[As citizens inhabiting the border with Mexico, we have a duty to stay informed about both governments: theirs and ours. The following diplomatic cables about Mexico were classified Secret and Confidential. They were leaked to WikiLeaks, a site dedicated to providing information and important news to the public.
By providing access to you, I am not condoning or condemning the person who revealed this information. Rather, I want you to be informed. To quote the New York Times: “[these] documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match.”
There is no smoking gun of American Imperial diplomacy here. Rather, they are intelligent summaries of Mexico’s foreign policy, their leadership, and their ties to our allies and enemies. Much of the information here is common knowledge to well-informed citizens.
I have redacted any information that would endanger confidential informants or compromise national security. In reality, that is a pointless exercise because each cable is available on WikiLeaks.
I have also edited out routing numbers, headers and tags because they confuse the casual reader.]
SUBJECT: MEXICO REBUILDING TIES TO VENEZUELA, SLOWLY
REF: A. MEXICO 000185 ¶B. MEXICO 000886 ¶C. LIMA 000663 Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Charles V. Barclay. Reason: 1.4 (b), (d). ¶1. (C) Summary. President Felipe Calderon has attempted since taking office to repair ties with Venezuela, and the Foreign Ministry has said that Mexico is slowly making improvements. Nevertheless, several points of friction, such as the lack of a Venezuelan ambassador in Mexico City, suspicions about Venezuelan outreach activities in Mexico, and the expropriation by Venezuela of Mexican assets have prevented and probably will continue to prevent the relationship from becoming truly warm. On the Bolivarian promotion front, Venezuela is clearly conducting outreach activities in Mexico, but to what appears to be little avail. Mexico does not offer the kind of fertile ground for Bolivarian activism as do some other countries in the hemisphere. A mistrust of foreign interventionism and lessons learned from the 2006 presidential election probably will prevent the Bolivarian movement from impacting significantly the Mexican political or social scene. End Summary. Mexico Working to Strengthen Ties --------------------------------- ¶2. (C) President Calderon since taking office in 2006 has sought to repair Mexico's tattered relationship with Venezuela as part of his efforts to position Mexico to take a stronger leadership role in Latin America and conduct "respectful relations" with all nations (ref a). Despite Chavez's initial refusal to recognize the legitimacy of Calderon's victory in the contested 2006 presidential election, the two countries reinstated full bilateral ties--the Fox administration had revoked the Venezuelan Ambassador's credentials and recalled its own ambassador in Caracas--and Mexico has sought to maintain a cordial tone in the conduct of its affairs with its southern neighbor. The Calderon government responded relatively quietly even to Chavez's contentious decision to nationalize Mexican cement giant Cemex's Venezuela-based assets, expressing concern and promising to protect Mexican interests abroad, but without taking any retaliatory measures. The Foreign Ministry's (SRE) Director for South America, Rafael Bernal Cuevas, told Poloff on October 23 that Mexico's relations with Venezuela have not recovered their pre-Chavez cordiality, but that they are slowly moving in that direction. In her September testimony before congress, Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa also outlined steps Mexico had taken and continues to take to improve relations with Venezuela. A Few Bumps in the Road ----------------------- ¶3. (C) Despite the improvement in bilateral relations since the Fox administration, Bernal outlined several points of friction. He noted that Venezuela still had yet to replace former Venezuelan Ambassador to Mexico Roy Chaderton after he was named Venezuela's Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States in April. Bernal said the extended absence of an ambassador made the conduct of bilateral relations in Mexico City "uncomfortable." He also said that Mexico is not heavily involved in the Cemex negotiations at Cemex's request, but is carefully monitoring the progress of the talks. ¶4. (C) Like Venezuela, Mexico is also looking to assert its leadership in the region, particularly in Central America. Bosco Marti, the Director of SRE's Plan Puebla Panama Office, complained to Poloff that Mexico could not compete with Venezuela when it came to the kind of money it was tossing at member countries through its ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas) initiative. ¶5. (S/NF) In response to Poloff's question about press reports that Mexico would look to put an end to Miracle Mission flights into the country, Bernal said that Mexico was trying to regulate the program and codify it in official bilateral channels, rather than allowing it to be negotiated MEXICO 00003178 002 OF 004 and executed at the local level. One article had reported that the Foreign Ministry wanted flights to be registered as commercial airline and pass through appropriate security measures upon landing in Mexico rather than entering with "extraordinary permits," as had been occurring. Bernal made discreet reference to Mexican concern about the ideological component to the program, and said that at the very least, Mexican patients were returning to Mexico with the message that the Venezuelan government provided a service to them their own government could or would not. Sensitive collateral reporting suggests that the GOM as of September was concerned that Miracle Mission patients received pro-Venezuelan and anti-US briefings as part of their stay in Venezuela. The GOM was reportedly worried that such patients returned to Mexico more sympathetic to pro-Chavez themes and were more likely to participate in associated marches or rallies. Bernal mentioned the presence of Bolivarian groups in Mexico, but noted that such groups exist throughout the world and that, as a democracy, Mexico had to offer them freedom of expression. Venezuela Looking to Spread the Revolution ------------------------------------------ ¶6. (C) Mexico City daily El Universal reported in October 2007 on a purported Venezuelan government document laying out a 2007-2013 political and economic development plan which included points on strengthening alternative movements in Mexico to "break away from imperial domination" with the larger goal of rallying "the masses" worldwide in "support of the revolutionary process." In line with this strategic objective, Venezuela is seeking to cultivate support at the grassroots level in Mexico, primarily through social programs and low levels of financial and logistical support. Who Is Involved? ---------------- ¶7. (C) Analysts from the Mexican National Intelligence Center (CISEN) told Poloffs on October 2 that they have identified some 500 serious Bolivarian activists--all Mexican citizens--across the country, which are often in contact with each other and tend to be linked to larger social movements. CISEN noted that many Bolivarian sympathizers are tied back to the Red de Solidaridad con Cuba, which has been active for decades but which has appropriated Chavez's rhetoric in order to freshen its own discourse. In addition to the Cuban support networks, a chapter of the region-wide Bolivarian Continental Coordinator operates in Mexico, and other pro-Venezuela activists are linked to the Worker's Party (PT) and different student groups operating out of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). XXXXXXXXXXXX a recent XXXXXXXXXXXX confirmed to Poloff that most pro-Venezuelan student groups are run from the political science and philosophy departments, from which hailed Lucia Morett, the Mexican student who survived the bombing of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) leader Raul Reyes' Ecuadorian camp in March. He also noted that in a school with a population over 300,000, political ideologies of every persuasion are bound to be represented. ¶8. (S/NF) Minister Counselor Jaime Acosta and Political Officer Paola Holguin from the Colombian Embassy in Mexico City told Poloff that Venezuela has a considerable presence in Mexico, noting that a number of legislators (who they did not name) openly support Chavez. Sensitive collateral reporting indicates that Venezuelan officials also have regular contact with members of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), specifically Ruth Zavaleta and members of the New Left Faction, the New Alliance Party (PANAL) and the Workers Party (PT). Who Is (Maybe) Not ------------------ ¶9. (S/NF) After Chavez's public endorsement of 2006 presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador did nothing but tarnish the PRD leader's campaign, many Mexican politicians are wary of cozying too much up to the Venezuelan president. CISEN told Poloff that it has no evidence, for MEXICO 00003178 003 OF 004 example, that Venezuela currently is providing direct funding to Mexican political candidates, nor to they think it is likely in the runup to the 2009 legislative and gubernatorial elections. The analysts believe that most political leaders have learned from 2006 not to risk their candidacy by accepting Chavez's support, either overtly or covertly. Sensitive collateral reporting also indicates that the Venezuelan Embassy has been unsuccessful in building rapport with Lopez Obrador, who has reportedly decided not to establish a relationship with the GOV so as not to risk his reputation. ¶10. (C) CISEN is looking for close links between Venezuela and the more radical, violent groups in Mexico. CISEN has yet to uncover concrete links between the Popular Revolutionary Party (EPR) and Venezuela, but continues to investigate given the ideological affinity between them. What Is Offered --------------- ¶11. (C) As it has throughout the hemisphere, Venezuela seeks to woo Mexicans via social handouts to impoverished groups and modest financial support to its like-minded Mexican cohorts. CISEN reported that the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico is providing small donations to pro-Bolivarian organizations, mostly for operating expenses such as vehicles and propaganda. CISEN suspects, however, that the Embassy also provides funding for members of these organizations to travel to Bolivarian Congresses of Latin American leftist groups, such as the event Morett attended in Quito prior to leaving for Reyes' camp (ref b). ¶12. (C) Venezuela's ability to implement large-scale or effective social programs in Mexico seems limited, at best. CISEN said that Venezuela has established two medical clinics in northern Mexico, including in Nuevo Leon State, but they have yet to open for business. Moreover, CISEN reported that only a handful of Mexicans have participated in Venezuela's "Miracle Mission," which offers low-cost eye surgery to Mexicans in Venezuela. El Universal reported on October 20 that some 509 Mexicans have received treatment, which is in sharp contrast, for example, to the tens of thousands of Peruvians who have partaken (ref c) in the program. CISEN opined that, unlike some of their poorer and smaller Latin American neighbors, Mexico offers significantly more social support. The Health Secretary, for example, published figures indicating that between January and July 2008, over 26,000 Mexicans have received eye surgeries through Mexico's own programs. CISEN noted that Cuba also provides a literacy teacher training program in Michoacan, Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Tabasco and scholarships for Mexican students to study in Cuba, but that the Venezuelan and Cuban Embassies seem to operate quite independently on most matters in Mexico. ¶13. (S/NF) Venezuela's efforts are being further circumscribed by resource limitations and GOM trepidation. Sensitive collateral reporting indicates that as of early October, the Venezuelan Embassy was finding it virtually impossible to undertake pro-Bolivarian activities in Mexico--such as holding events or hosting delegations--because of lack of funding from the Venezuelan government. The Mexican government is also less than receptive to Venezuela's outreach efforts. The attempt to more strictly regulate the Miracle Mission program in Mexico, for example, probably reflects GOM suspicion as the Venezuela's goals for and conduct of the program. Comment ------- ¶14. (C) Calderon and the Foreign Ministry still appear committed to strengthening Mexico's ties with Venezuela as part of a strategy to position Mexico in a leadership role in the region and maintain friendly relationships with all its neighbors. Nevertheless, due to the ideological gap between Calderon and Chavez and several points of minor--but still significant--irritation, relations will probably continue to be less than warm. Chavez's tardiness in appointing a new ambassador to Mexico, for example, certainly has rankled the protocol-obsessed SRE, and has hampered progress on bilateral MEXICO 00003178 004 OF 004 issues in Mexico City. ¶15. (C) Venezuela is conducting outreach activities in Mexico, but to what seems to be little effect. Mexico does not offer the kind of fertile ground to Bolivarian activism as compared with some other countries in the hemisphere. A mistrust of foreign interventionism and lessons learned from the 2006 presidential election probably will prevent the Bolivarian movement from having much influence in the Mexican political or social scene. Post will continue to watch for signs that Venezuela is increasing ties to some of Mexico's more dangerous radical groups, in particular the EPR. Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap / GARZA
SUBJECT: MEXICO: TAPACHULA ARMS CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON SOUTHERN BORDER
REF: 09 MEXICO 2952 CLASSIFIED BY: Gustavo Delgado, Political Minister Counselor; REASON: 1.4(B), (D) ¶1. (SBU) Summary: Two recent arms trafficking conferences -- one in September focused on the northern border (reftel) and a subsequent one in Tapachula, looking at the southern border -- highlighted lax border controls and suggested ways to improve law enforcement efforts to stem the tide of illegal guns. This cable reports on the Tapachula discussion, and off-site trips to three different border locations, which offered dramatic evidence of the porous southern border and serious resource shortfalls, and helped focus attention on ways to help Mexico, Guatemala and Belize address shared border security challenges. End Summary. Follow Up on the Southern Border --------------------------------------------- -- ¶2. (SBU) Many of the GOM and USG law enforcement officials who participated in the Tapachula conference in October had also attended the earlier Northern Border Conference in Phoenix. This time, however, Belize's National Police and representatives from Guatemala's Attorney General's office also participated, adding a new wrinkle to the discussion by presenting an overview of arms trafficking laws in their countries and suggesting ways in which they could improve coordination with Mexico and the U.S. with regards to illegal arms trafficking. The Ground Truth: Laws Not Enough --------------------------------------------- ----- ¶3. (SBU) Each country highlighted internal controls that regulate the sale, distribution, and transport of weapons and ammunition, drawing attention to sanctions against the unlawful transport of weapons across any national boundary. Unfortunately, our visit to three border crossings between Guatemala and Mexico in Chiapas revealed neither country presently works seriously to enforce these laws. ¶4. (SBU) At the first border crossing in Talisman, Chiapas, the conference participants witnessed almost as many individuals crossing the border illegally as legally. Immigration officials conjectured that individuals crossing illegally under the bridge were either visiting family members on the other side of border or engaging in informal commerce. Although the delegation did not have an opportunity to talk with any of the individuals crossing under the bridge at the border, it appeared the majority were carrying what appeared to be personal belongings rather than items of commerce. ¶5. (SBU) The border officials made every attempt to illustrate a secure border crossing, but their explanations highlighted serious procedural inconsistencies that undermine effective controls. While border officials inspect 100 percent of the individuals and cars crossing the bridge legally, the data collected is stored in a local database that is not connected to federal or international criminal databases. Border officials are also hampered by their lack of access to national registries that would allow them to determine if the individuals crossing are on any criminal or terrorist watchlists. Mexican law allows individuals to cross the border with an "original" identification document but does not prescribe what constitutes an "original" document. As long as the individual agrees to confine one's visit to the state of Chiapas MEXICO 00000077 002 OF 003 and return to Guatemala after an undefined period of time, one is granted admission to the country. Limited resources also undermine the effort: while there are 30,000 U.S. CBP officers on the 1,926 mile Mexican/U.S. border, only 125 Mexican immigration officials monitor the 577 mile border with Guatemala. Mexican immigration officials repeatedly confirmed that they do not have the manpower or resources to direct efforts effectively along the southern