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Mexico City cables

U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza frets about Calderon administration’s repairing ties with Venezuela

In October 2008, then U.S. Amb. Tony Garza assessed Mexican-Venezuelan relations.  He seemed rather miffed that Mexico, as a democracy, couldn’t do anything about pro-Venezuelan student groups… not that there was much Venezuelan influence in Mexico.

ID:
Date: 2008-10-27 18:06
Origin: 08MEXICO3178
Source: Embassy Mexico
Classification: SECRET/NOFORN

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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 MEXICO 003178

NOFORN

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2017

TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR MX

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 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 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

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

Assistance required from U.S. for Mexico

In October 2009, the U.S. Embassy reported on a meeting between Mexican government and U.S. Justice Dept. officials.

The really worrisome quote here is from Embassy official “Feeley” pushing the Mexican miltiary to take a proactive role in the nation, as opposed to it’s traditional role of “protecting the revolution”… (printed in red lettering) sounding as if there is something “wrong” with the Mexican military being only involved in Mexican defense (and not, say, supporting U.S. goals in the region).  Additionally, the cabler is contemptious of the PRI (and apologetic for perceived failures of the Calderón Administration) which, in many ways, makes this the most interesting of the cables I’ve read so far).

02/12/2010 (printed in El País)

ID: 228419
Date: 2009-10-05 20:26:00
Origin: 09MEXICO2882
Source: Embassy Mexico<
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno:
Destination:INFO LOG-00 AF-00 AID-00 CIAE-00 CPR-00 INL-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 PERC-00 DS-00 OIGO-00 FBIE-00 VCI-00 H-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 LAB-01 L-00 MOFM-00 MOF-00 VCIE-00 DCP-00 NSAE-00 ISN-00 OMB-00 NIMA-00 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 P-00 ISNE-00 FMPC-00 SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 NCTC-00 ASDS-00 IIP-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-00 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 FA-00 SWCI-00 PESU-00 SANA-00 /001W O 052026Z

OCT 09 FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO TO SECSTATE WASHDC
IMMEDIATE 8484 INFO ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE PRIORITY DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY CDR USNORTHCOM PETERSON AFB CO PRIORITY CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY HQ USNORTHCOM PRIORITY JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY US MARSHALS SERVICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MEXICO 002882 E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/04/2019 TAGS: KCRM, PGOV, SNAR, MX

SUBJECT: ELEMENTS OF GOM POLICY TEAM INTERESTED IN FOCUSING TOGETHER ON IMPROVING SECURITY IN A FEW KEY CITIES
Classified 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 lawfulness” 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 /

PASCUAL

——

26 October 2009 cable, General Galvan (Mexican Sec. of Defense) with Blair (U.S. Director of National Intelligence) re: “rapid response” in the “drug war”.  References to “lessons from Iraq” and the length of time the military would be involved (and, of course, the need for more U.S. “cocoperation”) are all worth noticing.

Reference ID 09MEXICO 3077

Created 2009-10.26 23:11

Released 2010-22-25

Classification:  SECRET

Origin:   Embassy Mexico

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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 003077

 

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2019

TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR MX

SUBJECT: DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DENNIS BLAIR’S

MEETING WITH GENERAL GALVAN GALVAN, OCTOBER 19

 

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado.

Reason: 1.4 (b),(d).

 

1. (S/NF) Summary.  DNI Dennis Blair met with Defense Secretary General Guillermo Galvan Galvan on October 19 on the heels of meetings with President Calderon and members of his national security team (ref a and b).  The discussion focused largely on the military’s role in the counternarcotics fight, with Galvan lamenting a likely lengthy domestic mandate, the need for improved translation of intelligence into operations, and his mistrust of other GOM security elements.  Galvan is clearly seeking cooperation from the USG to strengthen his institution’s capacity to fight drug trafficking organizations, but will try to keep military actions in its own channels rather than working more broadly with Mexico’s law enforcement community.  End summary.

