Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has stated that Mexico is spending too much and needs to tighten its belt. He has also said that due to years of corruption, the Mexican budget and coffers are in shambles. His first order of business will be to try to get the books straightened out and figure out where all the money is going, and if they really need everything that they are buying.
One of the first areas that Obrador has identified in the budget as needing a closer look and overhaul is in military expenditures. The current administration had requested the purchase of military hardware from the U.S. that was approved by the U.S. State Department in April. Among the order was the purchase of Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopters at a cost of $1.36 billion USD. Reuters reported that Obrador has stated that this order will be canceled once he takes office because they simply cannot afford them.
In 2016, the latest year statistics are available for, a full 56 percent of all military material imported by Mexico came from the U.S. El Pais notes Mexico’s economic growth has been slowly shrinking during the Trump administration, meaning that according to their analysts, Obrador is correct in stating that Mexico really can’t afford to continue spending on new military hardware every year, particularly if it is imported.
Another consideration for Mexico when it comes to military spending is how much military aid the U.S. will be providing. USA Today had the amount of aid Mexico was receiving from the U.S. at $320 million annually at the end of the Obama administration. With Trump slashing the State Department budget, there is less money to go around, and Mexico is one of the countries receiving less aid now, but the exact amount of the reduction has not been made public as of yet.
Aude Fleurant, a SIPRI analyst who specializes in Latin American affairs, chimed in, agreeing that without Mexico knowing whether Trump will continue providing aid, or cut off aid altogether as he has threatened during stump speeches in the past, has left the Mexican government in a bit of a lurch.
“Until now, Mexico has received vast amounts of military aid from the United States, but nobody knows what will happen with those donations from now on.”
Obrador has not announced canceling any other orders for military hardware from the U.S. specifically, but it has been hinted by Olga Sanchez, his pick for the Interior Ministry, that nothing is sacred when it comes to getting the budget in order. All corruption and wasteful spending must be exposed and addressed and Mexico must live within its means.