In Mexico City and the surrounding areas, the response of the state has caused exasperation and anger. Outside the capital, in smaller towns in the state of Puebla, for example, no official help has arrived at all; citizens are left to coordinate relief themselves. But in parts of Mexico City where massive volunteer efforts got underway immediately after the quake—such as in the central neighborhoods of Condesa and La Roma, where multiple buildings collapsed—the military later arrived and cordoned off damaged blocks, kicking out volunteers and refusing to provide further information. This has created what one journalist called a “struggle” between the military and civilians, many of whom argue that the army and marines, with their heavy equipment and top-down approach, care little about finding survivors and have done nothing to communicate with those looking for their loved ones. The marines are also coming under blame—together with the PRI-aligned Televisa television network—for stoking the false story of “Frida Sofia,” the non-existent student who was supposedly trapped in a collapsed elementary school.
Elsewhere, aid collected by volunteer groups is being channeled by a state agency known as the DIF, which is headed by the first lady and the wife of the interior minister, and is nominally responsible for family welfare programs. That is, rather than distributing government aid, the agency appears to be appropriating aid collected by citizens in order to distribute it under their banner. A widely circulating video showed aid trucks arriving in Morelos from the state of Michoacán forcibly diverted by police from their intended destination to the DIF headquarters, where huge stores of supplies sat undistributed, officials said, because they did not have bags.
–Christy Thornton, In Mexico, Solidarity Versus the State (23 Sep. 2017)