border. ¶6. (SBU) The tour continued to the Ciudad Hidalgo station on the Pan American highway, the border crossing with highest number of legal crossings in Chiapas. Border officials estimated that on a daily basis 95% of all exports, 350-400 shipments; and 26% of all imports, flow through these border crossings to and from Central America. Additionally, 80-100 carloads of visitors pass through the border on a daily basis. While officials displayed an impressive array of non-intrusive inspection equipment, e.g., hand-held spectrometers for the identification of drugs and explosives and gamma-ray inspection equipment for large containers, these devices are not incorporated effectively into border control protocols. Border officials were inconsistent in using their inspection equipment to check the cabs of trucks and there is no revealed coordinated approach between Mexico and Guatemala to share information that would reduce crossing times and avoid duplicative inspections, as, for example, is being done at certain places in the Mexican-U.S. border. ¶7. (SBU) The final border crossing only served to re-inforce the concerns that emerged from the first two sites the group visited. One of the most memorable images of the day was the steady flow of rafts transporting people and goods across the river illegally within sight of the legal border crossing. Family Feuds Prevent Internal Coordination --------------------------------------------- --------------- ¶8. (C) The last part of the conference consisted of open and frank panel discussions. The most interesting discussion focused on information and intelligence sharing among Mexican agencies, including the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA), the Marine Secretariat (SEMAR), the Office of the Attorney General (PGR), and the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN). The discussion started with many self-congratulatory comments from panel members on how well their respective organizations collect and share information. The lack of coordination between federal and state officials became apparent when a representative from the Chiapas State Attorney General's Office complained that his state does not receive any information from the federal authorities and has no input or visibility in the federal process. While the state representative acknowledged a common perception of corruption at the state level, he argued it was counterproductive and illogical to exclude them from the process. Other participants recognized an acceptable process for intelligence collection, but complained about inadequate dissemination of actionable information and insufficient formal mechanisms for sharing collected information. Conclusions and Follow Up Actions --------------------------------------------- ----- ¶9. (SBU) The conference generated a list of eight conclusions, including few measurable actions. Several of the conclusions MEXICO 00000077 003 OF 003 focused on the need to explore mechanisms for better information-sharing with international partners or internally. There was consensus on the need to regionalize arms-trafficking efforts, specifically by including Guatemala in future GC Armas meetings in Mexico. Guatemalan representation pledged to review current procedures and incorporate practices that will improve interagency coordination and information. Mexico and Guatemala agreed to work on practical measures to facilitate the flow of information between the two countries on the issue of arms trafficking. Belize also suggested a formal dialogue with Mexico on increasing the number of formal border crossings between the two countries, as a way to improve border controls. Comment -------------- ¶10. (C) This conference highlighted weak controls on Mexico's southern border that are contributing to problems with illegal migration and guns/drugs smuggling. Much more needs to be done to improve secure information sharing among federal agencies and between Federal and State officials in Mexico. Better cooperation among Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize could also help coordinate current efforts by each state and ensure that existing laws are enforced. The conference represented a small first step in that direction, a follow-up meeting in February 2010 will provide another opportunity to strengthen joint efforts. FEELEY
SUBJECT: THE BATTLE JOINED: NARCO VIOLENCE TRENDS IN 2008REF: A. CIUDAD JUAREZ 22 ¶B. MEXICO 3586 ¶C. MEXICO 2371 ¶D. MEXICO 3498 ¶E. MEXICO 3779 ¶F. MEXICO 1766 Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Charles V. Barclay. Reason: 1.4 (b), (d) ------- Summary ------- ¶1. (C) 2008 set a new record for organized crime-related homicides with more than 6000 killings. Violence in Mexico suddenly provided fodder for U.S. and international media with commentators suggesting worse to come. While the death toll is already at disturbing levels, and there are no signs violence will taper off anytime soon, we will continue to evaluate information or evidence that would suggest the cartels have decided to up the ante significantly by undertaking mass-casualty attacks on civilians, systematically attacking GOM officials or institutions or targeting USG personnel. Internecine struggles among the cartels and GOM counter narcotic successes have increased the costs of doing business and account for most of the up-tick last year. Frustrated traffickers, seeking to diversify profit-making activities through kidnappings and extortion, account for more. End Summary. ---------------------------------- Drug-Related Homicides on the Rise ---------------------------------- ¶2. (C) Few killings in Mexico are thoroughly investigated, and determining which are truly related to organized crime remains an inexact science, but Mexico's Attorney General's office's year-end estimate stands at 6262. Other GOM authorities put the toll from organized crime slightly higher. SEDENA reports that drug-related killings represented roughly 17% of all homicides last year, while the National System of Public Security (SNSP -- part of the Public Security Secretariat (SSP)) estimates a total of approximately 10,700 intentional homicides. (S/NF) Table I: Organized Crime-Related Killings, By Year* --------------------------------------------- ---------- 2005 1855 2006 2489 2007 3038 2008 6380 ---------------------------------------- *Source: SEDENA (S/NF) Table II: 2008 OC-Related Killings, By Month* --------------------------------------------- ----- Jan 282 Feb 283 Mar 417 Apr 320 May 496 Jun 531 Jul 540 Aug 587 Sep 526 Oct 847 Nov 843 Dec 708 --------------------------------------------- ------ *Source: SEDENA -------------------------------------------- Spike in Violence Concentrated at the Border -------------------------------------------- ¶3. (C) Violence continued to be concentrated in a few key states, and in 2008 there was a spike in drug-related killings in the northern border territories. An estimated 41 percent of these homicides took place in Chihuahua and Baja California states and largely in two urban areas, Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana. (see MEXICO 3586). Sinaloa continued to rank among the most violent states with approximately 1048 (or 18%) of these killings. The surge in violence along the border stems largely from the intensified struggle among cartels over a few lucrative land crossings to the U.S. In particular, the January 2008 arrest of cartel leader Alfredo Beltran Leyva sparked a serious rift among the Gulf, Juarez and Sinaloa (Pacific) cartels, which is being played out viciously in Ciudad Juarez. (See MEXICO 1766) In Tijuana, rival factions of the weakened Arellano Felix Organization, one of which is backed by the Sinaloa cartel, are battling for control. -------------------------- Changes In Cartel Behavior -------------------------- ¶4. (SBU) Beyond its broadened scope, the nature of cartel violence changed in 2008: organized violence was characterized by significantly increased brutality, a callous disregard for the potential for collateral damage and more frequent targeting of soldiers and police. Mexico's drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) have also more frequently orchestrated violence to send intimidating messages to security forces, the Mexican public and the body politic. ¶5. (SBU) Incidents, such as the August beheadings of 12 in Yucatan, the execution style killing of 24 on the outskirts of Mexico City in September, late fall killings of soldiers in Monterrey and Guerrero in late December contributed to growing public unease here and garnered media attention abroad. Several first-time-ever incidents involving grenades and improvised explosive devices (such as the notorious Independence Day grenade attack in Morelia, the shooting and undetonated grenade attack on the US Consulate in Monterrey, the use of improvised explosive devices in downtown Mexico City and Sinaloa, and a grenade attack on police cadets in Jalisco) demonstrate that not only have the cartels successfully expanded their arsenals, but at least some elements have developed a tolerance for inflicting civilian casualties. ¶6. (SBU) Cartels have also expanded their use of violence to intimidate. Beheadings and the prominent placement of dismembered bodies in public places, relatively rare two years ago are now common throughout the country. The late night grenade/shooting attack on our consulate in Monterrey was obviously designed to send a message, although no individual or group has ever claimed responsibility. More explicit was the January assault on the Monterrey offices of Televisa, accompanied by a message telling the broadcaster to do a better job reporting on corrupt public officials. Attacks such as these remain sporadic so far, and we have insufficient indications whether they mark a new trend or not. ¶7. (SBU) Despite these sporadic attacks, Mexico's drug war continues to primarily impact security forces and those linked directly or indirectly to the drug trade. The civilian population in some urban areas along the border remains bunkered down with some of those who have the money either sending their children to school in the U.S. or relocating entirely to minimize risk. In much of the rest of the country, though, the civilian population not involved in the drug trade remains essentially insulated from the violence, though not from its effects. --------------------------------------------- -------- Police Killings Increase Along With Overall Death Toll --------------------------------------------- -------- ¶8. (SBU) SEDENA estimates that at least 522 civilian law enforcement and military personnel were murdered last year, compared to 315 in 2007. (S/NF) Table III: Drug-Related Military/Police Homicides: 2007* 2008** (% of total) AFI 22 (6.9) 5 (1.0) PFP 12 (3.8) 37 (19.7) State Police 62 (19.8) 110 (21.1) Ministerial Police 63 (20.0) 14 (2.7) Municipal Police 120 (38.0) 305 (58.4) Military 27 (8.6) 51 (9.8) Other 9 (2.9) Unavailable --------------------------------------------- ------------- Total 315 522 CENAPI (Mexico's Center for Information, Analysis and Planning) statistics **SEDENA statistics ¶9. (C) Increased confrontations between security forces and criminals is one explanation for the increasing killing of security forces personnel. GOM authorities argue that killings are no longer just score-settling among bad cops, but increasingly the consequence of the government's aggressive fight against the cartels. Some analysts we have spoken to agree. However, they also note that with few exceptions the majority of deaths are not the result of direct confrontations. They argue that the crackdown on police corruption has put compromised police officials in the position of either being prosecuted or breaking their established agreements/arrangements with the cartels. Hence, some of those who presumably choose the latter course are being punished brutally. (See MEXICO 2371, 3498) ¶10. (SBU) It is worth noting that police victims (at all levels of government) represented eight percent of all 2008 killings believed to be drug-related, a figure slightly lower than the percentage in 2007. The vast majority of victims continue to be state and municipal law enforcement officers. Senior level, federal police killings were still rare occurrences in 2008. The most high-profile death remains the May killing of Edgar Millan Gomez, the country's highest-ranking federal police officer. -------------------------------------- Targeting of Soldiers An Ominous Sign -------------------------------------- ¶11. (S/NF) There have been notable incidents of horrific violence against soldiers, including a string of slayings of enlisted men in Monterrey in October and the systematic decapitation of seven troops in Guerrero (see MEXICO 3779). The theory that those killed in Guerrero were rogue soldiers involved in drug trafficking has been discounted, suggesting the cartels have begun to target soldiers to exact revenge for successes registered by the military and attempt to undermine the institution's resolve. The Monterrey and Guerrero killings immediately followed successful military operations in the respective regions resulting in seizures and arrests. Whether such tactics will have a chilling effect remains to be seen. Sources tell us that while some soldiers are more fearful, many others are keen to strike back at the cartels with greater resolve. SEDENA and SEMAR have instructed regional commanders to implement force protection counter-measures to reduce the risk of future incidents. ---------------------------------------- U.S. Personnel and Institutions Targets? ---------------------------------------- ¶12. (C) We have observed a significant up-tick in threats, as well as incidents of surveillance, against USG personnel and properties over the last three months. All threats are treated seriously and precautions taken; fortunately, none has come to fruition. ¶13. (S/NF) On October 12, unknown persons fired gunshots and tossed an un-detonated grenade at the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey. The attack occurred after hours, no one was injured, and little damage occurred. No message was left and we have uncovered no useful intelligence regarding the authors or their motives. One unsubstantiated report cited a source claiming a senior Gulf cartel leader ordered the attack. However, with little hard evidence, no attempt to claim credit and no follow on incident to date, the possibility remains that this was an isolated, possibly even impulsive, attack not likely undertaken at the behest of senior cartel leaders. ¶14. (C) While the cartels have not yet directly targeted USG law enforcement or other personnel, they have shown little reticence about going after some of our most reliable partners in Mexican law enforcement agencies. Ten close DEA law enforcement liaison officers have been killed since 2007, seven of whom were members of Special Vetted Units. Similarly, within the past two years 51 close FBI contacts have been murdered. More than sixty of Mexico's best law enforcement officers in whom we have placed our trust and with whom we have collaborated on sensitive investigations, shared intelligence and in many cases trained and vetted have been murdered by the cartels. We do know from sources that cartel members have at least contemplated the possibility of doing harm to both our personnel and institutions, but we frankly don't know enough about how DTO members think and operate to know what factors might trigger a decision to mount such an attack, but the potential threat is very real. ¶15. (C) We assess that the threat to U.S. personnel could increase if the violence continues to escalate and more high-level government officials and political leaders are targeted. Also, a reaction may be triggered if traffickers perceive their losses are due to U.S. support to the GOM's counter-narcotics efforts. We will continue to monitor potential threats to U.S. personnel from organized criminal gangs and be alert to information that suggests drug traffickers increasingly see the U.S. hand as responsible for their losses. --------------------- A Measure of Success? --------------------- ¶16. (C) While attributing last year's significant spike in violence to its own successes marks an effort by the Calderon administration to put the best face possible on a grim situation, there is also considerable truth to the assertion. President Calderon's counter-narcotics team has scored significant successes, particularly in the last 12 months. Record numbers of weapons and drugs have been seized, key members of drug cartels have been arrested and/or extradited, cartel sources inside government institutions have been arrested ) including a former Deputy Attorney General and the head of Interpol in Mexico. The GOM has disrupted cartel operations in meaningful ways; in year-end reports SEDENA and SEMAR reported that together they have reduced the maritime trafficking of illicit drugs by 65 percent and cut direct air transit of illegal drugs from Colombia by 90 percent. According to collaborative sensitive reporting, the January 2008 arrest of Alfredo Beltran Leyva split the Pacific Cartel, and accentuated antagonism between that DTO and the Gulf organization which caused the spike in violence in Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and Baja California (see also MEXICO 1766). In addition to these rifts, frustrated traffickers have turned to kidnappings and extortion to compensate for the loss in drug-trafficking revenue, expanding their reach and impacting a greater number of bystanders who have no involvement in DTO activities. These kinds of impacts bring home to ordinary Mexicans the nature of the struggle here. ------- Outlook ------- ¶17. (C) Mexican authorities and law enforcement analysts predict that violence will likely get worse before it gets better. Recent truce rumors notwithstanding, there is currently no indication that the violence will soon abate; CENAPI reports 280 killings for the first 20 days of January. The cartels have shown themselves to be remarkably innovative, vicious, and resilient when aggressively confronted. Given their powerful weaponry and deep penetration of the country's security institutions, further attacks against security forces and government officials seem all but inevitable. However, while violence remains at unacceptably high levels here, we have no reason to believe at this point that it will escalate either quantitatively or qualitatively. Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap / BASSETT
