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Cablegate: Scenesetter for Dhs Secretary Michael Chertoff,

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2564
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RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RHMFIUU/CDR USNORTHCOM
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

162101
2008-07-15 12:40:00
08MEXICO2160
Embassy Mexico
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

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DE RUEHME #2160/01 1971240
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FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2564
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RHMFIUU/CDR USNORTHCOM
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM SNAR KCRM MX
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 MEXICO 002160

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR INL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM SNAR KCRM MX
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR DHS SECRETARY MICHAEL CHERTOFF,
JULY 17-19
1. (SBU) Welcome to Mexico City. Mexico remains key to USG
success in combating the trafficking of drugs, persons, arms
and precursors, terrorism, and other transnational threats.
With the recent signing of Merida Initiative funding, we are
poised to significantly expand counter drug cooperation and
support President Calderon's robust efforts to take down
Mexico's drug cartels and improve public security.

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

2. (SBU) President Calderon remains firm in his commitment
to aggressively target violence and criminality and continues
to sharpen the capabilities of his law enforcement team. In
the past year and a half he has: launched aggressive
anti-drug operations in ten states; raised pay for the
military; replaced numerous high-ranking federal police
officers in an anti-corruption campaign; launched a billion
dollar project to create real-time interconnectivity between
all police and prosecutors, as well as a unified national
crime database; and, stewarded congressional legislation to
unify federal police forces and reform the judicial system.

3. (SBU) Calderon continues to greatly strengthen law
enforcement cooperation with the USG. The GOM has ramped up
extraditions to the U.S. - 83 in 2007 and 38 so far this
year. 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
continues to rank as the number one priority in public
opinion polls and there is general support among the Mexican
public and body politic for expanding bilateral cooperation.
The Merida Initiative is only the highest profile element of
an emerging pattern of cooperation across the board, which is
likely to take on momentum in coming years.

4. (SBU) It should be noted that Mexico's military plays a
fundamental role in the fight against organized crime, and in
particular narco-trafficking. Both SEDENA and SEMAR, at the
direction of the President, have devoted significant
resources and manpower towards drug, firearms and bulk cash
interdictions and eradication.

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

5. (SBU) The human price Mexico is paying remains high, with
almost 2000 drug related killings so far in 2008, including
194 police and military officials. A new disturbing trend in
recent months has been the slaying of several senior police
officials.

---------------------
Combating Corruption
---------------------

6. (SBU) Turning the page on Mexico's endemic corruption
problem is an essential component of President Calderon's
efforts to combat organized crime. The Public Administration
Secretariat (SFP), created by the Fox administration is at
the center of efforts, coordinating a network of IGs in GOM
offices. In 2007, SFP reported that the number of
investigations conducted and public officials dismissed
nearly doubled over the prior year. The Public Security
Secretariat (SSP) has undertaken an ambitious program
designed to eventually vet all 400,000 of Mexico's federal,
state, and local law enforcement officials. Mexico's
recently approved judicial reforms should make Mexico's
judicial processes more transparent and accessible.
Meanwhile, Mexico's military seeks to deepen its cooperative
relationship with the U.S., including through the acquisition
of U.S. equipment, in large measure out of a desire to reduce
the potential for corruption. Mexico has far to go to put
its legacy of corruption behind it but it is striking out in
the right direction. Deepening U.S. cooperation through the
Merida Initiative will advance significantly the GOM's
anti-corruption efforts.

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

MEXICO 00002160 002 OF 004


--------------

7. (SBU) In June, President Calderon signed into law major
judicial reform legislation to facilitate transition to an
oral trial system, give law enforcement officials broader
search and seizure authority, allow consensual monitoring of
telephone calls, and give police more responsibility for
conducting investigations. Effective implementation of the
legislation will make the Mexican system work more
transparently, expeditiously, and fairly. A share of Merida
Initiative support is tagged to assist Mexico with putting
this improved system into place.

-------------------
Political Landscape
-------------------

8. (SBU) The president faces a hardening political
environment here, in the advent of legislative and key
gubernatorial elections next year. The window of
opportunity to effectively cooperate with a divided congress
on major reform initiatives, such as energy reform, is
rapidly closing. While security issues are paramount,
prosperity is also a 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.

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

9. (SBU) 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.

----------
Key Issues
----------

10. (SBU) Key Issues During Your Visit Include:

-- Border Security: In FY 2007 there were a total of 1,073
incidents of violence that occurred at/or between the ports
of entry against CBP law enforcement personnel, resulting in
a 28% increase from FY06 to FY07. The southwest border
accounted for 99% of violent assaults against CBP law
enforcement personnel for FY07.

The protocols addressing border violence that we entered into
with the GOM in 2006 are now in place throughout the entire
U.S.-Mexico border. Through these protocols, joint Border
Security and Public Safety working groups meet locally on a
monthly basis to discuss incidents of and mechanisms to
address cross-border violence.

Since the protocols were instituted, the most prevalent
challenge has been the lack of GOM response to calls for
assistance and/or support. In response to the issue, SSP and
CISEN have worked closely to draft a plan of incorporation of
Mexico's Federal Police to become and equal partner in the
protocols.

