Expertise, continuity, and political alignment: Mexican president-elect Claudia Sheinbaum shapes her incoming cabinet

Sheinbaum’s appointees are characterized by meritocracy, continuity from the previous administration, and loyalty to her and MORENA party.

June 29, 2024 by Pablo Meriguet
Some of Claudia Sheinbaum's cabinet appointees. Photo: Claudia Sheinbaum

Mexico’s president-elect Claudia Sheinbaum announced the first two rounds of cabinet appointments this past week. As of now, Sheinbaum has selected academics, former employees of international organizations, members of her government in Mexico City, and some secretaries of state of the current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

In this sense, Sheinbaum intends to form a progressive cabinet that brings together profiles with qualified technical skills, loyalty to her and to MORENA (Sheinbaum’s political party), experience working in the State, political relationship with international organizations, and continuity from AMLO’s administration.

So far, there have been no major political surprises in Sheinbaum’s decisions, in the sense that she did not choose political profiles outside the social democratic tendency that characterizes MORENA.

Who are Sheinbaum’s new secretaries?

One of the most important profiles in the cabinet is Marcelo Ebrard, appointed Secretary of Economy by Sheinbaum. Ebrard has demonstrated loyalty to López Obrador, serving as the Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 2018 to 2023 when he stepped down. In 2023 he participated in MORENA’s internal consultation process to select its candidate for the presidency of Mexico, but ultimately lost to Sheinbaum. After temporarily breaking with MORENA, he decided to support Sheinbaum and come back to the party.

The current coordinator of Claudia Sheinbaum’s transition team, Juan Ramón de la Fuente, an important academic, was selected as the future Secretary of Foreign Affairs (Foreign Minister). He served as Mexico’s representative to the United Nations in AMLO’s government, which gives him significant experience in international relations.

Rogelio Ramírez de la O will remain as the head of the Secretary of Finance, a position he currently holds in López Obrador’s government. Sheinbaum saw in Ramírez de la O certain important technical capabilities. With this decision, Sheinbaum also seeks to give continuity to certain projects that Ramírez de la O has led.

The Ministry of Health will have as its top representative the doctor and researcher David Kershenobich, who studied and worked at Mexico’s prestigious UNAM and has also been president of several medical associations in Mexico, which suggests he is familiar with the social and political situation of physicians and health workers in the country. The renowned researcher has also published around 500 advanced studies in leading medical and scientific journals across the world.

Likewise, Julio Berdegué Sacristán was chosen as the future Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development; Berdegué is an engineer with expertise in rural development and issues related to the economy of small producers. Like other future Secretaries of State, he has experience working for international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, among others.

Another profile that marks MORENA’s political continuity is Alicia Bárcena, currently Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, but who will now be Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources, a position related to her academic background (she is a biologist and has a master’s degree in Ecology). She was also Ambassador to Mexico and Chile and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Raquel Buenrostro, the current Secretary of Economy, will be the new Secretary of Public Administration. Like Bárcena, Buenrostro is an important figure that Sheinbaum does not want to lose, so she has moved her to refresh her political profile.

These names are joined by university professor Edna Vega, who will be the new Secretary of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development. Ernestina Godoy, former head of the Attorney General’s Office, will serve as Sheinbaum’s legal advisor. Renowned biologist Rosaura Ruiz, who already accompanied Sheinbaum while she was Head of Mexico City, was selected as Secretary of Science, Humanities, Technology and Innovation. Luz Elena González, another former Sheinbaum collaborator in Mexico City, will be Secretary of Energy. Similarly, Jesús Antonio Esteva, former Secretary of Works and Services of Mexico City, was selected by Sheinbaum as the new Secretary of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation.

Sheinbaum will be sworn into office on October 1, 2024.