SUBJECT: (C/NF) MEXICO SECURITY AND ECONOMIC TEAM
DYNAMICS (C-AL9-01454)Classified By: MICHAEL P. OWENS, ACTING DIR, INR/OPS. REASON: 1.4(C). ¶1. (C/NF) PRESIDENT FELIPE CALDERON'S SECURITY AND ECONOMIC TEAMS CONTINUE TO ATTRACT HIGH-LEVEL ATTENTION IN WASHINGTON. WITH US-MEXICO SECURITY COOPERATION CONTINUING TO EXPAND, WASHINGTON POLICYMAKERS REMAIN HIGHLY INTERESTED IN THEIR MEXICAN COUNTERPARTS. WHILE MOST SENIOR FIGURES IN THE MEXICAN SECURITY APPARATUS ARE WELL KNOWN, WASHINGTON ANALYSTS WOULD APPRECIATE CONTINUED REPORTING ON CHANGING SECURITY TEAM DYNAMICS, AS WELL AS CLARIFICATION ON SOME OF THE GROUP'S NEWEST MEMBERS WHOSE ROLES REMAIN AMBIGUOUS. WASHINGTON ANALYSTS ALSO WELCOME REPORTING ON HOW MEXICO'S TOP ECONOMIC POLICYMAKERS ARE PRIVATELY RESPONDING TO THE SOURING ECONOMY. AS TIME AND RESOURCES ALLOW AND DURING THE COURSE OF NORMAL DUTIES, WASHINGTON ANALYSTS WOULD APPRECIATE POST,S INSIGHT INTO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ON THE EVOLVING DYNAMICS OF CALDERON'S SECURITY AND ECONOMIC TEAMS. ¶A. (U) SECURITY TEAM: 1) (C/NF) WHAT ARE PERSONAL DYNAMICS AMONG THE MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY TEAM? HOW WELL DO THE PRINCIPAL MEMBERS OF THE TEAM (I.E. GENARO GARCIA LUNA, EDUARDO MEDINA MORA, GEN. GUILLERMO GALVAN, ADM. FRANCISCO SAYNEZ, FERNANDO GOMEZ MONT, AND JORGE TELLO PEON) WORK TOGETHER? UPDATED DETAILS OF GROUP DYNAMICS WOULD BE PARTICULARLY USEFUL, INCLUDING NOTABLE FRIENDSHIPS, ALLIANCES, RIVALRIES, AND SUSPICIONS. 2) (C/NF) HOW OFTEN DOES THE TEAM MEET? HAS ANY ONE FIGURE EMERGED AS A CLEAR LEADER/COORDINATOR? WHO ARE THE PRINCIPAL ARCHITECTS OF THE ADMINISTRATION'S COUNTERDRUG OPERATIONS? IN PLANNING SECURITY OPERATIONS WHO, OTHER THAN CALDERON, HAS FINAL SAY? 3) (C/NF) WHAT IS THE CURRENT MOOD AMONG TEAM MEMBERS? ARE THEY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE STATUS OF THE COUNTERDRUG EFFORT? DO THEY THINK THE FIGHT IS WINNABLE? ARE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT DISAGREEMENTS OVER THE CURRENT STRATEGY OR FUTURE PROSPECTS? HOW DOES THE TEAM GO ABOUT CREATING A STRATEGY? WHEN THE TEAM HAS A SETBACK, HOW DO THEY GO ABOUT RECOVERING? ¶B. (U) ECONOMIC TEAM: 1) (C/NF) WHAT ARE THE CURRENT DYNAMICS WITHIN THE ECONOMIC TEAM? WHO ARE THE PRINCIPAL ARCHITECTS OF THE CURRENT ECONOMIC STRATEGY? ARE ANY PERSONNEL MOVES LIKELY IN THE NEAR FUTURE? IS ANYONE ON THE ECONOMIC TEAM CONSIDERED EXPENDABLE? IS ANYONE WAITING IN THE WINGS TO JOIN THE TEAM? 2) (C/NF) HOW HAS THE ECONOMIC TEAM RESPONDED TO THE STRESS THAT INVARIABLY COMES WITH THE JOB? ARE SOME MEMBERS COPING BETTER THAN OTHERS? IS ORTIZ,S DEPARTURE HAVING A MAJOR IMPACT? IS THE NEW DEPUTY SETTLING IN? ¶2. (U) PLEASE CITE C-AL9-01454 IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF REPORTING IN RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE QUESTIONS. CLINTON
SUBJECT: MEXICO: PROMISING FIRST TALKS WITH SEDENA ON HUMAN
RIGHTSClassified By: Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado. Reason: 1.4 (b),(d) ¶1. (c) Summary: DATT, ODC Chief, DOJ Attache and Pol MinCouns met with officials from the National Defense Secretariat (SEDENA) on September 7 to discuss initiating a human rights dialogue with the Mexican military that would allow us to understand the legal process in the Mexican system of military justice and clarify specific questions with regards to alleged violations. General Lopez Portillo, the Senior Human Rights official in SEDENA and a veteran military prosecutor, was the lead official on the Mexican side, accompanied by a Director General level representative from the Mexican Foreign Ministry (SRE). They welcomed the beginning of a dialogue with the Embassy on human rights matters and proposed regular senior formal meetings (he suggested 2-3 a year) as well as working level discussions to clarify specific cases. (A list of all participants is provided in para 7). --------------------------------------------- Willing to Talk but a Dialogue Will Take Work --------------------------------------------- ¶2. (c) Although we previously had provided a list of specific questions on several cases involving alleged human rights violations through official SEDENA and SRE channels, and our meeting had been coordinated a month in advance through the SEDENA Protocol office (S2), Lopez Portillo did not receive our questions before the meeting. This was not an indication of SEDENA's unwillingness to discuss the cases, but rather reflects a lack of experience in engaging on the human rights topic and their somewhat rigid rules for transmitting information to and within the SEDENA bureaucracy. ¶3. (c) Unaware of the questions we had provided on allegations related to the specific cases, General Lopez Portillo organized a general and open agenda for the meeting, aimed at facilitating an open and frank discussion on internal legal and judicial procedures within the Mexican military. Throughout the meeting, our Mexican interlocutors were well-disposed to answering our questions and establishing a collaborative dialogue. We noted our interest in reviewing the details of some specific cases as part of an ongoing dialogue on human rights issues that would allow us to understand better how SEDENA and the Mexican legal system handled crimes involving military personnel and civilians. We provided a copy of the questions we had provided prior to the meeting and suggested a follow-up meeting to go over the cases in more detail. ------------------------------------ SEDENA AND SRE SUGGEST A WAY FORWARD ------------------------------------ ¶4. (c) SRE Director General for Human Rights and Democracy Alejandro Negrin agreed with Lopez Portillo that we should establish a formal and regular dialogue to discuss both the specific cases and larger framework of how the Mexican judicial system works in response to crimes involving military personnel and civilians. He noted relevant legal reforms and the ongoing effort by SEDENA to clarify its procedures and respond to responsible questions. Lopez Portillo noted SEDENA's interest in continuing to do more in this regard and was supportive of establishing a bi-lateral mechanism that would allow us to work together to help clarify allegations. He suggested formal senior level meetings several times a year, with working level meetings in between. ¶5. (c) Lopez Portillo promised a timely written response to the written questions we had provided earlier. He also undertook to set up meetings to review military legal procedure, particularly with regard to crimes involving military and civilians. He suggested that we work closely and collaboratively to clarify procedures and outstanding allegations, many of which he observed, were designed to cast doubt and dispersion on the Mexican military and not to establish the truth. Both sides agreed that new questions MEXICO 00002676 002 OF 002 about additional cases in the future should be provided through SRE channels with a courtesy copy given to SEDENA. The official response to specific cases would be delivered from SEDENA through the SRE. Lopez Portillo said that he was eager to work together with us to ensure that there would be a satisfactory response on all human rights allegations. ------- COMMENT ------- ¶6. (c) Establishing a productive human rights dialogue with the Mexican military will take some work and considerable fine tuning. This is not an area that the Mexican military has traditionally discussed with any outsiders. While the Mexican military has made some progress in establishing mechanisms to review human rights allegations in response to internal constitutional reforms and Mexico's international obligations, it is still a delicate subject and one they are likely to manage cautiously and not always adroitly. We are encouraged by our initial meeting but much remains to be done. We will follow up promptly with SEDENA and SRE to set up our next meeting. Lopez Portillo provided repeated assurances that SEDENA is prepared to respond in writing -- supplemented by working level discussion to clarify any questions of procedure and translation -- to our questions on specific cases. We will also expand current training and subject matter expert exchanges that could help provide SEDENA with support in their efforts to address human rights issues in a more comprehensive and transparent way. ------------ PARTICIPANTS ------------ ¶7. (c) The Mexican side was led by MG Jaime Lopez Portillo and included Col. J.J. Juarez, Section 5 DH, Ltc Marcas Burgos Legorretta, Section 5 DH, Major C.S. Lopez, and Ltc A. Santos, S-2 as well as Alejandro Negrin, the Director General of Human Rights and Democracy in the SRE. The U.S. side included Defense Attache Col. Dan Alabre; ODC Chief Col. Linwood Ham, Department of Justice Attache Tony Garcia and Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado. Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
SUBJECT: ELEMENTS OF GOM POLICY TEAM INTERESTED IN FOCUSING
TOGETHER ON IMPROVING SECURITY IN A FEW KEY CITIESClassified By: NAS Director Keith Mines, reasons 1.5 (b) (d) ¶1. (C) Summary: At a dinner hosted by PGR for a visiting DOJ delegation, National Security Coordinator Tello Peon and Undersecretary for Governance Gutierrez Fernandez told the delegation they would like to explore seriously focusing our joint efforts on two or three key cities to reverse the current wave of violence and instability and show success in the fight against the DTOs in the next 18 months. They suggested starting in Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, and one other city with a joint planning cell to review what resources we could collectively bring to bear. They believe the symbolism of turning several of the most violent cities would be potent, sending a signal to the rest of the country that the fight against organized crime can be won, and combating the current sense of impotence felt by many Mexicans. They believe it would also go a long way toward stitching up the country,s damaged international reputation. End Summary. ¶2. (U) Acting Attorney General Alcantara hosted a dinner for Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer September 21 in Mexico City. Other attendees included: GOM National Security System Coordinator Jorge Tello Peon Undersecretary for Governance (SEGOB) Geronimo Gutierrez Fernandez PGR DAG (SIEDO) Marisela Morales PGR DAG Victor Emilio Corzo Cabanas PGR Director for Analysis and Strategic Information Oscar Rocha Dobrowski US Deputy Assistant AG Bruce Swartz Deputy Assistant AG for Criminal Division Kenneth Blanco Special Assistant to the AG Paul Rosen DOJ Attache Tony Garcia NAS Director Keith Mines GOM WANTS FULL TRANSFER OF INTEL TECHNOLOGY AND TRAINING --------------------------------------------- ----------- ¶3. (C) Alcantara opened the meeting with two requests from Oscar Rocha. First, he said PGR would like to develop a more general exchange of intelligence information and capacity, not the case-by-case exchange we now have. Second, they would like for us to provide a full exchange of technology for use in intelligence gathering, not just the loan of equipment for specific cases, but the transfer of the know-how and training as well. Morales added that the FBI is helping to create a cyber-unit in Mexico but it would be beneficial if it were expanded and replicated more broadly. The SSP, she said, already has a cyber-unit but the real mandate rests with PGR-SIEDO. The U.S. side offered that there is great capacity in CCIPS in the Criminal Division and they would be happy to find ways to offer training and capacity building to their Mexican counterparts. We would be pleased, Breuer said, in the effort to press High Value Targets, to get our Mexican counterparts to the point where they can do these things themselves. It will take the development of strong trust through proper vetting and good training but it would be excellent to get to the point where there is no longer impunity for a Chapo Guzman because his operating space has been eliminated. ¶4. (C) Rocha then spoke of the technological leap about to take place in the coming years in the intelligence field. He cited the target-finding equipment used by the USMS with Mexican counterparts but asked if it would be possible to acquire not only such equipment for GOM officials, but also the training and full technology transfer that would go with it. He suggested we work with vetted units first to provide such equipment and training, and then move it out more broadly, both to PGR and CISEN. The U.S. side suggested getting together in the appropriate working group to see what could be done. Rocha reiterated that his intent would be to develop indigenous to the PGR all the capacity they currently have only in conjunction with the USMS. STRATEGIC MISCALCULATIONS IN MERIDA ----------------------------------- ¶5. (C) Gutierrez Fernandez then turned to the Merida Initiative, saying that in retrospect he and other GOM officials realize that not enough strategic thought went into Merida in the early phase. There was too much emphasis in the initial planning on equipment, which they now know is slow to arrive and even slower to be of direct utility in the fight against the DTOs. Of more immediate importance is building institutions that can effectively use the equipment. He was careful to point out that all the equipment is needed and will be put to good use, but wishes that there had been a more direct focus on institution building, and supported the current shift in Merida focus to capacity building and creating more effective institutions. "WE HAVE EIGHTEEN MONTHS" ------------------------- ¶6. (C) Gutierrez went on to say, however, that he now realizes there is not even time for the institution building to take hold in the remaining years of the Calderon administration. "We have 18 months," he said, "and if we do not produce a tangible success that is recognizable to the Mexican people, it will be difficult to sustain the confrontation into the next administration." He lamented the pervasive, debilitating fear that is so much a part of contemporary Mexican society, where even people in the Yucatan, with "European levels of security" are afraid because of the instability in a few distant cities. He expressed a real concern with "losing" certain regions. It is damaging Mexico's international reputation, hurting foreign investment, and leading to a sense of government impotence, Gutierrez said. DON,T SHY AWAY FROM THE HARDEST CHALLENGES ------------------------------------------ ¶7. (C) Gutierrez believes what is needed is a clear roadmap for the remaining years of security cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico under President Calderon that targets a few joint projects in a few cities, rather than doing a little of everything. Tello Peon agreed, suggesting that there is not time for pilot projects, and certainly not time to work in a few relatively safe cities such as Nuevo Laredo as has been suggested, in order to develop the experience to take on the real challenges. ¶8. (C) Instead, he believes, we need to confront the cities with the largest insecurity and fix them. If we could turn around Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, and one other city such as Culiacan, it would solve 60% of the violence, and send a signal to the Mexican people that the war can be won. Politically, he and Gutierrez said, Mexico must succeed in Juarez because Calderon has staked so much of his reputation there, with a major show of force that, to date, has not panned out. Even if it is not completely solved by the time Calderon leaves office, if they can get things moving in the right direction, setting the conditions for ultimate success, it will be enough. There was a brief &chicken and egg8 discussion, with one side suggesting that well-placed and effective federal forces could push back the DTOs sufficiently for the state and local forces to function, while others believed that well-functioning state and local forces will be a precondition for the federal forces to produce stability. MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER ----------------------- ¶9. (C) Gutierrez thought that to start we need a good joint assessment of organized criminal groups that makes explicit their vulnerabilities. We have, he said, five things to put into the fight: resources, training, joint operations, technology, and cooperation, and we need to mobilize effectively all of them. He especially mentioned the need to synchronize our joint efforts, citing the recent show of force the U.S. promised on our side of the border that could not be matched by anything on the Mexican side, leaving it hollow. Tello Peon suggested we form a planning cell, a few experts on each side, who could focus on a few programs in a few places for the next 2 years. ¶10. (C) In addition to the intelligence and operational cooperation that would be at the heart of the new approach, Gutierrez and Tello Peon mentioned the importance of cultural and political factors. Politically, Mexico may have a federal system, Gutierrez said, but historically it has been more centralized like Colombia or France. The federal government, however, no longer has the ability to manage the system from top to bottom. He suggested it would be necessary for success to break through the impasse produced by Mexico,s currently dysfunctional federal system and ensure programs can be synchronized with the states. Tello Peon also said there will be a need to work on the cultural factors required to produce a &culture of lawfulness8 that would mobilize the societal support necessary for success. Culture and politics will be very complex, he said, but can be made to work. A clearly articulated and strong doctrine will help get people behind the strategy. ¶11. (C) Tello Peon ended the discussion by saying he arrived at the dinner somewhat fatigued but would leave energized. He thought it was an excellent mix of people and welcomed the honest exchange of new ideas. Mexico, he summarized, is committed to staying the course, which is sustainable with a few clear successes. ¶12. (C) Comment: We will follow up with Tello Peon and Gutierrez in the coming weeks to see how committed the GOM is to the strategy of selecting a few key cities and working to turn security. If it is their strategy and they plan to execute it, we should get behind it, using the new strategic framework to build a regional program to take on the biggest challenges in key border cities. A considerable amount could be done with existing funding and a marginal increase in staffing. We would use the remainder of the calendar year for planning, and have a new series of programs ready to roll out in the new year. Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