 

2. (S/NF) To open the discussion with General Galvan Galvan and high-ranking members of his intel team, DNI Blair recognized the challenges a military confronts when it has to fight a war — in this case against drug trafficking

organizations — within its own country.  In response to the DNI’s question on how the GOM can make the transition away from the armed forces to a strictly civilian counternarcotics domestic fight, Galvan said that he does not currently see a quick end to their internal deployment.  He indicated that the effort is difficult for the military, in part due to the perception that they lack the legal framework to back their deployment.  He noted that SEDENA is working with Congress to pass legislation that would address this matter. (Note: Calderon submitted to Congress last session a National Security Law that looks to codify the military’s role in the domestic CN fight. End note.)  He also mentioned that Article 29 of the constitution calling for a state of exception” in certain areas of the country might provide them with such legal authority (see septel for discussion on Article 29).

SEDENA runs the risk of losing public prestige and being criticized on human rights issues as its mandate is extended, but he nevertheless expects the military to maintain its current role for the next 7 to 10 years.  Galvan did suggest that increased U.S. intelligence assistance could shorten that time frame, and also applauded USG efforts to prevent arms trafficking across the border into Mexico.

 

3. (S/NF) Galvan indicated that he is interested in establishing the highest levels of cooperation with the USG, particularly in light of its “new authorities” as the institution responsible for capturing high-value targets,

including two members of the Zetas and Sinaloa cartel head Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera.  He further said that SEDENA was implementing a three stage operation to specifically target Chapo.  The first stage, which they have largely accomplished, is to establish a physical force in the area of his operation primarily intended to collect intelligence.  He noted that they have found 10 to 15 locations where he moves, but that Chapo commands the support of a large network of informers and has security circles of up to 300 men that make launching capture operations difficult.  The second stage is

to deploy a circle of troops into the area of his movements, which Galvan hopes to do shortly.  The third stage is his capture.

 

4. (S/NF) The DNI suggested that improving the intelligence capabilities of deployed units would improve the troops’ ability to launch more rapid operations, as the USG learned in its experience in Iraq.  Galvan said the concept is clear — he understands that good intelligence is worthless without a capable reaction force.  He noted SEDENA should improve vertical communication on intelligence matters, and said they would be willing to accept any training the USG can offer.  Galvan complained that joint operations with law enforcement entities are challenging because leaks of planning and information by corrupted officials have compromised past efforts.  Bringing police, particularly at the state and local level, up to standard will be challenging and a prolonged process. Galvan said that SEDENA’s permanent deployment of two officers to the El Paso Intelligence Center will help to disseminate rapidly information to the Ciudad Juarez commander.

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 /

PASCUAL

 

 

Calderón claims Hugo Chaven interfering in Mexican politics

Bullshit.

02/12/2010

ID: 231175
Date: 2009-10-23 20:57:00 Origin: 09MEXICO3061 Source: Embassy Mexico Classification: SECRET Dunno: Destination: VZCZCXRO8732
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 003061

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2019
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINR, MX
SUBJECT: DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DENNIS BLAIR’S
MEETING WITH PRESIDENT CALDERON, OCTOBER 19

Classified 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.

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 /

PASCUAL

———-

Intentioon of Army chief to establish “state of exception” zones in parts of Mexico

At least in October 2008, the U.S. Embassy didn’t think the idea would fly.

02/12/2010

ID: 231890
Date: 2009-10-28 21:36:00
Origin: 09MEXICO3101
Source: Embassy Mexico
Classification: SECRET
Dunno: 09MEXICO2154 09MEXICO3076
Destination: VZCZCXRO2839
RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #3101/01 3012136
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 282136Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8804
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFISS/HQS USNORTHCOM
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 003101

NOFORN
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2019
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINR, MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO: ARTICLE 29 ‘STATE OF EXCEPTION’ –
UNCERTAIN RESULTS, FEW BENEFITS

REF: 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 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.

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.

