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Cablegate: Scenesetter for the Visit of Attorney General Michael B.

VZCZCXRO0162
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #0081/01 0111641
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111641Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0122
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 000081

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FROM AMBASSADOR GARZA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KJUS KCRM SNAR OVIP MUKASEY MICHAEL MX
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR THE VISIT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL MICHAEL B.
MUKASEY TO MEXICO, JANUARY 15-16, 2008

1. Welcome to Mexico City. Mexico is key to USG success in
combating the trafficking of drugs, persons, arms and precursors,
terrorism, and other transnational threats. Since entering office
last December, Felipe Calderon's government has moved with
unprecedented speed to improve public security.

-----------------------------
Strengthening Law Enforcement
-----------------------------

2. Specific measures include: launching aggressive anti-drug
operations in ten states; raising pay for the military; replacing
numerous high-ranking federal police officers in an anti-corruption
campaign; launching a billion dollar project to create real-time
interconnectivity between all police and prosecutors, as well as a
unified national crime database; and, proposing congressional bills
to unify federal police forces and reform the judicial system.

3. The GOM has greatly strengthened law enforcement cooperation
with the USG, which along with a more flexible attitude by the
courts has allowed for the extradition of a record 83 criminals to
the U.S. in 2007, exceeding 2006's record level. The GOM is now
extraditing cartel kingpins of significance and has seized record
hauls of cocaine, methamphetamine precursors, and bulk cash and
other assets.

4. The ongoing security campaign has reduced the broad geographic
range and legal impunity that the cartels have traditionally enjoyed
in Mexico, although progress is tenuous and uneven. Addressing
personal security challenges ranks regularly as the number one
priority in public opinion polls. Calderon has accomplished more in
his first year than almost any other recent Mexican president in
countering unlawfulness and murder.

------------------------------------
Stakes Rising for Security Officials
------------------------------------

5. The human price Mexico has paid has been high: over 2007, almost
250 police and military officials have been killed. Mexican
political leaders are not shy about reminding us that U.S. demand
for drugs, money laundering, and illegal arms flows from our side of
the border help fuel Mexico's drug war.

-------------------
Human Rights Issues
-------------------

6. Members of the political opposition and human rights groups have
expressed concern about the continued use of the military for
internal security and the potentially corrupting influence this
fight poses to the institution. The National Human Rights
Commission (CNDH) has investigated and reported on several
incidents.

7. To date, the Secretariat of Defense has shown a willingness to
deal with abuses committed by soldiers, including investigating
individuals accused of violations in the state of Michoacan and
prosecuting soldiers who killed a family at a roadblock in the state
of Sinaloa. In October 2007, eight soldiers were tried on charges
relating to the beating of 7 policemen and the rape of some 14
women. Four of the soldiers were acquitted; the other four were
convicted and sentenced up to 41 years, marking the first time
troops have been tried and convicted in civilian courts.
Outstanding allegations against members of a variety of federal,
state and local security elements remain unresolved and under
investigation.

-------------------------
Other Security Challenges
-------------------------

8. EPR attacks on Pemex pipelines in July and early September have
added another dimension to Mexico's security concerns, raising the
specter of home-grown terrorism. Calderon also recognizes that
Mexico's own southern border remains extremely vulnerable to
immigration, trafficking in persons, and the smuggling of
contraband, and that securing this border is of vital importance to
U.S. security. Mexico faces a variety of security challenges --
both mature and incipient.

--------------
Justice Reform
--------------

9. The Mexican Senate passed judicial reform legislation in
December that would facilitate transition to an oral trial system,
give law enforcement officials broader search and seizure authority,

MEXICO 00000081 002.2 OF 003


allow consensual monitoring of telephone calls, and give police more
responsibility for conducting investigations. Since the Senate
modified several articles of the draft prior approved by the House
of Deputies, the Senate version will return to the House for
consideration in February. Several leftist parties and human rights
activists described the legislation as a "step backwards," giving
the State excessive authorities at the expense of the accused. Many
jurists, however, believe effective implementation of the
legislation will make the Mexican system work more transparently,
expeditiously, and fairly.

-------------------------
Privileges and Immunities
-------------------------

10. The Embassy sent a diplomatic note to SRE in early 2007
requesting that all DEA agents be afforded protections equivalent to
those of Internationally Protected Persons (IPPs). In both Mexican
and U.S. interpretations that implies administrative and technical
status under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic Relations. SRE
replied by asking how many law enforcement officers needed
IPP-equivalent protections. State/L undertook a lengthy review
which indicated that many law enforcement -- not just DEA -- might
not have the necessary diplomatic protections. We so informed SRE,
and requested follow-up conversations to determine specifically what
the existing protections are for law enforcement officials,
especially those assigned to US consulates in Mexico, and whether
they too could be afforded IPP-equivalent protections. We await
SRE's reply to this matter.

----------------
Visa Revocations
----------------

11. In 2007, Embassy Mexico processed 111 visa revocations for
persons involved in narcotrafficking, their families or those
involved in drug-related activities. Our Consular Section worked
together with DEA and ICE among other Mission agencies to develop
the information in these cases.

-------
Economy
-------

12. The Calderon administration has registered some impressive
economic accomplishments during its first year -- maintaining
macroeconomic stability, keeping inflation at a reasonable 4%, and
lowering barriers to trade. The president secured quick
congressional approval of the 2007 and 2008 budgets, and won passage
of an unpopular but necessary government workers' social security
reform. His effort to reform Mexico's tax system paid off on
September 14 when Congress approved a tax reform that will boost
government revenues by 2.1% of GDP by 2012. Much remains to be
done, however, to arrest Mexico's slipping global competitiveness.
The GOM's challenge is to implement structural reforms required for
growth sufficient to raise 40% of Mexicans out of poverty.

--------------------------------------------- ---
President Facing Difficult Political Environment
--------------------------------------------- ---

13. Having completed his first year in office, Felipe Calderon has
crafted an image as an activist president, consolidating his own
political position and the power of the Mexican state -- no small
feat given tensions surrounding the 2006 elections and the law
enforcement challenges the country faces. The president faces a
difficult political environment here, with an active and vocal
opposition challenging him regularly.

14. Prosperity ranks with security as the key priority in the minds
of most Mexicans. If his programs and policies prove unsuccessful
in generating the kind of growth necessary to create sufficient jobs
and reduce poverty, Calderon could quickly find himself vulnerable
to a reinvigorated political opposition. All three of the main
political parties have their eyes on bellwether 2009 congressional
elections.

----------------------
U.S.- Mexico Relations
----------------------

15. The Calderon government has demonstrated pragmatism in its
posture toward the United States and bilateral cooperation,
particularly in law enforcement, has never been stronger. However,
the failure of immigration reform in the United States was a
political setback for the president. The result is that he enjoys
less political space in which to openly cooperate with the U.S. on
issues of mutual bilateral importance.

MEXICO 00000081 003 OF 003

GARZA

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