SUBJECT: DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DENNIS BLAIR’S
MEETING WITH PRESIDENT CALDERON, OCTOBER 19Classified By: Ambassador Carlos Pascual. Reason: 1.4 (b),(d). ¶1. (S/NF) Summary. DNI Dennis Blair met with President Calderon for about forty minutes at the Presidential Palace on October 19. The bulk of the discussion focused on cooperation on intelligence sharing and the integration of operations by Mexican intelligence and law enforcement authorities. Calderon also commented extensively on political developments in Latin American and the role of the United States. While he said the United States had regained significant stature in Latin America, he also urged greater U.S. involvement in the politics of the region. Several upcoming elections will be critical in shaping the region's political course. The U.S., he said, needs to be seen as a critical player. End Summary. ¶2. (S/NF) The issue at the heart of the discussion was that Mexico must continue to improve its coordination and response capacity among its own security forces to act effectively on intelligence leads regardless of the source, including Mexico's own internal intelligence channels. Mexico's Federal Police still largely bases its operational capacity in Mexico City. The Secretary of Defense (SEDENA) is more decentralized, but has yet to define a cooperative platform to work with the Federal Police. When operations are undertaken in rural areas with difficult terrain, the complexity of moving large security operations in a short time frame may often result in targeted individuals escaping from these operations. Calderon said this situation made him "very sad," and that it was a "great mistake" on their part. Further, Calderon indicated that he would assess the possibility of creating a joint strike force capability. (Note: In separate subsequent meetings, a discussion was launched with GOM officials on the possibility of undertaking a simulated exercise that would begin to test how multiple agencies could cooperate together (septel). End note.) ¶3. (S/NF) Blair underscored that the fight against crime has to move beyond high-value targets. "Cut the head off this snake and new heads will grow." Blair said the key ingredient to success is generating community confidence to call in tips against drug traffickers. To get that, people need to feel secure -- they have to believe that the police can maintain public safety. And it also means that intelligence has to be used quickly, effectively, and responsibly. Intelligence, operations, and institutional capacity have to be interwoven. Calderon agreed. He responded, "You made it very clear. Without attacking the body as well, we can't win. And we have to create the capacity to take on the body." ¶4. (S/NF) DNI Blair asked Calderon for his perspective on political developments in the region and how the United States could continue to increase its diplomatic effectiveness. Calderon emphasized that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is active everywhere, including Mexico. He went out of his way to highlight that he believes Chavez funded the PRD opposition during the Presidential campaign nearly four years ago. Chavez uses social programs, including sending doctors, to curry political influence, and there are governors in Mexico who may be friendly to him. Calderon said that Mexico is trying to isolate Venezuela through the Rio Group. Calderon also commented that he is particularly concerned about Venezuela's relations with Iran, and that the Iranian Embassy in Mexico is very active. Calderon underscored that Iran's growing influence in Latin American should be of considerable concern to the United States, and Chavez is doing all he can to aid and abet it. ¶5. (S/NF) Calderon exhorted the U.S. to watch Guatemala and Belize, since their internal weaknesses make them vulnerable. He is concerned about Mexico's southern border, and said the GOM is starting a strategic planning process to better treat the topic. (Note: Calderon is scheduled to visit Guatemala next week. End note.) Calderon later in the meeting raised the southern border again as an area for U.S.-Mexico cooperation. Ambassador Pascual noted that the U.S. and Mexico were to hold the next day a joint conference on the Guatemala border to combat arms trafficking from the south. MEXICO 00003061 002 OF 002 ¶6. (S/NF) Circling back to Venezuela, Calderon said that Chavez has no qualms about involving himself in Latin American elections, and that he tried to do so in Mexico's own 2006 presidential contest. The region needs a visible U.S. presence, he noted. Chavez, said Calderon, will also have the opportunity to do so in a number of upcoming votes, especially Honduras. Most importantly, said Calderon, the United States must be ready to engage the next Brazilian president. Brazil, he said, is key to restraining Chavez, but he lamented that President Lula has been reluctant to do so. The U.S. needs to engage Brazil more and influence its outlook. In closing, Calderon said that there is a link among Iran, Venezuela, drugs, narcotics trafficking, and rule of law issues. The U.S. should look at Latin America from an interconnected perspective. Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
SUBJECT: MEXICO: ARTICLE 29 ‘STATE OF EXCEPTION’ —
UNCERTAIN RESULTS, FEW BENEFITSREF: A. MEXICO 3076 ¶B. MEXICO 2154 Classified By: Charge d' Affaires John Feeley. Reason: 1.4 (b),(d). ¶1. (S/NF) Summary. Defense Secretary Galvan raised recently the possibility of invoking Article 29 of the constitution to declare a state of exception in certain areas of the country that would provide more solid legal grounds for the military's role in the domestic counternarcotics (CN) fight. Secretary of Government Gomez Mont has alternately provided a different view, citing a Supreme Court decision as sufficient precedent for providing the military the legal basis for its domestic CN activities. Our analysis suggests that the legal benefits to invoking a state of exception are uncertain at best, and the political costs appear high. While the possibility of such a declaration cannot be discounted at some future date, the GOM seems far from settled on the efficacy or need for such an immediate move. End Summary. Background and Context ---------------------- ¶2. (S/NF) In an October 19 meeting with Director for National Intelligence Dennis Blair (ref a), Secretary of Defense (SEDENA) General Guillermo Galvan Galvan lamented the lack of legal basis for the military's domestic counternarcotics deployment as key to shaping the public's perception that the Armed Forces lack the appropriate authorities to conduct such operations. He noted that SEDENA is working to pass the National Security law (ref b), proposed by President Calderon in the final days of the last congressional session, to help shore up these legal foundations. Additionally, he mentioned that Article 29 of the Mexican constitution would permit the President to declare a state of exception in specific areas of crisis and give the military greater juridical scope to maneuver. In a later meeting, Secretary of Government Fernando Francisco Gomez Mont responded to questions by U.S. officials on the Article 29 issue. He contradicted Galvan's view that the military does not have legal basis for its domestic CN activities and cited a Supreme Court decision as having already set precedent (Note: Gomez Mont is almost certainly referring to a 1996 Supreme Court decision that ruled the military has the authority to operate at the request of local authorities in support of policing operations. End note.) He implied that the invocation of Article 29 does not have the legal urgency or necessity Galvan suggested, but did admit that the state of exception in places such as Ciudad Juarez "had been discussed." He said that no decision had been reached. Article 29 Text --------------- ¶3. (S/NF) The translated text of Article 29 of the constitution reads: "In the event of invasion, serious disturbance, or any other event which may place society in great danger or conflict, only the President of the Mexican Republic, with the consent of the Council of Ministers and with the approval of the Federal Congress, and during adjournments of the latter, of the Permanent Committee, may suspend throughout the country or in a determined place the guarantees which present an obstacle to a rapid and ready combating of the situation; but he must do so for a limited time, by means of general preventive measures without such suspensions being limited to a specified individual. If the suspension should occur while the Congress is in session, the latter shall grant such authorizations that it deems necessary to enable the Executive to meet the situation. If the suspension occurs during a period of adjournment, the Congress shall be convoked without delay in order to grant them." What Would Article 29 Look Like? -------------------------------- ¶4. (S/NF) The terms of the state of exception detailed in Article 29 are vague and offer little insight into how its MEXICO 00003101 002 OF 003 invocation would play out on the ground. There appears to be a great deal of leeway for the President -- with the approval of Congress -- to determine what kinds of guarantees to suspend given the nature of the emergency at hand. To paint a scenario: the GOM could elect to apply the article in a zone of perceived crisis, such as Ciudad Juarez, for the period of one year. The decree could potentially suspend rights guaranteed in the first chapter of the constitution, including freedom of expression, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, freedom of passage, or some tenets of legal due process. The military, for example, might be granted broader detention authorities. The law does not explicitly call for greater military involvement, and Gomez Mont told US officials that it is not martial law "in the way that you know it." Galvan's interest in the state of exception suggests two possibilities: that he envisions a potentially broader role for the military (at the expense, perhaps, of cooperation with other insitutions), or that he is seeking a stronger legal framework and additional legal protections to back up the military's current domestic operations. Calderon has already put the military in charge of municipal police in Ciudad Juarez and other areas in Chihuahua State. ¶5. (S/NF) The discussion of Article 29's application is highly theoretical. Gomez Mont, when asked whether a state of exception would imply the federalization of municipal authorities, acknowledged a "constitutional gray area." He admitted that municipal governments could "be limited," but said that Mexico's signature to the UN Human Rights Charter limits how far the GOM could go in suspending rights. The Limits ---------- ¶6. (SBU) The GOM does not take lightly its use of Article 29. The GOM has not, in fact, invoked it since when it declared war on Italy, Germany, and Japan during World War II. The GOM has even abstained from employing the measure during times of cataclysmic internal strife such as the 1968 student protests, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, the 1990s fight against armed uprisings in Chiapas, or the 2006 Oaxaca protests. ¶7. (C) The GOM's hesitation so far to invoke the article is due to a number of factors, which are particularly relevant given the democratic context in which Mexico now operates. Perhaps most critical, the article clearly stipulates that Congress -- meaning both Chambers -- must approve the measure and its various permissions, circumvention of rights, geographic application, and time frame, suggesting that the President's ability to achieve a state of exception under his terms would be uncertain, at best. Such a move would not be seen solely as a law enforcement procedure but as a carefully calculated move with significant political implications. President Calderon lacks an absolute majority in either the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate, and it is unlikely that his opponents would approve carte blanche significantly expanded authorities for the military or federal government. Indeed, Calderon instead might run the risk of having his hands tied by Congress, depending on the vote and final details of how Article 29 would be invoked. For example, the legislature might vote to allow the federal government to declare a limited state of exception in a crisis zone for a short period of time, asking that Calderon then return to Congress to renew the mandate. This would give Congress at least nominal oversight over the military's counternarcotics operations, a role it has sought but not had up to this point. Congress could also reject wholesale the article's invocation, which would be an embarrassing public blow to the GOM. ¶8. (C) Moreover, Calderon is negotiating with Congress on other legislation that will better serve his counternarcotics goals. Proposed in late April, reforms to the National Security Act would provide a firmer legal framework for the military's domestic counterdrug fight, give the President the power to declare a threat to domestic security and deploy the military without congressional approval. It would also provide the military with greater intelligence authorities and powers over the state and local forces in the area. MEXICO 00003101 003 OF 003 Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) contacts have indicated that they would prefer to limit presidential authority than expand it, and PRD Senator and member of the Justice Committee, Tomas Torres, has told Poloff that the reform as written is unlikely to pass. Nevertheless, such legislation permanently codifying the military's role and the President's authority to deploy it would certainly be of greater use to Calderon than would be a watered down state of exception. ¶9. (S/NF) Gomez Mont told U.S. officials during the October 19 exchange that the invocation of Article 29 would be "highly controversial," and downplayed its immediate necessity. The public relations cost of declaring a state of exception in places like Ciudad Juarez would likely be high, and almost certainly would draw increased scrutiny from the international and domestic human rights community. Moreover, a defeat by Congress of an Article 29 proposal would be seen as a public rejection of Calderon's counternarcotics strategy. Comment ------- ¶10. (C) Benefits to an Article 29 strategy would be limited. If written correctly and approved by Congress, it could give the military a temporary legal cover for its activities and perhaps allow it to focus more on operations and less on its critics. Notable Mexico legal experts have envisioned the employment of Article 29 only in the case of a "firestorm," such as local or state governments rejecting military assistance in areas where the GOM sees it as badly needed. Galvan's views are more reflective of the military's desire for legal protections on human rights and other grounds, than of any imminent legal or political challenges to the military's current domestic counternarcotics role. Clearly, Calderon is looking for new tools with which to fight increased levels of violence in places like Ciudad Juarez, but any benefits he would gain with an Article 29 state of exception would be undermined by the high political costs of such an approach. With questionable support in Congress and limited political capital, he would put at risk popular and congressional support that has given the military broad room to maneuver in the current legal framework. While the possibility of the declaration of a state of exception cannot be discounted at some future date, the GOM seems far from settled on the efficacy or need for such an immediate move.
