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Cablegate: Deputy Secretary Engages Mexican Legislators On

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RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #6042/01 3392112
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 052112Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9790
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0096
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USNORTHCOM
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 006042

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/MEX, INR, INL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON MX
SUBJECT: DEPUTY SECRETARY ENGAGES MEXICAN LEGISLATORS ON
MERIDA INITIATIVE


MEXICO 00006042 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: At an October 29 dinner with senior
members of Mexico,s congress, Deputy Secretary had the
opportunity to address some of the issues raised both in the
U.S. and Mexico regarding the announced Merida Initiative.
While members of the three principal parties in both chambers
indicated some concerns with the way the Merida Initiative
has been handled by the GOM to date, none registered serious
objections to the substance of the program; each agreed that
circumstances in Mexico warranted stronger law enforcement
cooperation. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Late business in the Chamber of Deputies kept all
but one lower house invitee from attending the dinner (PRI
deputy Juan Manuel Paras Gonzales). However, all three of
the principal Senate power brokers attended, including Senate
President Santiago Creel (PAN), Political Coordinator Manlio
Fabio Beltrones (PRI) and PRD leader Carlos Navarrete.
Former Foreign Minister and current Senate Foreign Affairs
Commission President Rosario Green (PRI) and North America
Commission head Senator Ricardo Garcia Cervantes (PAN) also
participated. Ambassador Negroponte was accompanied by
Assistant Secretary for Western Hemispere Affairs Tom
Shannon, Ambassador Garza, Deputy Chief of Mission Leslie
Basset, Embassy Political Counselor and the Embassy,s
Narcotics Affairs Section Chief.

3. (SBU) The group took pains to outline the party
composition of both chambers for the benefit of the Deputy
Secretary, stressing the strength Congress has gained in

SIPDIS
recent years. It is a key institutional player in Mexican
politics. Both chambers are more self-confident and
assertive than in years past; the agenda during this current
legislature is particularly ambitious. This narrative served
to drive home the point that Mexico,s Congress is an
institution that expects to be taken seriously and play a
significant role in shaping policy in areas such as security
and law enforcement.

4. (SBU) Senator Green pointedly asked the Deputy
Secretary why the unveiling of the Merida Initiative had been

SIPDIS
&so badly managed,8 asserting that US-GOM consultations had
been conducted secretively and that legislators, at least in
Mexico, felt blind-sided by the October 22 announcement.
While others at the table, PAN legislators in particular,
opined that Senator Green might be overstating her case,
they too agreed that the GOM had to do a better job
consulting Congress as the program moves forward (while
granting that Congress here has no real statutory or
budgetary authority over the initiative). The Senate leaders
contrasted U.S. outreach to the U.S. congress favorably with
GOM,s own &meager8 efforts, noting that the information
they had on the initiative,s key elements came from the U.S.


5. (SBU) The Deputy Secretary advised that the U.S.
administration had faced its own criticism in Congress for
not having consulted fully enough in advance of announcing
the initiative. Such criticism, he said, was part and parcel
of executive-legislative relations, as well as the need for
the two governments to develop a proposal that could be
advanced for consideration. He stressed that the initiative
was the result of the strong personal commitment of
presidents Bush and Calderon when they met in March. He
assured his interlocutors that the October 22 announcement
was only the beginning of a dialogue among relevant players
in both Mexico and the U.S.

6. (SBU) Process concerns aside, dinner participants agreed
that the security situation in Mexico is grave, that both
countries bear responsibility for confronting narcotics
trafficking and related criminality, and that the Merida
Initiative represents a logical step in the effort to
strengthen the relationship. Even PRD,s Carlos Navarette,
whose party is sharply critical of the U.S. on many fronts
agreed he recognizes the need for a strengthened law
enforcement partnership between the U.S. and Mexico. Embassy
Comment: Naverette is considered to be a PRD moderate and is
well regarded by many in the GOM for his flexibility. His
comments reflected what other PRD moderates have told us.
Private words aside, however, Navarette and other PRD
legislators can be expected to mount public criticism of the

MEXICO 00006042 002.2 OF 002


package as it moves forward. 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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