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Cablegate: Mexico's Attorney General May Be On His Way Out

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2009-08-28 16:17:00
09MEXICO2556
Embassy Mexico
CONFIDENTIAL

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TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR MX
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 002556

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NSC FOR RESTREPO.
WHA FOR DAS JACOBSON AND MEX DIRECTOR LEE.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO'S ATTORNEY GENERAL MAY BE ON HIS WAY OUT
Classified By: Confidential by Political Minister Gustavo Delgado.
Reason: 1.4 (b),(d).

1. (C) Attorney General (PGR) Eduardo Medina Mora,
oft-rumored to be up for replacement, appears to be on his
way out of PGR. Marisela Morales Ibanez, head of the PGR's
anti-organized crime unit, SIEDO, told a DOJ, ATF, and ICE
delegation that the GOM will announce the change the week of
August 31. Oscar Rocha, Medina Mora's close aide, also told
Emboffs that "this time, the rumors are true." Emboffs with
PGR contacts say that President Calderon may be looking to
replace Medina Mora with an Attorney General more connected
to the PAN party and more loyal to him personally -- Medina
Mora was never considered a hardcore PANista. Others have
said that the President is looking for a leader with better
relationships with the states, perhaps perceiving a
disconnect between the implementation of justice reforms and
prosecution of the counternarcotics fight between the two
levels of government.

3. (C) The GOM has not yet indicated who might replace Medina
Mora -- the Senate also will have to confirm the President's
pick -- but speculation on potential candidates has centered
on Assistant Attorney General and Director of International
Affairs Juan Miguel Alcantara Soria. Alcantara is a
long-time associate of President Calderon and militantly
PANista. He has served as the Attorney General for
Guanajuato State, a two-time federal deputy (acting as
vice-coordinator of the PAN bloc one term) and as a delegate
to the state legislature. He has also taught law and worked
as a lawyer in the private sector. Alcantara did graduate
work at the Complutense University and Ortega and Gasset
University Institute in Madrid, and is close to Medina Mora
from their days in university together in Mexico. According
to Emboffs, he currently lives in Medina Mora's house.
Alcantara does not speak English and comes across as
unassuming and unpolished. Embassy law enforcement officials
say they have had less interaction with him than other
high-level PGR officials, and that he lacks the gravitas of
Medina Mora. Emboffs who have personally interacted with
Alcantara say that he has a highly intelligent legal mind.
He is pro-American and has had close professional contact
with U.S. diplomats over the years. He is married and has at
least two teenage children.

4. (C) Rocha told Emboffs that the second most likely
candidate is the Secretary of Government for Baja California
State, Jose Francisco Blake Mora. Blake Mora is a PAN
stalwart and considered close to Calderon. He was a Baja
state and federal deputy. He became close to Calderon in the
latter post, during which time the President was the PAN
Chamber coordinator. Blake Mora ran Calderon's 2006
presidential campaign in Baja, and is currently serving as
Secretary of Government in the PAN administration of Governor
Jose Guadalupe Osuna Milan. The Tijuana Consulate says that
many observers consider him the "real Governor," controlling
appointments to the state apparatus and making key decisions.
He is a controversial figure who will alienate factions
within his own party to further his personal political
positions, and his brash style of politics has created rifts
within the local PAN party. The Consulate reports rumors in
Tijuana indicating that Blake Mora will move to PGR and that
he already has put "his people" in place there. A local
respected newspaper known for exposing corruption, "Las
Zetas," published unproven accusations that Blake Mora used
public funds for personal weekend vacations, to which he has
never responded.

5. (C) Morales Ibanez is also reportedly on the shortlist and
has excellent ties to USG interlocutors. She has worked in
the Mexico City government, as a federal prosecutor, and as
head of the Narcotics Investigations Unit. Oscar Rocha and
an August 19 report in Mexico City daily, "El Universal" name
Arturo Chavez Chavez, a former Chihuahua State prosecutor, as
another potential candidate.

6. (C) Comment. While not without critics, Medina Mora is a
critical partner in USG efforts to combat organized crime,
implement Merida Initiative programs, and help clean up the
corruption-riddled PGR. In the wake of 9/11 and the

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development of the US-Mexico Smart Border Accord, Medina Mora
emerged as the Fox administration's point man on bilateral
security and terrorism. Eight years later, he is still at it
and the work, both in CISEN and PGR, has taken a personal
toll on the normally ebullient "gringo handler." He told
Charge that he is tired, but never intimated he was ready to
go. If Medina Mora leaves PGR, several members of his team
may also depart. Bilateral progress on some initiatives,
could temporarily stall. Regardless of who might follow
Medina Mora as Attorney General, the Embassy team remains
well placed to continue the excellent operational cooperation
we have developed with PGR over the past two administrations.
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 /

FEELEY

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