SUBJECT: MEXICO: MORE INTERAGENCY COOPERATION NEEDED ON
INTELLIGENCE ISSUESClassified By: Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado. Reason: 1.4 (b),(d). ¶1. (S/NF) Summary. President Calderon's security strategy lacks an effective intelligence apparatus to produce high quality information and targeted operations. Embassy officers working with the GOM report that Mexico's use of strategic and tactical intelligence is fractured, ad hoc, and reliant on U.S. support. Despite their myriad inefficiencies and deficiencies, Mexican security services broadly recognize the need for improvement. Sustained U.S. assistance can help shape and fortify the technical capacity of institutions and can also create a more reliable, collegial inter-agency environment. End Summary. GOM Intel Strategy Criticized ----------------------------- ¶2. (C) Recent criticism of President Calderon's security strategy cites a poorly utilized and underdeveloped intelligence apparatus as a key obstacle to greater improvements in the country's security environment. Calderon's political opponents from both the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) have told Poloff that large-scale joint military-police counterdrug deployments, notably Joint Operation Chihuahua, have failed to make real gains in the war against organized crime due to a reliance on overwhelming numerical superiority of troops absent the strategic and operational use of intelligence. Critics argue that the more effective use of intelligence would help the security services better cooperate on counterdrug issues, wrap-up more high-level traffickers, and, eventually, curb the country's escalating rates of narco-related violence. Emboffs working with the GOM in counter-narcotics and intelligence matters similarly note that Mexico's use of strategic and tactical intelligence is often fractured, ad hoc, and heavily reliant on the United States for leads and operations. The Players ----------- ¶3. (S/NF) A myriad of GOM agencies have a stake in counternarcotics intel issues, including the Secretariats of Defense (SEDENA) and Marines (SEMAR), the Mexican National Intelligence Center (CISEN), the Public Security Secretariat (SSP), which includes the federal police, and the Attorney General's Office (PGR). Each has a different intelligence mission and varying levels of development and professionalism. As Mexico's primary intelligence agency, CISEN is the natural choice to be the GOM's coordinator of intelligence and analytic efforts. Indeed, it technically has the lead on encouraging interagency coordination and is developing mechanisms to facilitate such endeavors. For the most part, however, CISEN lacks the capacity to effectively direct the inter-agency process, particularly when it includes such institutional giants as SSP, which bureaucratically overshadows CISEN in budget, personnel, and other resource issues. CISEN's inability thus far to serve as a real leader on intelligence operations and analysis has effectively left Mexico without an effective interagency coordinator. ¶4. (S/NF) SSP is increasingly becoming a major player on the intel block. It is exploring ways to take advantage of new authorities granted under the Federal Police reform legislation passed last year to develop its intelligence capabilities. SSP can now directly solicit telephonic information from phone companies with a judicial order, bypassing the PGR entirely. It is also interested in building its own complete telecommunications intercept capability, the implementation of which has stalled over the past two years because of turf disputes between SSP and the Attorney General's Office. Moreover, as the keeper of Plataforma Mexico -- the massive new criminal database -- the SSP oversees one of the GOM's cornerstone and resource-heavy information-sharing projects. MEXICO 00003195 002 OF 005 The Challenges -------------- ¶5. (S/NF) The GOM faces a number of institutional challenges to more effectively develop, analyze, and use information for intelligence-based operations. One of the most critical of these is the lack of trust between and within GOM institutions. Emboffs report that SEDENA, for example, has well-established intel units that develop targeting packages on cartel kingpins. In general, they do not share information or analysis with forces on the ground deployed to fight counternarcotics, like in Ciudad Juarez. These units will share threat information against military components, but also see local military commands as often penetrated by organized crime. Locally deployed SEDENA forces rarely develop or utilize tactical intelligence. In fact, they have no true intel units that collect information, nor do they have professional intel corps. Military units deployed to hotspots operate virtually blind except for anonymous tips. Particularly given the fallout from the high-level corruption cases uncovered last year, PGR and SSP suffer from similar internal suspicions as SEDENA. ¶6. (S/NF) Institutions are fiercely protective of their own information and equities and are reluctant to share information with outsiders, in part because of corruption fears, but also because they would rather hoard intelligence than allow a rival agency to succeed. They are under enormous pressure to produce results. Moreover, bureaucratic culture in Mexico is generally risk averse, so intelligence entities would rather do nothing than do something wrong. Corruption fears are well-founded given the number of operations that have been compromised or foiled because of leaks. Emboffs note that constructing an effective intelligence structure in Mexico's northern border area is particularly difficult, as many of the region's security forces are compromised. The rivalry between Attorney General Medina Mora -- recently replaced by Arturo Chavez Chavez -- and SSP,s Genaro Garcia Luna dramatically diminished cooperation and information-sharing between the two services. Leadership and personality conflicts may, in fact, be one of the most significant drivers of whether or not agencies set themselves up as rivals or allies in sharing important information. Some observers see the new federal police and PGR reforms as unlikely to resolve the zero sum competition, and it is too early to know whether the Chavez appointment will mitigate the specific PGR-SSP problem. ¶7. (S/NF) There are also some legal and institutional unknowns: SSP, which receives the bulk of the GOM's security budget, now has the legal backing it needs to allow Garcia Luna to move ahead in building a large new intelligence and investigative program. With such indigenous capabilities, SSP probably would have even less incentive to cooperate with PGR. SEDENA, meanwhile, tends to work better with PGR than with SSP, but the Army's efforts are still highly limited and compartmentalized and it remains to be seen how better vetting practices and a stronger SSP will impact those relations. Secretary of Defense Galvan Galvan in a recent meeting with U.S. officials expressed little interest in bolstering cooperation with other agencies. Because of internal strife and mistrust in GOM institutions, Mission law enforcement agencies say that USG elements tend to work with GOM counterparts separately, which may end up indirectly contributing to stovepiping. Taking Steps to Get Smart ------------------------- ¶8. (S/NF) There is broad recognition among Mexican security and intelligence agencies, as well as political leadership, that they must do better in developing sources, analyzing information, and using it operationally. They also know that the effective use of intelligence requires more complete collaboration between involved bureaucracies. Despite its deficiencies, the GOM does have some intelligence capabilities, and Emboffs note that when they are deployed in full force, as in Michoacan, they can do good work. MEXICO 00003195 003 OF 005 ¶9. (S/NF) The GOM is working hard to improve communication among agencies with a stake in intelligence. CISEN is trying to develop mechanisms to facilitate coordination. For example, CISEN has established at its Mexico City headquarters a fusion center that has representatives from every involved agency, including the Finance Secretariat, SSP, PGR, SEMAR, SEDENA, and state and local investigators when they can be trusted. Mexico is also in the process of establishing a series of Tactical Operations Intelligence Units (UNITOS) at military bases in each state throughout the country. The GOM has established a number of units (reports range from 9 to 27) with participation from the Army, Navy, SSP, PGR, and CISEN, comprising a command section, tactical analysis group, investigations group, operations sector, and a cadre of judicial experts. When properly functioning, the UNITOs provides a centralizing platform for federal forces to work together, share information, and plan operations. It is still unclear as to whether these would be short or long term units, but if implemented correctly, they might serve as a key piece of a revamped GOM intel and operational architecture. So far, the UNITOs are plagued by the same interagency rivals and mistrust that characterize the broader institutional relationships and have not yet reached the point of being effective. ¶10. (C) The state-level C-4 centers (command, control, communications, and coordination) are, at the low end, glorified emergency call centers. At the high end, they include more professional analytic cells that produce useful analysis and planning documents and also have a quick response time. The more complete C-4s include representatives from national and regional entities, and are the nerve centers for day-to-day information flow, intelligence, and directing operations in the state. They are often also the link to national databases, such as Plataforma Mexico. Huge disparities between state C-4s exist, but many states are working to move their units from merely housing emergency dispatchers to being functional hubs of operations and intelligence. The UNITOs often rely on information fed from good C-4s, in addition to federal databases and platforms. ¶11. (C) Plataforma Mexico is another important piece of the intel puzzle and continues to expand its presence throughout the country. The mega-criminal database has a wide array of information-sharing and analytical tools that help to track and share information on individuals and organized crime cells, vehicles, air movements, and is linked with an increasing number of surveillance and security cameras. The database is housed at SSP and is being deployed to an increasing number of states, with different tiers of access that are controlled through the vetting system. Not all states have access, mostly because they have yet to comply with federal standards in order to be connected, and some states with access have complained that the system is too slow to be of any use to them. Additionally, Project Constanza is PGR's new case tracking system for the judicial system, and will include all data related to individual cases of persons apprehended and later charged. Some pieces may be made available to Plataforma Mexico, and PGR would like to have a system for tracking detentions that can be made available to police units when apprehending a suspect. The Mission is actively engaged in trying to plug E-Trace, ATF's powerful arms tracing software, into both systems. ¶12. (S/NF) Despite myriad challengece, cooperation with the USG on intelligence and counternarcotics issues has never been better. Indeed, Embassy experts say that Mexican authorities often rely on tips from U.S. law enforcement and intelligence organizations, and that many successful captures of important cartel figures are often backed by U.S. assistance. Mexico has indicated interest in improving its collection and use of intelligence with additional U.S. help. For example, in early 2009 the director of the National Security Information Center came to Mexico to, among other things, meet with CISEN Director Valdez (NSIC runs the Merida Culture of Lawfulness project but also works in the field of MEXICO 00003195 004 OF 005 intelligence structures in democratic societies). He pitched to Valdez a program developed by NSIC to divide a hostile zone into a series of quadrants and assign a team to each that contains four specialties - interviewers (Humint), signals interceptors (Sigint), analysts, and operators - as well as an adequate security contingent to keep the members secure in their safe area and during movement. The teams take up residence in the area, as clandestinely as possible, and begin to develop sources and information that is used to make arrests. At the same time, the team filters raw and semi-processed information to the next level, which has a parallel structure, but more robust operations capabilities and higher level skill sets, especially for analyzing the information. The ideas is to develop strategic, as opposed to tactical, information that can be used to take apart whole networks. Valdez was impressed by the concept, and directed his deputy, Gustavo Mohar, to meet with the Embassy's NAS Director to discuss its viability in U.S. programming. NAS Director and Legatt met with Mohar and suggested that in the training line of Merida it would be possible to pursue such a program. COMMENT ------- ¶13. (S/NF) Mexico is a long way from developing a self-sufficient and expert intelligence apparatus, but the creation of a coherent system is critical for the sustained success of its anti-organized crime efforts. USG-GOM cooperation, while not flawless, has never been better. Close collaboration and assistance in training and improving Mexican security agencies' ability to produce and use intelligence in key counterdrug operations undoubtedly is critical and will pay dividends over time. Perhaps the greatest challenge to lasting progress on intelligence matters is cultivating an environment of trust -- based on high standards of security -- among Mexico's law enforcement, military, and intelligence agencies to ensure that information is appropriately collected, shared, protected, and acted upon. Reducing institutional rivalries and encouraging agencies to move past the zero-sum mindset that one entity's success in catching a high-value target is another's loss is also critical to reducing rivalries and distrust on intelligence issues. The growing SSP footprint on intelligence matters has the potential to seriously impact the information-sharing dynamic, a factor that will have to be integrated into our assistance programs to ensure that we do not exacerbate existing institutional tensions, particularly with the PGR. While our Mexican interlocutors recognize the need for greater interagency cooperation, they are reluctant to address the problem: the solution will require sustained U.S. help in fortifying institutions against the corruption, inefficiencies and backbiting that have bred distrust amongst GOM partners. ¶14. (S/NF) The USG can help Mexico develop inter-agency capabilities, and there are a number of line items in the Merida Initiative that can be employed in this effort. For example: the polygraph program properly pushed out to the states and consistently applied to special units could help produce the core integrity and trust that all good intelligence will depend on; the state-level law enforcement C-4 coordination centers, when done right, can bring all agencies and information together; Plataforma Mexico, the core database for law enforcement information-sharing, is rolling out across Mexico with new resources in 2009 that will enhance its capabilities and accessibility; through law enforcement professionalization, we are training investigators who will be a key piece of the intelligence puzzle as they serve as front-line collectors; we will be supporting vetted units -- among the highest yielding entities in the GOM for intelligence -- with USD 5 million of FY2009 funding. Perhaps most importantly, these programs can serve as effective carrots to resolve the entrenched mistrust and parochialism of Mexican institutions by ensuring that organizations come to the table together when necessary to support the GOM's efforts to combat rife corruption within its institutions.
