MEXICO CITY >> Mexico released a trove of files from the country’s old domestic intelligence agency today, and they showed the agency was once so paranoid it even spied on members of the former governing party.
The top exhibit was the file compiled by domestic agents on current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who belonged to the Institutional Revolutionary Party in the 1970s and ’80s.
The 63-page archive consists of old intelligence documents drawn up between 1979 and the early 1980’s by spies from the now-extinct Federal Security Department.
A few reports, including some signed by the agency’s head at the time, claimed López Obrador was a local leader of the Mexican Communist Party.
One report from 1983 even claimed López Obrador was trying to weaken the then-ruling party, known as the PRI, because of his communist leanings.
“Because of his communist affiliation, he planned to weaken the PRI in the next elections” for local officials in his home state of Tabasco, according to the intelligence document.
Questioned about similar reports in March, López Obrador said: “I was not a member of the Communist Party, but I did support social activists.”
“I have always said that not everything in those files about opposition figures is true,” he said.
But López Obrador was far from an opposition figure in the early 1980s. He served in various government posts in the southern state of Tabasco. The intelligence agency apparently sent spies to political meetings to report on what was said there.
In one document, the intelligence agency approvingly reported López Obrador and others held a meeting in 1980 to praise the foreign policy of then-President Jose Lopez Portillo.
In 1983, López Obrador, working in another government agency, urged farmers who were threatening to block access roads to government oil wells to “be patient,” because promised aid programs were coming.
A decade later, López Obrador himself would be leading angry demonstrations to block the oil wells. He had left the PRI in 1988.
He won the presidency last July on his third try. Upon taking office Dec. 1, he dissolved the National Center for Investigation and Security, which had replaced the Federal Security Department, and ordered the opening up of old intelligence archives.