The GOM is quick to posture on incidents of violence against
undocumented aliens. The occasional cases in which Border
Patrol agents (often acting in self-defense) injure or kill
undocumented aliens inevitably provoke a sharp reaction here.
Your visit can reinforce our message that we are concerned
by the violence that is an unfortunate bi-product of illegal
migration and that we need to work together to ensure safe,
orderly and legal border crossings, while stemming the flow
of illegal migrants. (Note: Mexico has similar problems with
violence along it's own southern border and the internal
treatment of illegal migrants.)


-- The Border Fence: The GOM strongly opposes the

MEXICO 00002160 003 OF 004


construction of walls and other border infrastructure. In
this regard, minor incidents on the border, associated with
infrastructure development, can quickly become public
disputes. It should be anticipated that the GOM will state
its disapproval of DHS' efforts with SBI and the ongoing
fence construction.


-- Less than Lethal Munitions: The GOM strongly opposes the
deployment of less-than-lethal munitions (Pepperball
Launchers, FN303, etc.) into Mexican territory. The GOM
considers the use of these tools an affront to basic human
rights and takes the opportunity to criticize DHS' use of
them. It should be anticipated that the GOM will state their
opposition to this tactic.


-- Navarro-Montes: The GOM has continuously supported the
USG investigation into the death of Agent Luis Aguilar. The
GOM may use this case as an example of their support of DHS'
efforts to curb border violence. It should also be expected
that the GOM will reiterate that Navarro-Montes was held for
several months awaiting an extradition request. This fact
has been heavily reported in the media as well.


-- Drugs: Mexico is a central partner in USG efforts to
combat drug trafficking and other trans-border threats. The
2000-mile border, with its high-volume ports of entry, and
Mexico's maritime waters and airports, are vulnerable to
criminal penetration. As much as 80 percent of all the
cocaine consumed in the United States transits Mexico.
Mexico is a major source of heroin, methamphetamines, and
marijuana, and the primary placement point for criminal
proceeds from the U.S. into the international financial
system. While taking aggressive measures to tackle the
problem at home, President Calderon has also publicly urged
the United States to boost our own efforts to drive down
demand for narcotics and improve controls on arms, cash, and
precursor chemicals smuggled into Mexico.


-- Arms Trafficking: The smuggling of weapons into Mexico
from the U.S. represents a major concern for Mexican
authorities. Approximately 95 percent of the illegal arms,
including automatic weapons, smuggled into Mexico come from
the U.S. The GOM would like to see the U.S. take stricter
measures to better enforce existing U.S. legislation on arms
exports, which the GOM believes is fundamental to winning the
war against organized crime and drug trafficking.

ATF conducts all firearms traces of seized weapons in Mexico
and also assist SEDENA in cases of ATF jurisdiction. E-Trace
has been deployed to all nine U.S. Consulate Offices in
Mexico. It is a means of electronically submitting a trace
request via computer to ATF's National Tracing Center and
providing the requestor with a response within ten days. An
urgent trace can be submitted and received within 24 hours.
E-Trace is available to both U.S. and Mexican law enforcement
at these Consulate Offices. ATF is currently waiting for SSP
to sign an E-Trace MOU to deploy E-Trace to the SSP at all 32
Mexican States.

DHS continues to work on a number of important initiatives
with Mexico involving arms trafficking. ICE recently
initiated &Operation Armas Cruzadas8 to combat the
smuggling of weapons from the United States into Mexico. As
part of this initiative, DHS and GOM agencies will partner in
unprecedented bilateral interdiction, investigation, an
intelligence-sharing activities to identify, disrupt, and
dismantle cross-border criminal networks that smuggle weapons
from the United States into Mexico.

Moreover, DOD through the Defense Attache has established a
close working relationship with SEDENA relative to firearms
seizures. Through "Operation Chuck Wagon" they assist SEDENA
in identifying high caliber and military type weapons (i.e.
LAW rockets, RPG's and grenades).


-- Southern Border: Mexico's southern border remains
extremely vulnerable to illegal immigration, trafficking in
persons, and the smuggling of all manner of contraband,

MEXICO 00002160 004 OF 004


including drugs/precursors. It is an issue of great concern
to the GOM, which attributes its lack of success in dealing
with the problem to the difficult local terrain; the lack of
enforcement infrastructure; the historically informal nature
of the border, particularly among local residents; and the
inadequate border security efforts of its southern neighbors,
Guatemala and Belize. Nevertheless, progress in securing
Mexico's southern border is of vital importance in achieving
our own security objectives. Last year Calderon announced
plans for a Safe Southern Border Program, designed to
strengthen Mexico's law enforcement efforts in the south,
improve treatment of illegal immigrants, and create a guest
worker program for Central Americans. In your meetings, you
may wish to inquire about the status of Mexican efforts to
develop a comprehensive strategy to secure the southern
frontier.


-- Maritime Migration.: The GOM is concerned about the
increase in Cuban migration through Mexico to the United
States. Many GOM officials fear that if the migration
increases -- or there is a mass migration from Cuba -- the
United States will shut down its borders and look to Mexico
to solve what it considers a U.S. problem.


-- Maritime Operations: The USCG and SEMAR are working
exceptionally well together tacking maritime issues:
smuggling, port security, search and rescue, and
infrastructure protection. SEMAR would like complete
interoperability with the USCG across all mission areas.


-- Disaster relief: SEDENA and SEMAR are very involved in
disaster relief and consider themselves experts. The
assisted the United States during Hurricane Katrina.
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 /
PARNELL

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