SUBJECT: (C/NF) GENERAL MEXICAN LEADERSHIP (C-AL9-02352)REF: A. 314/07696-07 ¶B. 314/88816-06 ¶C. 314/81745-07 ¶D. MEXICO 002071 ¶E. MEXICO 007033 ¶F. 314/061600-09 ¶G. 314/068064-09 ¶H. 314/045987-09 Classified By: ELISSA G. PITTERLE, DIRECTOR, INR/OPS. REASON: 1.4(C). ¶1. (C/NF) WASHINGTON ANALYSTS HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN MEXICO'S LEADERSHIP DYNAMICS, AND WE HAVE APPRECIATED POST'S COVERAGE OF THIS TOPIC, REFS A-E HAVE SPECIFICALLY BEEN USEFUL TO GAUGE INSIGHT INTO THESE DYNAMICS. WE ARE INTERESTED IN REVISITING OUR ASSESSMENT OF MEXICAN PRESIDENT CALDERON TO BETTER INFORM US POLICYMAKERS ON HIS LEADERSHIP STYLE. REFS F-H HAVE INDICATED THAT CALDERON AND HIS ADMINISTRATION ARE CURRENTLY UNDER GREAT STRESS FROM THE DRUG WAR, ECONOMIC COLLAPSE, AND HIS PARTY'S MIDTERM ELECTION LOSSES. DESPITE RECENT REPORTING WE ARE STILL INTERESTED IN HOW THESE CURRENT STRESSES ARE AFFECTING HIS PERSONALITY AND MANAGEMENT STYLE AND HOW THAT STYLE IS AFFECTING THE RUNNING OF THE GOVERNMENT ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF RECENT CABINET CHANGES. IN THE COURSE OF POST'S REGULAR MEETINGS, WE WOULD WELCOME ANY INSIGHT POST CAN PROVIDE ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS. ¶A. (U) PRESIDENT CALDERON 1) (C/NF) HOW DOES PRESIDENT CALDERON REACT TO VIEWPOINTS THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM HIS OWN? (DOES HE LIKE TO GET INTO DEBATES WITH PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE WITH HIM? DOES HE PREFER TO LISTEN TO THEIR VIEWPOINT, THINK ON IT FOR A WHILE, AND COME BACK WITH A RESPONSE?) DOES HE SURROUND HIMSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE A VARIETY OF VIEWPOINTS, OR DOES HE PREFER "YES MEN"? 2) (C/NF) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE CALDERON'S MANAGEMENT STYLE (MORE OF AN "IDEA MAN" OR MORE OF A "MICROMANAGER")? WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF HIS MANAGEMENT STYLE ON THOSE WHO WORK FOR HIM? 3) (C/NF) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE CALDERON'S PERSONALITY? WHAT VALUES/BELIEFS/BEHAVIORS DOES CALDERON HOLD MOST DEARLY, AND RESPECT MOST IN OTHERS (TRUTHFULNESS, LOYALTY, RESPECT, ETC)? 4) (C/NF) WHAT ARE CALDERON'S PLANS' FOR THE REMAINDER OF HIS TERM? (SECURITY, ECONOMY, PAN PARTY, DEALING WITH THE PRI)? ¶B. (U) CABINET 1) (C/NF) WHAT ARE THE GOALS FOR PRESIDENT CALDERON'S SECURITY AND ECONOMIC SECTIONS OF HIS CABINET DURING THEIR REMAINING TIME IN OFFICE? HOW DO THEY PLAN ON ACHIEVING THOSE GOALS? 2) (C/NF) HOW DO THEY INDIVIDUALLY VIEW THE UNITED STATES, AND HOW STRONG IS THEIR WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH US OFFICIALS? 3) (C/NF) WHAT IS THE CURRENT RELATIONSHIP STATUS OF PRESIDENT CALDERON'S CABINET? DO ALL MEMBERS GET ALONG? HAVE RIVALRIES, FRIENDSHIPS BEEN FORMED? HAVE THESE RELATIONSHIPS TRICKLED DOWN TO THE WORKING LEVEL STAFFS OF EACH CABINET MEMBER,S OFFICE? 4) (C/NF) HAS JOB STRESS AFFECTED ANY OF THE SECURITY AND ECONOMIC SECTIONS OF HIS CABINET MEMBERS, HEALTH? IF SO, HOW? WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THESE MEMBERS ARE ADDRESSING THIS STRESS? ¶2. (U) PLEASE CITE C-AL9-02352 IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF REPORTING IN RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE QUESTIONS.
SUBJECT: MEXICAN NAVY OPERATION NETS DRUG KINGPIN ARTURO
BELTRAN LEYVAREF: MONTERREY 000453 Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado. Reason: 1.4 (b),(d). ¶1. (S) Summary. Mexican Navy forces acting on U.S. information killed Arturo Beltran Leyva in an operation on December 16, the highest-level takedown of a cartel figure under the Calderon administration. The operation is a clear victory for the Mexican Government and an example of excellent USG-GOM cooperation. The unit that conducted the operation had recieved extensive U.S. training. Arturo Beltran Leyva's death will not solve Mexico's drug problem, but it will hopefully generate the momentum necessary to make sustained progress against other drug trafficking organizations. End Summary. The Operation ------------- ¶2. (S) Mexican Navy (SEMAR) sources revealed on the night of December 17 that SEMAR forces killed Arturo Beltran Leyva (ABL), head of the Beltran Leyva Organization, during a shoot-out in Cuernavaca (approximately 50 miles south of Mexico City) that afternoon. At least three other cartel operatives were killed during the raid, with a fourth committing suicide. While it still has not been confirmed, Embassy officials believe the latter to be ABL's brother, Hector, which would mean that all Beltran Leyva brothers are either dead or in prison. Arturo Beltran Leyva has a long history of involvement in the Mexican drug trade, and worked with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and his Sinaloa Cartel before splitting in 2008. The rivalry between the Sinaloa and Beltran Leyva organizations has been a key factor driving the escalating levels of narcotics-related violence in recent years. Born in Sinaloa, ABL has been key to the importation and distribution of cocaine and heroin in the United States, and also has extensive money laundering capabilities, corruption networks, and international contacts in Colombia and the U.S. ¶3. (C) Embassy law enforcement officials say that the arrest operation targeting ABL began about a week prior to his death when the Embassy relayed detailed information on his location to SEMAR. The SEMAR unit has been trained extensively by NORTHCOM over the past several years. SEMAR raided an identified location, where they killed several ABL bodyguards and arrested over 23 associates, while ABL and Hector escaped. On Monday, the Embassy interagency linked ABL to an apartment building located in Cuernavaca (about an hour south of Mexico City), where ABL was in hiding. SEMAR initiated an arrest operation on Wednesday afternoon, surrounding the identified apartment complex, and establishing a security perimeter. ABL's forces fired on the SEMAR operatives and engaged in a sustained firefight that wounded three SEMAR marines and possibly killed one. SEMAR forces evacuated residents of the apartment complex to the gym, according to press accounts, and no civilian casualties have so far been reported. The Mexican Interagency ----------------------- ¶4. (S) The successful operation against ABL comes on the heels of an aggressive SEMAR effort in Monterrey against Zeta forces (ref a) and highlights its emerging role as a key player in the counternarcotics fight. SEMAR is well-trained, well-equipped, and has shown itself capable of responding quickly to actionable intelligence. Its success puts the Army (SEDENA) in the difficult position of explaining why it has been reluctant to act on good intelligence and conduct operations against high-level targets. The U.S. interagency originally provided the information to SEDENA, whose refusal to move quickly reflected a risk aversion that cost the institution a major counternarcotics victory. SEDENA did provide backup to SEMAR during the firefight with ABL forces, but can take little credit for the operation. Public Security Secretary (SSP) Genaro Garcia Luna can also be counted as a net loser in the Mexican interagency following the ABL operation. SSP considers high-level Beltran Leyva targets to be its responsibility, and Garcia Luna has already MEXICO 00003573 002 OF 003 said privately that the operation should have been his. The Impact on Violence ---------------------- ¶5. (S) It is early to say with a great degree of confidence what kind of effect ABL's death will have on levels of narco-related violence in Mexico. A spike is probably likely in the short term as inter- and intra-cartel battles are intensified by the sudden leadership gap in one of the country's most important cartels. With all the Beltran Leyva brothers likely dead or in prison, there are a number of other cartel functionaries likely to vie for the leadership slot. Moreover, rival organizations may intensify efforts to expand their influence in the disarray likely to follow ABL's death. At the very least, efforts to clean the Beltran Leyva house and rout out suspected informers will be bloody, and retaliation by the organization against Mexican law enforcement or military officials is not out of the cards. ¶6. (C) In the medium to longer term, ABL's death could have the potential to lower the level of narco-violence rates. ABL himself was a particularly violent leader with numerous effective assassin teams. Moreover, the Sinaloa-Beltran Leyva rivalry has been responsible for a large number of narcotics-related homicides in Mexico, and also largely personally driven by the Beltran Leyva brothers themselves. Emboffs speculate that Beltran Leyva associates, under pressure and perhaps more vulnerable due to leadership deficiencies, could move to align more closely again with Sinaloa, which they might think offers a more natural protection than the Zetas. The Boost for Calderon ---------------------- ¶7. (C) SEMAR's successful operation against ABL is a major victory for President Calderon and his war against organized crime. ABL is the highest ranking target taken down by the Calderon government, and his status as one of the most important and long-standing of Mexican drug traffickers makes his takedown even more symbolically important. President Calderon has openly admitted to having a tough year -- his party lost big in the midterm elections, he is confronting an economic crisis, and nationwide homicide rates continue to climb -- and contacts have told Poloff that he has seemed "down" in meetings. The SEMAR operation is undoubtedly a huge boost for him, both in terms of bolstering public support for his security efforts and in reassuring himself that important security accomplishments in this area are possible. Calderon's political opponents will also find it far less useful to accuse the President of hanging on to an ineffective anti-crime strategy that nets numerous mid- to low-level cartel figures but fails to rein in the major kingpins. The major Mexico City dailies have run front page Beltran Leyva stories, and President Calderon's remarks in a press conference from Copenhagen highlighting that the operation represents an "important achievement for the Mexican people and government" were widely covered. Comment ------- ¶8. (S) The operation against Arturo Beltran Leyva is a clear victory for the Mexican Government and an example of excellent USG-GOM cooperation. Seamless Embassy interagency collaboration combined with a willing, capable, and ready SEMAR produced one of the greatest successes to date in the counternarcotics fight. ABL's death will provide an important boost to Calderon and hopefully will cultivate a greater sense of confidence within Mexican security agencies that will encourage them to take greater advantage of similar opportunities. SEMAR's win in particular may encourage SEDENA to be more proactive and less risk averse in future operations. ABL's death will certainly not resolve Mexico's drug problem, but it will likely generate the momentum necessary within the GOM security apparatus to make sustained and real progress against the country's drug trafficking organizations.
