rosario Castellanos Institute of Higher Studies and the Pilares community centers; enhancing the quality and quantity of police forces; expanding intelligence and investigative capabilities; and improving coordination between the Attorney General's Office, mayors, and the Secretariat of Security and Civilian Protection.

In the first 52 months of Sheinbaum's term, Mexico City saw 5,078 homicides, a figure higher than those recorded under the administrations of López Obrador, Marcelo Ebrard, and Miguel Ángel Mancera. Despite this, Sheinbaum successfully reduced the homicide rate from 17.9 per 100,000 people in 2018 to 8.6 in 2022.

Education

As part of her administration's education policy, the Mi Beca para Empezar ("My Scholarship to Start") scholarship program was created for 1.2 million students from preschool to secondary education and later elevated to constitutional law in Mexico City. The Rosario Castellanos Institute of Higher Studies and the University of Health were created. In addition, community centers called pilares ("pillars") were established in marginalized neighborhoods and towns to promote arts, sports, education, and cultural activities.

Environment

In June 2019, Sheinbaum announced a new six-year environmental plan. It includes reducing air pollution by 30%, planting 15 million trees, banning single-use plastics and promoting recycling, building a new waste separation plant, providing water service to every home, constructing 100 kilometers of corridors for the exclusive use of trolleybus lines and the Mexico City Metrobús system, and constructing and installing solar water heaters and solar panels.

Public transport

In September 2019, Sheinbaum announced a 40 billion peso (US$2 billion) investment to modernize the Mexico City Metro over the next five years, including modernization, re-strengthening, new trains, improving stations, stairways, train control and automation, user information, and payment systems. The construction of 200 kilometers of bicycle paths, six bicycle stations, 2,500 new bicycles for the Ecobici system, subsidies for public transportation, and the introduction of the Cablebús cable car system in the Iztapalapa borough have aimed to alleviate traffic congestion and improve transit.

Social issues

In 2019, Sheinbaum implemented a gender-neutral uniform policy for students in state-run schools, allowing them to wear uniforms of their choice regardless of gender. In 2021, Sheinbaum removed a statue of Christopher Columbus from Mexico City's Paseo de la Reforma as part of what she referred to as a "decolonization" exercise.

Crisis management

COVID-19 pandemic response

Shortly after the first COVID-19 case in Mexico City was confirmed on 28 February 2020, Sheinbaum addressed the city, emphasizing that although the risk was low, it was crucial for the population to stay informed through official sources. On 19 March, Sheinbaum urged residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of infection. She also advised those with symptoms to text a hotline for guidance instead of going to hospitals, in order to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system. On 22 March, Sheinbaum announced the closure of commercial establishments, cultural venues, sports facilities, and religious spaces.

López Obrador and Sheinbaum had differing views on the use of face masks: Sheinbaum encouraged Mexico City residents to wear face masks, while López Obrador frequently did not wear them in public.

Sheinbaum was nominated by the City Mayors Foundation for the World Mayor Prize in 2021 in North America for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico.

Collapse of Line 12 of the Mexico City Metro

At around 10:22 p.m. on 3 May 2021, several girders, part of the tracks, and two wagons of Line 12 of the Mexico City Metro collapsed between the Olivos and Tezonco stations. The casualties were 26 dead, 80 injured, and five missing. Line 12 of the Metro was inaugurated on 30 October 2012 by the Head of Government of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard, and the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón.

Engineering flaws that had existed since before the line's inauguration became worse over time, necessitating maintenance repairs over the next three years, including an unprecedented closure of the line to re-shape some sections of tracks, and to replace the rails; most of these improvements were carried out during the term of Miguel Ángel Mancera as Head of Government. On 4 May 2021, Ebrard, then serving as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, said that the work was definitively delivered in July 2013, after reviews carried out for seven months, and expressed his willingness to respond and collaborate in the event of any request from the authorities.

The Norwegian company Det Norske Veritas (DNV), in charge of investigating the causes of the collapse of Metro Line 12, detected that one of the beams that collapsed already had structural failures since before the earthquake of 19 September 2017, a factor that had caused problems in the elevated section of the line that collapsed. On 28 June 2021, Sheinbaum dismissed the general director of the Mexico City Metro, Florencia Serranía [es].

Some critics[who?] said Sheinbaum and other leaders should have worked harder to improve the Metro's infrastructure. Some political observers suggested that the political fallout from the disaster could harm Sheinbaum's candidacy in the 2024 presidential election. Alejo Sánchez Cano, editor of the Mexico City daily newspaper El Financiero, opined that Sheinbaum's responsibility was unavoidable, stating that after having been in office for two and a half years, she was negligent in failing to maintain the Metro system.

2024 presidential campaign

Nomination

 
Sheinbaum receiving a certificate confirming her as the presidential nominee for Sigamos Haciendo Historia on 19 November 2023.

On 12 June 2023, Sheinbaum announced that she would resign as head of government of Mexico City on 16 June in order to contend in the internal selection process to select a de facto presidential candidate for Juntos Hacemos Historia, a coalition encompassing Morena, the Labor Party, and the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico.

The coalition's internal process consisted of five polls conducted from 28 August to 4 September. On 6 September, Sheinbaum was declared the winner, securing 39.38% of the vote and defeating her closest opponent, former foreign secretary Marcelo Ebrard, by around 13 points. On 19 November 2023, Sheinbaum registered as the sole precandidate of Sigamos Haciendo Historia, the successor coalition to Juntos Hacemos Historia. Sheinbaum formally registered her candidacy at the National Electoral Institute (INE) on 18 February 2024.

General election

 
Sheinbaum at a campaign rally in Guadalajara.