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 /
FEELEY

———

Cable sobre la ayuda de EE UU en la lucha contra el narcotráfico (Death of Arturo Beltran)

240473 Date:2009-12-17 20:42:00 Origin:09MEXICO3573 Source:Embassy Mexico Classification:SECRET Dunno:09MONTERREY453 Destination:VZCZCXRO9531
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FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9478
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFISS/HQS USNORTHCOM
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 003573

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2019
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINR, MX
SUBJECT: MEXICAN NAVY OPERATION NETS DRUG KINGPIN ARTURO
BELTRAN LEYVA

REF: 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.

Visit Mexico City’s Classified Web Site at

MEXICO 00003573 003 OF 003

http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American
Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
PASCUAL

09MEXICO2676 : SEDENA

VZCZCXRO1895

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DE RUEHME #2676/01 2522147

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FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8187

INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE

RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC

RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

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RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 002676

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR RESTREPO; DEPT FOR WHA DAS JACOBSON

AND MEX OFFICE DIRECTOR LEE AND DSTAFF CUE.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/08/2019

TAGS: PREL MARR MASS PHUM PGOV PINR MX

SUBJECT: MEXICO: PROMISING FIRST TALKS WITH SEDENA ON HUMAN

RIGHTS

Classified 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 /

PASCUAL

09MEXICO3195
VZCZCXRO3884
RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #3195/01 3140013
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 100013Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8962
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFISS/HQS USNORTHCOM
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 MEXICO 003195

NOFORN
SIPDIS

NSC FOR DAN RESTREPO; DEPT FOR WHA DAS JACOBSON, MEX
DIRECTOR LEE, D STAFF CUE, AND INR HOHMAN.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO: MORE INTERAGENCY COOPERATION NEEDED ON
INTELLIGENCE ISSUES

Classified 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.

MEXICO 00003195 005 OF 005

10MEXICO141

VZCZCXRO4692
RR RUEHAG RUEHAO RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHME #0141/01 0571923
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 261923Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0719
INFO ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USNORTHCOM PETERSON AFB CO
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0012
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 000141

SIPDIS
NOFORN
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA DAS JACOBSON, MEX LEE AND PPC NSC FOR RESTREPO AND O’REILLY
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PASS TO AMCONSUL RECIFE
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PASS TO AMCONSUL QUEBEC
AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN PASS TO AMEMBASSY GRENADA
AMEMBASSY ATHENS PASS TO AMCONSUL THESSALONIKI
AMEMBASSY BERLIN PASS TO AMCONSUL DUSSELDORF
AMEMBASSY BERLIN PASS TO AMCONSUL LEIPZIG
EO 12958 DECL: 2020/02/26
TAGS PREL, OAS, KSUM, KPIN, CACM, CDB, XM, XR, XS, XL, MX

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

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MEXICO193
2009-01-23 23:11
2010-12-02 21:09
SECRET//NOFORN
Embassy Mexico

R 232312Z JAN 09 ZDS
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4721
INFO ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
HQ USNORTHCOM
CIA WASHINGTON DC
CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
NSC WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T MEXICO 000193

NOFORN
E.O. 12958: DNG: CO 01/22/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PINR SNAR KCRM MX
SUBJECT: THE BATTLE JOINED: NARCO VIOLENCE TRENDS IN 2008

REF: 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

Tapachula Arms Conference

U.S. claims Mexico is lax on Guatemalan/Belize border — but, it appears that Guat/Belize is not a major security concern … my sense is that the Mexican security forces are more worried about contraband — guns, currency and criminals — from the United States and focus their limited military resources on the real threat.

10MEXICO77 2010-01-25 17:05 2010-12-11 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Mexico

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/01/25
TAGS: SNAR PREL PGOV PHUM KCRM MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO: TAPACHULA ARMS CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON SOUTHERN BORDER
PROBLEMS

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 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

Scenesetter for the Opening of the Defense Bilateral Working Group

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/01/29
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, SNAR, KCRM, MX
SUBJECT: Scenesetter for the Opening of the Defense Bilateral Working
Group, Washington, D.C., February 1

DERIVED 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 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.

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.

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

———————————–

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

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