SUBJECT: Scenesetter for the Opening of the Defense Bilateral Working
Group, Washington, D.C., February 1DERIVED FROM: DSCG 05-1 B, D Classified Secret. ¶1. (SBU) Summary: The inauguration of the Defense Bilateral Working Group (DBWG) on February 1 comes at a key moment in our efforts to deepen our bilateral relationship and to support the Mexican military’s nascent steps toward modernization. On the heels of our bilateral joint assessments in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana, as well as the GOM’s move to replace the military with the Federal Police as lead security agency in Juarez, the DBWG can help ensure that the GOM stays focused on making the kinds of institutional improvements - including greater attention to human rights and broader regional participation - that are needed to bolster its effectiveness in the immediate fight against organized crime, and to position it to become a twenty first century military in one of the leading democracies in the region. End Summary ¶2. (SBU) The DBWG is an important component of our overall bilateral Merida strategy for 2010. We ended 2009 with an unprecedented commitment from the Mexican government to work closely with us on an ambitious effort to move beyond a singular focus on high value targets and address some of the institutional and socio-economic constraints that threaten to undermine our efforts to combat the cartels. A truly joint effort to implement a new U.S.-Mexico strategy is yielding stronger organizational structures and interagency cooperation on both sides and a deeper understanding of the threat posed by the drug trafficking organizations. In the coming year, we will help Mexico institutionalize civilian law enforcement capabilities and phase down the military’s role in conducting traditional and police functions. The DBWG will also provide a vehicle for Washington to brief the GOM on the importance of human rights issues to U.S. security policy, thus reinforcing a new formal Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue with the GOM that will include SEDENA and SEMAR. Political and Economic Context ----------------------------------------- ¶3. (SBU) It is a challenging moment to address some of the institutional weaknesses that dot the Mexican political landscape and which periodically impede our larger efforts. President Calderon has entered the last three years of his six-year term facing a complicated political and economic environment. His National Action Party (PAN) emerged seriously weakened from a dramatic set-back suffered in the July congressional elections and was unable to recoup any real momentum during the last legislative session. Calderon’s bold plan for ten ambitious areas for reform, announced in September, has yet to translate into politically viable initiatives. His personal popularity numbers have dropped, driven largely by massive economic contraction and a public sense that there is little strategy to create new and sustainable jobs. Overall, Calderon’s approval ratings are still well above 50 percent, sustained largely by his campaign against organized crime. Increasingly, Mexicans realize that combating DTOs is a matter of citizen security, and thus support a tough stance. Yet the failure to reduce violence is also a liability. ¶4. (SBU) Meanwhile, the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) is in the ascendency, cautiously managing its illusory unity in an effort to dominate the twelve gubernatorial contests this year and avoid missteps that could jeopardize its front-runner status in the run-up to the 2012 presidential elections. With a MEXICO 00000083 002 OF 005 strategy best described as political pragmatism, PRI insiders indicate that the party is unlikely to support any major reform efforts over the next several years - no matter how necessary - that could be publicly controversial. Slow economic recovery and budgetary pressures are reducing government resources and complicating the government’s ability to balance priorities and come up with a compelling and sustainable narrative that ties the fight against organized crime to the daily concerns of most Mexicans. Mexico’s rapidly declining oil production, a projected six to seven percent GDP contraction in 2009, a slow recovery in 2010, and a 47 percent poverty rate all present difficult challenges for the Calderon administration in 2010. Still, we see no “softening” of the administration’s resolve to confront the DTOs head on. Security Challenges ------------------------- ¶5. (C) Calderon has aggressively attacked Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations but has struggled with an unwieldy and uncoordinated interagency and spiraling rates of violence that have made him vulnerable to criticism that his anti-crime strategy has failed. Indeed, the GOM’s inability to halt the escalating numbers of narco-related homicides in places like Ciudad Juarez and elsewhere - the nationwide total topped 7,700 in 2009 - has become one of Calderon’s principal political liabilities as the general public has grown more concerned about citizen security. Mexican security institutions are often locked in a zero-sum competition in which one agency’s success is viewed as another’s failure, information is closely guarded, and joint operations are all but unheard of. Official corruption is widespread, leading to a compartmentalized siege mentality among “clean” law enforcement leaders and their lieutenants. Prosecution rates for organized crime-related offenses are dismal; two percent of those detained are brought to trail. Only 2 percent of those arrested in Ciudad Juarez have even been charged with a crime. ¶6. (S) The failure to reduce violence has focused attention on the military’s perceived failures and led to a major course change in January to switch the overall command in Ciudad Juarez from the military to the federal police. The military was not trained to patrol the streets or carry out law enforcement operations. It does not have the authority to collect and introduce evidence into the judicial system. The result: arrests skyrocketed, prosecutions remained flat, and both the military and public have become increasingly frustrated. The command change in Juarez has been seen by political classes and the public as a Presidential repudiation of SEDENA. When SEDENA joins you at the DBWG, it will be an agency smarting from the very public statement of a lack of confidence in its performance record in Juarez. ¶7. (C) Below the surface of military professionalism, there is also considerable tension between SEDENA and SEMAR. SEMAR succeeded in the take down of Arturo Beltran Leyva, as well as with other major targets. Aside from the perceived failure of its mission in Juarez, SEDENA has come to be seen slow and risk averse even where it should succeed: the mission to capture HVTs. The risk is that the more SEDENA is criticized, the more risk averse it will become. The challenge you face in the DBWG is to convince them that modernization and not withdrawal are the way forward, and that transparency and accountability are fundamental to modernization. There is no alternative in today’s world of information technology. MEXICO 00000083 003 OF 005 ¶8. (C) The DBWG is just one mechanism for addressing the challenge of modernization. SEDENA’s shortfalls are at times quite noticeable and serve for dramatic charges on human rights and other grounds. We have actively sought to encourage respect for the military’s role in Mexican society and tread carefully with regard to the larger theme of military modernization. What SEDENA, and to a lesser extent SEMAR, need most is a comprehensive, interactive discussion that will encourage them to look holistically at culture, training and doctrine in a way that will support modernization and allow them to address a wider range of military missions. This is where the DBWG can help. ¶9. (C) Currently, the military is the lightening rod for criticism of the Calderon Administration’s security policies. We are having some success in influencing the GOM to transition the military to secondary support functions in Juarez. Still, the GOM’s capacity to replicate the Juarez model is limited. They simply lack the necessary numbers of trained federal police to deploy them in such numbers in more than a few cities. There are changes in the way that the military can interact with vetted municipal police, as we have seen in Tijuana, that produce better results. But in the near term, there is no escaping that the military will play a role in public security. ¶10. (C) Military surges that are not coordinated with local city officials and civilian law enforcement, particularly local prosecutors, have not worked. In Ciudad Juarez, a dramatic increase in troop deployments to the city early last year brought a two-month reduction in violence levels before narcotics-related violence spiked again. The DTOs are sophisticated players: they can wait out a military deployment; they have an almost unlimited human resource pool to draw from in the marginalized neighborhoods; and they can fan complaints about human rights violations to undermine any progress the military might make with hearts and minds. ¶11. (SBU) SEDENA lacks arrest authority and is incapable of processing information and evidence for use in judicial cases. It has taken a serious beating on human rights issues from international and domestic human rights organizations, who argue with considerable basis, in fact that the military is ill-equipped for a domestic policing role. While SEDENA has moved to address human rights criticisms, its efforts are mechanistic and wrapped in a message that often transmits defensiveness about bringing a hermetically sealed military culture into the twenty-first century. The military justice system (fuero militar) is used not only for a legitimate prosecutorial function, but also to preserve the military’s institutional independence. Even the Mexican Supreme Court will not claim civilian jurisdiction over crimes involving the military, regardless of whether a military mission is involved. Fortunately, the Mexican military is under increasing pressure to change on a number of fronts. A recent Inter-American Human Rights Court ruling found Article 57 of Mexico’s code of military justice, which effectively allows the military to keep all violators within its own justice system, violate Mexico’s constitution and mandated improvements in the way cases involving alleged human rights abuses by the military are handled. A report issued by Amnesty International in December noted that complaints to the National Commission on Human Rights against the military increased from 367 in 2007 to over 2000 from 2008-June 2009. MEXICO 00000083 004 OF 005 Change on the Horizon --------------------------- ¶12. (SBU) Calderon has undertaken serious reforms since coming to office, but he also must tread carefully in dealing with the Mexican military. With our help, he has refined his anti-crime strategy and made significant progress in a number of important areas, including inaugurating a new Federal Police command and intelligence center, establishing stronger vetting mechanisms for security officials, and constructing information-sharing databases to provide crime fighting data to various federal, state, and local elements. Calderon also has recognized that the blunt-force approach of major military deployments has not curbed violence in zones like Ciudad Juarez, and has replaced SEDENA forces with Federal Police officers as the lead security agency in urban Ciudad Juarez. ¶13. (C) These steps reflect the GOM’s willingness to respond to public pressure and to focus on building strong, civilian law enforcement institutions that are necessary for sustained success against organized crime in Mexico. Indeed, Public Security Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna has sought to raise the standards of his Federal Police so it is capable of gradually replacing the military’s role in public security through improved hiring, training, and vetting practices. With new authorities granted under federal police reform legislation passed last year, including a broadened wire-tapping mandate, the SSP is well-placed to significantly expand its investigative and intelligence-collection capabilities. The GOM is exploring new ways to bring local and state police up to standards to support the anti-crime fight. Federal judicial reform has been slower in coming, but the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) is looking to modernize as an institution. For example, PGR created with USG assistance the Constanza Project (Justicia Para Todos), a $200 million dollar initiative designed to transform PGR’s culture, in part by promoting transparency, training attorneys to build stronger cases, and digitizing files in order to incorporate a paperless system less susceptible to corruption. ¶14. (C) USG assistance has been crucial to these efforts, and we are looking ahead to ensure that we help Mexico build its most key institutions with seamless integration of operations, investigations, intelligence, prosecutions, and convictions. Joint assessment missions -- one to Tijuana and San Diego and one to Ciudad Juarez and El Paso - were designed to further guide our bilateral efforts and address one potential weakness -- the dysfunctionally low level of collaboration between Mexican military and civilian authorities along the border. The Tijuana assessment was completed December 3-4 and Ciudad Juarez’s January 14-15. Mexico also has agreed to explore a task force model for joint intelligence and operations, and Mexico’s intelligence civilian intelligence service, CISEN, has been charged with overseeing such efforts. We need to develop new programs to build a greater intelligence fusion capability, and continue to support the Federal Police’s own institutional development and training capacity, and swifter implementation of judicial reform. Moreover, with many of our federal programs well underway, we are broadening our efforts to include work at the state level. Military Modernization Key ----------------------------------- MEXICO 00000083 005 OF 005 ¶15. (S) In this context, it is absolutely necessary that we intensify our efforts to encourage modernization of the Mexican military. General Galvan Galvan, head of SEDENA, is an impressive military man with an appreciation for the uncomfortable, non-traditional challenges facing the Mexican military forces. But he is also a political actor who has succeeded, at least in part, by protecting the military’s prerogatives and symbolic role. His experience provides him with little guidance on how to manage change and modernization against a backdrop of criticism and often vitrolic accusations. Historically, suspicion of the United States has been a prime driver of a military bureaucratic culture that has kept SEDENA closed to us. We believe Galvan is committed to at least following orders when it comes to Calderon’s vision of a more modern Mexican state and a closer relationship with the United States. Our ties with the military have never been closer in terms of not only equipment transfers and training, but also the kinds of intelligence exchanges that are essential to making inroads against organized crime. Incipient steps towards logistical interoperability with U.S. forces are ongoing related to Haiti relief. SEDENA, for the first time and following SEMAR’s lead, has asked for SOF training. We need to capitalize on these cracks in the door. Any retreat on engagement on our side will only reinforce SEDENA’s instincts to revert to a closed and unaccountable institution. ¶16. (C) Our engagement on human rights in the DBWG must also be carefully structured. Presentations from the U.S. side on how human rights play into our conduct of military and security policy will be constructive. It will be useful to transmit to SEDENA the kinds of systemic human rights concerns that arise in Washington. But neither SEDENA nor SEMAR will engage in a dialogue on human rights in the DBWG. That will be reserved for the ad hoc meeting of the Bilateral Human Right Dialogue with Paul Stockton scheduled for Mexico City on February 12. ¶17. (C) SEDENA and SEMAR still have a long way to go toward modernization. The DBWG can go a long way in addressing a number of key points. We have seen some general officers, in Tijuana for example, who are looking for ways to build links between units in the field and local prosecutors, but this has not been done systematically. It needs to be encouraged. Encouraging the Mexican military to participate more actively in the international arena, such as through greater security cooperation outreach to Central America and Colombia, and even with limited participation in regional humanitarian ops to possibly peacekeeping, will also be key to helping the military transition from a mentality of “Protecting the Revolution” to a more active, dynamic, and flexible force. SEDENA and SEMAR share the parochial, risk-averse habits that often plague their civilian counterparts in Mexican law enforcement agencies. While the Navy’s capture of Beltran Leyva may up the ante and encourage innovation by competition between security services, both SEDENA and SEMAR have serious work to do on working more effectively and efficiently with their security partners. FEELEY
