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Cablegate: Mexico: Promising First Talks with Sedena On Human

VZCZCXRO1895
RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #2676/01 2522147
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 092147Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8187
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 002676

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR RESTREPO; DEPT FOR WHA DAS JACOBSON
AND MEX OFFICE DIRECTOR LEE AND DSTAFF CUE.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/08/2019
TAGS: PREL MARR MASS PHUM PGOV PINR MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO: PROMISING FIRST TALKS WITH SEDENA ON HUMAN
RIGHTS

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado.
Reason: 1.4 (b),(d)

1. (c) Summary: DATT, ODC Chief, DOJ Attache and Pol MinCouns
met with officials from the National Defense Secretariat
(SEDENA) on September 7 to discuss initiating a human rights
dialogue with the Mexican military that would allow us to
understand the legal process in the Mexican system of
military justice and clarify specific questions with regards
to alleged violations. General Lopez Portillo, the Senior
Human Rights official in SEDENA and a veteran military
prosecutor, was the lead official on the Mexican side,
accompanied by a Director General level representative from
the Mexican Foreign Ministry (SRE). They welcomed the
beginning of a dialogue with the Embassy on human rights
matters and proposed regular senior formal meetings (he
suggested 2-3 a year) as well as working level discussions to
clarify specific cases. (A list of all participants is
provided in para 7).

---------------------------------------------
Willing to Talk but a Dialogue Will Take Work
---------------------------------------------

2. (c) Although we previously had provided a list of specific
questions on several cases involving alleged human rights
violations through official SEDENA and SRE channels, and our
meeting had been coordinated a month in advance through the
SEDENA Protocol office (S2), Lopez Portillo did not receive
our questions before the meeting. This was not an indication
of SEDENA's unwillingness to discuss the cases, but rather
reflects a lack of experience in engaging on the human rights
topic and their somewhat rigid rules for transmitting
information to and within the SEDENA bureaucracy.

3. (c) Unaware of the questions we had provided on
allegations related to the specific cases, General Lopez
Portillo organized a general and open agenda for the meeting,
aimed at facilitating an open and frank discussion on
internal legal and judicial procedures within the Mexican
military. Throughout the meeting, our Mexican interlocutors
were well-disposed to answering our questions and
establishing a collaborative dialogue. We noted our interest
in reviewing the details of some specific cases as part of an
ongoing dialogue on human rights issues that would allow us
to understand better how SEDENA and the Mexican legal system
handled crimes involving military personnel and civilians. We
provided a copy of the questions we had provided prior to the
meeting and suggested a follow-up meeting to go over the
cases in more detail.

------------------------------------
SEDENA AND SRE SUGGEST A WAY FORWARD
------------------------------------

4. (c) SRE Director General for Human Rights and Democracy
Alejandro Negrin agreed with Lopez Portillo that we should
establish a formal and regular dialogue to discuss both the
specific cases and larger framework of how the Mexican
judicial system works in response to crimes involving
military personnel and civilians. He noted relevant legal
reforms and the ongoing effort by SEDENA to clarify its
procedures and respond to responsible questions. Lopez
Portillo noted SEDENA's interest in continuing to do more in
this regard and was supportive of establishing a bi-lateral
mechanism that would allow us to work together to help
clarify allegations. He suggested formal senior level
meetings several times a year, with working level meetings in
between.

5. (c) Lopez Portillo promised a timely written response to
the written questions we had provided earlier. He also
undertook to set up meetings to review military legal
procedure, particularly with regard to crimes involving
military and civilians. He suggested that we work closely
and collaboratively to clarify procedures and outstanding
allegations, many of which he observed, were designed to cast
doubt and dispersion on the Mexican military and not to
establish the truth. Both sides agreed that new questions

MEXICO 00002676 002 OF 002


about additional cases in the future should be provided
through SRE channels with a courtesy copy given to SEDENA.
The official response to specific cases would be delivered
from SEDENA through the SRE. Lopez Portillo said that he was
eager to work together with us to ensure that there would be
a satisfactory response on all human rights allegations.

-------
COMMENT
-------

6. (c) Establishing a productive human rights dialogue with
the Mexican military will take some work and considerable
fine tuning. This is not an area that the Mexican military
has traditionally discussed with any outsiders. While the
Mexican military has made some progress in establishing
mechanisms to review human rights allegations in response to
internal constitutional reforms and Mexico's international
obligations, it is still a delicate subject and one they are
likely to manage cautiously and not always adroitly. We are
encouraged by our initial meeting but much remains to be
done. We will follow up promptly with SEDENA and SRE to set
up our next meeting. Lopez Portillo provided repeated
assurances that SEDENA is prepared to respond in writing --
supplemented by working level discussion to clarify any
questions of procedure and translation -- to our questions on
specific cases. We will also expand current training and
subject matter expert exchanges that could help provide
SEDENA with support in their efforts to address human rights
issues in a more comprehensive and transparent way.

------------
PARTICIPANTS
------------

7. (c) The Mexican side was led by MG Jaime Lopez Portillo
and included Col. J.J. Juarez, Section 5 DH, Ltc Marcas
Burgos Legorretta, Section 5 DH, Major C.S. Lopez, and Ltc A.
Santos, S-2 as well as Alejandro Negrin, the Director General
of Human Rights and Democracy in the SRE. The U.S. side
included Defense Attache Col. Dan Alabre; ODC Chief Col.
Linwood Ham, Department of Justice Attache Tony Garcia and
Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado.
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 /

PASCUAL

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