Who is Claudia Sheinbaum in Mexico?

Time Of Info By TOI Desk Report   June 3, 2024   Update on : June 3, 2024

Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico’s first female president
Claudia Sheinbaum. Photo: Courtesy/Facebook

Claudia Sheinbaum, 61, is set to make history as Mexico’s first female president and its first Jewish head of state.

Polls ahead of the election showed Sheinbaum enjoying a huge lead over her rival — the conservative entrepreneur Xóchitl Gálvez.

Sheinbaum has a remarkable résumé with an environmental engineering PhD and a term as Mexico City mayor.

Yet, after nearly 25 years in the public eye, she remains an enigma, mostly known as the low-key protégé of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the charismatic leader referred to as AMLO.

The question remains whether Sheinbaum, when elected president, could step out of Obrador’s shadow and rule a violence-ridden country with fluctuating political institutions.

When Claudia Sheinbaum was just six, her parents were protesting during one of the darkest periods of the country’s modern history.

Back in 1968, the Institutional Revolutionary Party was governing Mexico with an iron fist for decades and the country was swept by large demonstrations, pressing for change.

In a horrifying event, nearly 400 students were killed by soldiers and paramilitary forces at a protest.

The tragedy only made her parents’ activism roar and Sheinbaum grew up in a family steeped in activism.

Now the clear favorite to succeed popular President Obrador in Sunday’s election said she owes much to her chemical engineer father and cellular biologist mother for her success.

They bestowed upon her a passion for politics, nature, and science, she said in a biopic released last year, directed by her son.

There, she said, she grew up with that duality — believing that politics can change the world along with a scientific mindset.

Taking a look back, it seems only natural that she went to become a student protester, a climate scientist, and later, a politician.

Sheinbaum’s values aligns with Obrador’s policies which she pledges to continue.

Sheinbaum is a middle child from a Jewish family. Her maternal grandparents had immigrated to Mexico from Bulgaria as they fled Nazi oppression in the 1930s.

Growing up in Mexico City, Sheinbaum learned to play the guitar and ballet. Such details have been used by critics to paint her as elitist and out of touch with reality.

When she was 15, she volunteered to help groups of mothers searching for their missing children.

She was an active protester in student movements in the 1980s against state intervention in education policies.

In 1995, she got a PhD in energy engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

She spent time at the University of California at Berkeley in the U.S.

Her political career kicked off in 2000, when Obrador, then-Mexico City’s newly-elected mayor, tapped her to be his environment chief.

She got the role of chief spokesperson for Obrador’s first campaign for president in 2006, which he narrowly lost.


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