SUBJECT: Mexico’s Latin American Unity Summit — Back to the Future?REF: 10 MEXICO 127; 10 SANTIAGO 51; 10 SANTO DOMINGO 67 DERIVED FROM: DSCG 05-1 B, D ¶1. (C) Summary: Mexico’s ambitious plan to use its final Rio Group Presidency Summit (Cancun 22-23 February) to create a new more operational forum for regional cooperation failed dramatically. The two-day event was dominated by press accounts of ALBA country theatrics and their usual proclivity towards third world, anti-imperialist rhetoric. Nothing practical was achieved on the two pressing regional priorities - Haiti (President Preval did attend but the discussion was an obscured footnote) and Honduras (Pres. Lobo was not even invited in deference to Venezuela/ALBA) - and Brazil and the ALBA countries outmaneuvered the Mexicans, leaving the details of the new organization in the hands of a Latin American and Caribbean Summit (CALC) structure that will be managed by Brazil and Venezuela in 2011. End Summary ¶2. (C) Notwithstanding President Calderon’s best intentions to create a more practical regional forum for regionally dealing with Latin American priorities (ref A), Mexico’s Latin American Unity summit in the tourist resort of Cancun (22-23 February) was poorly conceived, inadequately managed, and badly executed. The Cancun Declaration presents a long laundry list of issues without specifying any details on how they will be operationally translated into effective international action. The meeting did not agree on a name for the new organization (see below), on a date for when it will be launched, or on any practical details (secretariat, funding, etc.) that would indicate how the new organization would develop. Worse yet was the press play and unofficial commentary from informed sources, that were downright derisive of the meeting and the contradictory message it sent about Mexico’s interests and foreign policy. ¶3. (C) Already at the ceremonial opening on Monday (22 February) it was clear that things were not going well. Negotiations on the declaration had ground down on the operational details of the communique and Brazil and the ALBA countries were firmly resisting Mexico’s proposal that the new forum be constituted immediately with agreement on institutional details. Brazilian President Lula did not want to see the CALC be subsumed before the end of his Presidency and Venezuelan President Chavez wanted to leave his CALC Summit (Venezuela assumes the CALC Presidency from Brazil in 2011) on schedule, and available for a grand launching of the new forum that, as he said to the press, would commemorate the realization of the Bolivarian themes of Latin American solidarity in the birthplace of the “Great Liberator.” Chavez was his usual, over the top self in proclaiming the death of the Organization of American States (OAS), in lending a hand to Argentine President Kirchner’s protest against British drilling for oil in the Malvinas, and in almost coming to blows with Colombian President Uribe over the latter’s protest of Venezuela’s economic embargo against Colombia. Bolivian President Morales played the supporting role as Chavez’ factotum, parroting Chavez’ speeches and lavishing praise and compliments on Raul Castro’s Cuba. Ecuadorian President Correa used the meeting to try and divert money laundering allegations leveled against Ecuador, by suggesting the need for a new “more balanced” regional mechanism to address the issue. ¶4. (C) Even Calderon’s own PAN party officials were privately dismissive of the event. PAN international affairs coordinator Rodrigo Cortez characterized the meeting as a “sad spectacle that does nothing to project our party’s views on international priorities and the importance of the relationship between Mexico and the United States.” He decried the public images of Calderon “hugging and cavorting” with Chavez, Morales and Castro and was pessimistic from the start that anything practical would come from the meeting. “We did not even invite Honduras, leaving them out of the meeting in order to ensure ALBA participation - a decision that turned the meeting upside down with regard to our concrete security and other interests.” MEXICO 00000141 002 OF 003 ¶5. (C) The low point of the meeting was the verbal exchange between Uribe and Chavez at the opening day official lunch. Uribe raised Venezuela’s economic embargo on Colombia, terming it unhelpful and inconsistent with the region’s economic interest and at odds with Venezuela’s strong criticism of the U.S. Embargo on Cuba. Colombia’s Ambassador in Mexico, Luis Camilo Osorio, told the polmincouns that, contrary to press accounts, Uribe raised the issue in a non-confrontational way. According to Osorio and press accounts, Chavez reacted emotionally accusing Colombia of having sent assassination squads to kill him and ended a verbal and physical tirade with “You can go to hell; I am leaving (the lunch).” Uribe responded, “Don’t be a coward and leave just to insult me from a distance.” Verbal and body language continued to escalate, until Raul Castro stepped in to urge civilized discussion. Outside of the dining room, Venezuelan security officials were scuffling with Mexican security guards in an attempt to assist their President. ¶6. (C) Osorio was very critical of the Summit, terming it the worst expression of Banana Republic discourse that blames all of the regions problems on others without any practical solutions of their own. Osorio said the Colombians had proposed working jointly on a concrete agenda during Calderon’s recent visit to Colombia. The Mexicans, he said, were not interested, confident that they had everything under control. Osorio opined that “Calderon had simply put a bunch of the worst types together in a room, expecting to outsmart them. Instead, Brazil outplayed him completely, and Venezuela outplayed Brazil.” There was no practical planning, there was no management of the agenda, and there was none of the legwork that would have been needed to yield a practical and useful outcome. ¶7. (C) Brazilian DCM Antonio Francisco Da Costa E Silva Neto conveyed his country’s view that Brazil had done a better job of managing the summit than the Mexican hosts. Brazil was able to ensure that the new Rio Group would emerge, not from the Summit, but from ongoing discussions in the Rio Group and the CALC, where Brazil could exert its influence. The CALC survived and Brazil would be managing that process as part of the troika when it turned over the presidency to Venezuela. ¶8. (C) We heard similar themes from ex-Ambassador Jorge Montano, a PRI-connected, former respected senior Mexican diplomat. He echoed Cortez’ criticism, channeling it into an elegant but critical op-ed in Mexico daily Universal (Feb 26). Montano’s piece, entitled “With or Without the OAS,” reviewed briefly the history of Latin American regional forums, also criticizing U.S. lack of attention to the region (e.g. Summit of Americas) but noting the practical achievements realized in the OAS. He called the Summit unnecessary and inconsistent with Mexico’s interests and called for immediate damage control. Montano told us that he received separate calls from Calderon and from Foreign Secretary Espinoza, irate over his criticism. ¶9. (C) The media coverage did not in any way suggest a practical forum and there was a good supply of criticism, in addition to Montano’s piece, which was respectful in its choice of words. The most damning criticism was a political cartoon in the leading daily Reforma (Feb 24) which depicted a large Chavez gorilla, with a small Castro perched on his back playing an accordion labeled “CanCubaZuela Group” with a small image of Calderon dancing to the music and waving marimbas. Osorio told us at a same day Central Bank event with leading Mexican businessmen that there were abundant references to the cartoon and its apt characterization of the Summit’s result. Comment ------------------ ¶10. (C) In the end Mexico was limited to agreement on a new forum but without any specific commitments on institutional details. The Cancun declaration is a bulging rhetorical exercise MEXICO 00000141 003 OF 003 that reflects the lack of agreement with its general and non-specific language. The press play leaned towards the critical side and even those who recognized Calderon’s well-mentioned effort focused more attention on the paltry results. Even on the issues that Mexico argued to us before the summit were reasons for bolstering the Rio Group -- success on Colombia-Venezuela-Ecuador problem - the Summit result was directly contrary to hopes for a new more operational mechanism in the region. ¶11. (C) We have not had yet received the official GOM post-Summit read-out from our SRE and Presidency sources - they have been busy finishing the Declaration and doing follow up work with the Latin American Missions. We will be shortly following up with their analysis and comments on the way ahead, and their plans for deepening trade and investment through a new arrangement with Brazil, announced at the end of the Summit. Whatever their read out, this is not playing here as a “diplomatic success,” except in some very general sense of raising the need for more effective regional action. Unfortunately, the Cancun Latin American Unity Summit was not an example of a new and bold step into the future but rather a reminder of Mexico’s at times conflicting message on how it sees the future of the region and Mexico’s role as one of its leaders. PASCUAL
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER’S FEBRUARY 24VISIT Classified By: DCM Gerald M. Feierstein, Reasons 1.4 (b)/(d) ¶1. (C) Summary: Embassy Islamabad warmly welcomes your February 24 visit to Pakistan. You will participate in a trilateral cooperation meeting with Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Afghan Interior Minister Hanif Atmar, followed by bilateral meetings with senior Pakistani officials, including Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Zafarullah Khan, Intelligence Bureau (IB) Director General Javed Noor, and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Ahmed Shuja Pasha. ¶2. (C) You should express to your Pakistani interlocutors appreciation for ongoing law enforcement cooperation and express our readiness to enhance such efforts. You may want to register U.S. concerns about terrorist threats to U.S. citizens and U.S. interests that emanate from Pakistan, and encourage continued Pakistani action to counter these threats. You should press the Pakistanis to follow through on their prosecution of the seven Mumbai defendants. End Summary. Domestic Overview ------------------ ¶3. (C) Pakistan continues to face extraordinary challenges on the security and law enforcement front. The country has suffered greater military, law enforcement, and civilian casualties in fighting extremism and terrorism than almost any other country. Pakistan's military is currently engaged in combat operations against militant groups in the Malakand Division of North West Frontier Province (NFWP) and six of the seven agencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Pak-Afghan border. At the same time, Pakistan has experienced an alarming increase in terrorist attacks against government and civilian targets in Pakistan's major cities, resulting in several hundred deaths in recent months. In your meetings, you should acknowledge the sacrifices made by Pakistan's law enforcement agencies and the pressure the terrorist attacks have placed on their resources. ¶4. (C) In the midst of this difficult security situation, Pakistan's civilian government remains weak, ineffectual, and corrupt. Domestic politics is dominated by uncertainty about the fate of President Zardari. He enjoys approval ratings in the 20 percent range and has repeatedly clashed with key power centers, including the military, politically ambitious Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. In December, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the November 2007 National Reconciliation Ordinance, promulgated by then-President Musharraf, which provided legal amnesty for Benazir Bhutto, Zardari, and key figures in their party, enabling them to participate in 2008 elections. The Court's ruling has paved the way for a revival of corruption cases against a number of officials, including Interior Minister Rehman Malik. Whether corruption cases can be revived against Zardari himself is less certain, as Pakistan's constitution includes a clause providing sitting presidents with criminal immunity. ¶5. (C) While we have had major successes in our military and law enforcement cooperation with Pakistan, cooperation has frequently been hampered by suspicion in Pakistan's military and intelligence establishment about U.S. intentions and objectives. Among other things, the Pakistanis believe that we have favored India over Pakistan -- most notably, by approving civil-nuclear cooperation with India -- and that we aim to dismantle Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, which, in light of their conventional military disadvantage vis-a-vis India, they consider critical to their national security. The military and intelligence establishment is also concerned that we are working with Pakistan's civilian leadership to limit the military's prerogative in determining Pakistan's national security policies. As a result of these concerns, the military and intelligence establishment has taken steps since Spring 2009 to hamper the operations of the ISLAMABAD 00000416 002 OF 004 Embassy. These steps include holding up the issuance and renewal of Pakistani visas for permanent Embassy staff and TDYers; denying import permits for armored vehicles for Embassy use; sabotaging our contract with DynCorp International to provide enhanced protective support for Consulate General Peshawar personnel; slowing down importation of U.S. assistance for the Pakistani government, including equipment for Pakistani law enforcement agencies; shutting down our Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) training program at Pakistan's Sihala Police Academy; putting up roadblocks for our acquiring additional land for the Embassy's expansion; and harassing Embassy personnel by stopping and detaining Embassy vehicles. Some of these problems have recently abated in response to our repeatedly raising them with the highest levels of the Pakistani government. However, we expect we will have to continue to push back against such impediments for the foreseeable future. Federal Investigation Agency ---------------------------- ¶6. (C) The FBI's primary Pakistani counterpart is the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). On December 7, the government replaced FIA Director General Tariq Khosa with Zafarullah Khan. While Khosa was ostensibly given a promotion by being named Secretary of the Ministry of Narcotics Control, a number of press reports maintained that Khosa was removed from his FIA position for his aggressive pursuit of corruption cases against government officials and businessmen. Khosa had developed close cooperation with the U.S. on a host of law enforcement issues, including on the Mumbai case. While Khan has a strong law enforcement background, he has not shown an inclination to be as forward-leaning on cooperation as Khosa was. Counter-Terrorism Finance ------------------------- ¶7. (S) In the past year, Pakistan has made steady progress in combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Earlier this year, the FIA partnered with the State Bank of Pakistan to crack down on large licensed and unlicensed money service businesses that were violating foreign exchange laws and contributing to money laundering. In January, the National Assembly passed new Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legislation; the bill is currently awaiting Senate action. In the interim, the legislation is in force through its promulgation as an ordnance signed by President Zardari. Separately, during a February 12 meeting in Islamabad, Assistant Treasury Secretary David Cohen provided the Pakistanis with a compilation of tearline information on the financial activities of terrorist organizations in Pakistan -- including their use of the formal financial sector -- and affiliated charities, businesses, and individuals. Cohen encouraged the Pakistanis to exploit these leads in the pursuit of additional inform ation to identify key terrorism donors, fundraisers, and financial facilitators. Cohen also passed declassified terrorism finance information to four Pakistani banks. Law Enforcement Assistance -------------------------- ¶8. (SBU) Pakistan's terrorism threats necessitate substantial strengthening of the country's law enforcement capabilities. The State Department's International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) Bureau is providing significant training, equipment, and infrastructure assistance to the police in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), i.e., the province most affected by terrorist attacks. This assistance -- $40.5 million in FY2009 and $34.6 million in FY2010 -- focuses on the NWFP police's Elite Force, a "heavy" police force with SWAT-like capabilities established in 2008. Equipment we are providing the Elite Force includes vehicles, armored personnel carriers, protective vests, night vision goggles, and communications gear. We are hardening police checkpoints with Hesco-like barriers and are rebuilding three police ISLAMABAD 00000416 003 OF 004 stations in NWFP's Malakand Division that were destroyed by militants. INL is also funding a variety of police training courses implemented by the Department of Justice's ICITAP program that are open to nationwide participation. ¶9. (C) The Department of State's Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) program has separate activities aimed at enhancing the counter-terrorism capabilities of Pakistan's law enforcement agencies. A key component of the ATA program is focused on "hard skills" tactical training, including explosives detection and disposal, quick reaction, and VIP protection. Unfortunately, the ATA program is now under threat of termination. Following false press reports that our ATA trainers are using the training center provided by the Pakistani government, i.e., the Sihala Police Academy, for nefarious purposes -- including to gather information on a nearby Pakistan nuclear installation -- the government has decided to end our use of that facility and has not yet provided an acceptable alternative site. Mumbai Case ----------- ¶10. (C) Pakistan's prosecution of the seven suspects it arrested in the Mumbai case -- i.e., Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT) operatives Zakiur Rehman Lahkvi, Zarrar Shah, Al-Qama, Shahid Jamil Riaz, and Hammad Amin Saqid, and terrorism financiers Jamil Ahmed and Younos Anjum -- is proceeding, though at a slow pace. The defense lawyers have aggressively filed motions challenging varying aspects of the case. On November 25, an Anti-Terrorism Court finally framed the charges against the seven defendants, allowing the court proceedings, which are being held in camera, to move to the trial phase. Four FBI expert witnesses are expected to be called to testify for the prosecution. The government has continually reassured us that the prosecutors will win convictions against all the defendants after a trial lasting several months, though it has a stronger case against the five LeT operatives than against the two terrorism financers. There are concerns that some of the convictions could be overturned at the appellate level, where the courts set an extremely high evidentiary bar. On October 12, a Pakistani court quashed all remaining cases against Hafiz Saeed, the head of LeT alias Jama'at-ud-Dawa (JuD). Those cases were not related to the Mumbai attack. The government has repeatedly told us that it would need much more evidence of Saeed's direct involvement in the Mumbai attacks to move forward with Mumbai-related charges against him. David Coleman Headley --------------------- ¶11. (S) In December, an FBI-DOJ team briefed Pakistani officials from the ISI, Ministry of Interior, FIA, IB, and MFA on the David Coleman Headley investigation, providing them with tear-line information on Headley's statements to U.S. authorities. ISI officials said they had very little information to identify the Pakistanis mentioned in the statements. They discussed their investigation into First World Immigration Service, a business front used by Headley and his co-conspirators. The ISI said while they would not grant direct FBI access to co-conspirator Major (retd.) Abdurrehman Syed, who was in ISI custody, the FBI could submit questions for Syed through the ISI. The FIA and Ministry of Interior informed the FBI that it would be difficult to introduce Headley-related evidence in the government's prosecution of the Mumbai defendants, including because Headley's statements to U.S. authorities would be treated as hearsay with little evidentiary value in court. Sargodha Five ------------- ¶12. (C) The Pakistanis continue to pursue their own case against the five American citizens from Northern Virginia who were arrested in Sargodha, Punjab province, on December 8, following suspicions they had travelled to Pakistan to engage ISLAMABAD 00000416 004 OF 004 in jihadist activities. They have not acted on our request that the five be returned to the United States. The Pakistani prosecutor has repeatedly asked for continuations in the case because he is not yet prepared to move forward with charges. The five suspects, who claim to have been abused while in custody, were denied bail at a February 16 court hearing. The next hearing will take place sometime in March. Aafia Siddiqui -------------- ¶13. (C) There has been widespread condemnation here of the February 3 guilty verdict against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani citizen who was tried in Federal Court in New York on charges of attempting to murder U.S. soldiers and law enforcement authorities in Afghanistan. Many Pakistanis were taken by surprise by the verdict because one-sided Pakistani media coverage of the case reported only on her defense and not the prosecution's case, leading local observers to conclude her acquittal was a near certainty. We have stressed to the Pakistanis that Siddiqui received a fair trial and has a right to an appeal. A number of our Pakistani interlocutors have suggested that President Obama consider pardoning Siddiqui, and Prime Minister Gilani told Senator Kerry on February 16 that Siddiqui should be transferred to Pakistan to serve out her sentence here. PATTERSON