MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico City’s mayor announced Thursday that 6,060 National Guard officers will be deployed to the city’s subway system after a series of incidents.
Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said a spate of mechanical problems in recent months may have been caused by “out of the ordinary” causes. Sheinbaum seemed to suggest, but not say, that some form of sabotage might be involved.
“In recent months, there have been incidents that we classify as irregular,” Sheinbaum said, adding that she had asked President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to send paramilitary nationals to Guard officer, he agreed.
Guards will be stationed at subway stations and “a number of other facilities” in the transit system and will stay there “for several months,” Sheinbaum said.
She did not explain how the Guard, largely drawn from the military and assigned to law enforcement, helped contain what appeared to be caused by maintenance, design or operational flaws.
The accident on the city’s subway has been an embarrassment for Sheinbaum, who is considered the likeliest candidate for López Obrador’s Morena party to succeed him in the 2024 election. Like the president, Sheinbaum has often attributed setbacks to a conservative conspiracy against her.
The most recent incident occurred on Saturday when two subway trains collided between stations, killing one person and injuring dozens. Local media reported that the section of the track had previously experienced signal problems.
In May 2021, a subway elevated section collapsed, killing 26 people and injuring nearly 100 others. An investigation blamed structural failures on building defects, and 10 former officials were charged with manslaughter, wounding and property damage, but no one was jailed.
Poor welding, lack of maintenance, antiquated electrical systems, and the city’s frequent earthquakes and soft soil conditions have all been blamed for problems with the subway in the past, but damage has never been cited as a cause.
But in the past few days, Sheinbaum said, three “irregular” issues have been found on the subway cars or tracks, including a tire failure that “has just been checked.” The city’s subway cars run on both tires and rails.
The Mexico City subway system has 226.5 kilometers (141 miles) of track and 195 stations. It serves an average of 4.6 million passengers per day.