On 1 March 2024, Sheinbaum launched her campaign at the Zócalo, outlining her proposals and emphasizing her commitment to continuing President López Obrador's Fourth Transformation policies. She pledged to passing "Plan C", a package of eighteen constitutional reforms proposed by López Obrador earlier that year, which include increasing the minimum wage above inflation, elevating social programs to constitutional law, and electing members of the judiciary by popular vote. She also proposed replicating her Mexico City security strategy nationwide, introducing a constitutional amendment to prevent reelection for any popularly elected position, and implementing new social programs for students from preschool to secondary education and women aged 60 to 64.

During debates and the campaign, Sheinbaum was accused by Xóchitl Gálvez, the candidate from the opposition coalition Fuerza y Corazón por México, of being culpable of the collapse of the Colegio Rébsamen during the 2017 Puebla earthquake, the Mexico City Metro overpass collapse, and the excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico City.

 
Sheinbaum during her victory speech on 2 June 2024.

Polls consistently indicated that Sheinbaum held a substantial lead over her main opponent, Xóchitl Gálvez. During the three presidential debates, many commentators praised her calm demeanor during provocations from Gálvez.

The election took place on 2 June 2024, with Sheinbaum being projected the winner by the INE's quick count at 11:50 CST, making her the virtual president-elect. On 6 June, final vote counts confirmed that Sheinbaum won in a 32-point landslide. She received the highest number of votes ever recorded for a candidate in Mexican history, carried 31 out of 32 states, and achieved the highest vote percentage since 1982.

Political views

Social issues

Sheinbaum has openly identified herself as a feminist, aligning her beliefs and actions with the principles of gender equality and women's rights. She advocates for the legalization of abortion, aligning her stance with broader movements aimed at promoting reproductive rights and autonomy for women. During her leadership in Mexico City, Sheinbaum championed LGBT rights by implementing a gender-neutral policy for school uniforms. In 2022, she became the first Head of Government of Mexico City to attend the city's pride march.

Economy

Sheinbaum has criticized the neoliberal economic policies of past presidents of Mexico, arguing that they have contributed to inequality in the country. She has promised to expand welfare under her presidency and intends to continue programs started by López Obrador, such as universal pension.

Environment

Sheinbaum has a background in environmental policy, having served as Minister of the Environment for Mexico City and worked on the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which would go on to win a Nobel Prize. In her tenure as Minister of the Environment, she saw a marked reduction in air pollution and created community ecological reserves. She has both spoken in favor of clean energy and in support of oil, having praised PEMEX (the nation's state-owned oil company).

Personal life

In 1986, Sheinbaum met Carlos Imaz Gispert, who later became a prominent political figure in the PRD, during his tenure at Stanford University. They married in 1987 and separated in 2016. They have a daughter, born in 1988. Through the marriage, Sheinbaum became the stepmother to Ímaz's son from a previous marriage, whom she raised.

In 2016, she began dating Jesús María Tarriba Unger, a financial risk analyst for the Bank of Mexico, whom she had known at university. In November 2023, Sheinbaum announced her marriage to Tarriba via social media.

Selected bibliography

Sheinbaum is the author of over 100 articles and two books on energy, the environment, and sustainable development. A selection follows:

  • Consumo de energía y emisiones de CO2 del autotransporte en México y Escenarios de Mitigación, Ávila-Solís JC, Sheinbaum-Pardo C. 2016.
  • Decomposition analysis from demand services to material production: The case of CO2 emissions from steel produced for automobiles in Mexico, Applied Energy, 174: 245–255, Sheinbaum-Pardo C. 2016.
  • The impact of energy efficiency standards on residential electricity consumption in Mexico, Energy for Sustainable Development, 32:50–61 Martínez-Montejo S.A., Sheinbaum-Pardo C. 2016.
  • Science and Technology in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, 14:2 – 17. Imaz M. Sheinbaum C. 2017.
  • Assessing the Impacts of Final Demand on CO2-eq Emissions in the Mexican Economy: An Input-Output Analysis, Energy and Power Engineering, 9:40–54, Chatellier D, Sheinbaum C. 2017.
  • Electricity sector reforms in four Latin-American countries and their impact on carbon dioxide emissions and renewable energy, Ruíz- Mendoza BJ, Sheinbaum-Pardo C. Energy Policy, 2010
  • Energy consumption and related CO2 emissions in five Latin American countries: Changes from 1990 to 2006 and perspectives, Sheinbaum C, Ruíz BJ, Ozawa L. Energy, 2010.
  • Mitigating Carbon Emissions while Advancing National Development Priorities: The Case of Mexico, C Sheinbaum, O Masera, Climatic Change, Springer, 2000.
  • Energy use and CO2 emissions for Mexico's cement industry, C Sheinbaum, L Ozawa, Energy, Elsevier, 1998.
  • Energy use and CO2 emissions in Mexico's iron and steel industry, L Ozawa, C Sheinbaum, N Martin, E Worrell, L Price, Energy, Elsevier, 2002.
  • New trends in industrial energy efficiency in the Mexico iron and steel industry, L Ozawa, N Martin, E Worrell, L Price, C Sheinbaum, OSTI, 1999.
  • Mexican Electric end-use Efficiency: Experiences to Date, R Friedmann, C Sheinbaum, Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 1998.
  • Incorporating Sustainable Development Concerns into Climate Change Mitigation: A Case Study, OR Masera, C Sheinbaum, Climate Change and Development, UDLAP, 2000.

Notes

References

Political offices
Preceded by Secretary of the Environment of Mexico City
2000–2006
Succeeded by
Eduardo Vega López
Preceded by Mayor of Tlalpan
2015–2017
Succeeded by
Fernando Hernández Palacios [es]
Preceded by Head of Government of Mexico City
2018–2023
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Morena nominee for President of Mexico
2024
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