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Cablegate: Under Pressure, Calderon Talks of Police Shakeups

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 002681

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SNAR KCRM MX
SUBJECT: UNDER PRESSURE, CALDERON TALKS OF POLICE SHAKEUPS

1. (U) Summary: Reacting to growing public and political
pressure to achieve results in the fight against organized
crime and violence in Mexico, President Calderon signaled
that the removal of a senior Public Security official was
part of a stepped up effort to revitalize the leadership of
national law enforcement and take on the fight "with greater
determination." In comments to reporters, however, Calderon
was careful to give no indication of a shakeup of senior law
enforcement or cabinet officials. End Summary.

2. (U) Since Saturday's series of public marches in Mexican
cities which drew tens of thousands out in protest to demand
better results (Septel), recent days have seen setbacks for
the president in terms of public optics over the issue of
crime. Beginning to distance themselves from the government
in the advent of next year's legislative elections, senior
PRI legislators, including Senate leader Manlio Fabio
Beltrones and Chamber leader Emilio Gamboa, sharpened their
criticism of Calderon's overall approach, chiding him for
poor management of his security cabinet and saying they would
call both the Attorney General (PGR) and Public Security
Secretary (SSP) to address Mexico's congress to give an
account of their activities.

3. (U) A poll released on September 1 by the daily Reforma
showed that support for Calderon's handling of
counter-narcotics and security issues had slipped during the
last six months, with 48 percent of those surveyed expressing
unfavorable views of his handling of the war against the
cartels in late August -- up from 36 percent saying they
believed he was doing a poor job in March. Disapproval of
his handling of public security in general jumped from 36
percent to 45 percent during the same period.

4. (U) Calderon's annual report to congress (for the first
time hand-delivered by his Secretary of Government instead of
read aloud by the president) did little to give him the
public affairs edge. Media criticized the document for its
lack of specificity with regards to violence. Mexico City
daily El Excelsior, for example, claimed that the document
had downplayed narco-violence by ignoring the nearly 3000
Mexicans killed in narco-violence this year, including close
to 400 military and police officials. The same day of the
report, a high profile NGO, the Public Security Citizens
Council, complained that the 75-point agreement reached in
August by Mexico's executive branch, the legislature and
state government representatives contained few concrete goals
for curbing kidnappings in Mexico -- which have once again
become the focus of much public angst here -- and called on
the government to eradicate the crime within four years.

5. (SBU) Calderon leaned forward to respond. On Tuesday he
confirmed the replacement of Roberto Campa, director of the
National Public Security System with Ricardo Marquez Blas,
the section's operations manager. Saying that he was taking
on the "re-vitalization" of Mexico's public security
institutions, Calderon would not rule out further personnel
changes within law enforcement institutions, but said a
cabinet shuffle was not in the offing at this point. He gave
no indication that SSP head Garcia Luna, with whom there has
been a fair amount of frustration among other senior law
enforcement and security officials, was vulnerable.

6. (U) The president, however, said he was aware of reports
of poor coordination between PGR and SSP and said that he had
instructed his two senior law enforcement officials to do a
better job communicating and coordinating with each other.

7. (SBU) Campa's departure from National Public Security was
probably an idea whose idea had come, say mission law
enforcement specialists. The job entailed coordinating the
federal government's effort to establish uniform standards
among Mexico's many state and local police entities and bring
local cops into four regional training centers. According
to many law enforcement contacts, the effort has been
under-funded and anemic since its inception. In particular,
military leaders, who have had to deploy their forces to plug
the breach, have criticized the institution for its failure
to sharpen police skills.

8. (U) A 2006 presidential candidate for a small political
party, the New Alliance, Campa was considered by many to have
been a politically motivated pick for the job. "He has no
public security experience, strategy or policy," one UNAM
crime specialist told reporters. His successor, Roberto
Marquez, has longstanding law enforcement credentials, having
held positions within SSP for the bulk of his career.
Politicians from both the PAN and opposition parties said
they hoped the change would have a salutary effect on
coordination between federal, state and local law
enforcement.


MEXICO 00002681 002 OF 002


9. (SBU) Comment: Clearly under pressure to show results,
Calderon has begun by underscoring ongoing efforts to improve
leadership and management of the nation's top law enforcement
institutions. Campa was ripe for replacement, and Calderon
hinted that there would be more to come. As July's shakeup
within PGR indicated, senior police officials are under
pressure to sideline bad or ineffectual law enforcement
officials, and we can expect more resignations in coming
weeks. End Comment.


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

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