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Cablegate: Nuevo Leon's New Cabinet has Few Surprises

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228632
2009-10-06 22:31:00
09MONTERREY371
Consulate Monterrey
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
09MONTERREY352
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 MONTERREY 000371

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON EFIN SOCI PINR MX
SUBJECT: NUEVO LEON'S NEW CABINET HAS FEW SURPRISES

REF: A) MONTERREY 352

MONTERREY 00000371 001.2 OF 005


1. (SBU) Summary: New Nuevo Leon Governor Rodrigo Medina
released the names of his cabinet members on October 3. With
the exception of his choice for the Secretary of Public
Security, Medina's choices overwhelmingly reflect continuity
from the prior administration, which is not surprising given
that he was his predecessor's - ex Governor Jose Natividad
Gonzalez Paras'- hand-picked successor. Of the 16 cabinet level
appointments announced, 11 served in the prior administration:
one remains in his post, and another 10 are either switching
seats or assuming higher ranking positions within the new
administration.

Secretary General of Government

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

2. (U) Medina tapped Javier Trevino Cantu, who has worked as
Vice President of Senior Communication and Corporate Affairs of
Cemex, Mexico's construction materials giant, since 2001, to be
his Secretary General of Government. Trevino is a political
veteran who previously served as former President Ernesto
Zedillo's Deputy Secretary for Administration at the Treasury
Department (1998-2000) and as Under-Secretary for International
Cooperation in the Foreign Ministry (1994-1998). From 1989 to
1993, Trevino served as a public affairs officer at the Mexican
Embassy in Washington, D.C. Trevino is a board member of the
Woodrow Wilson Center's Mexico Institute and the Arizona State
University's North American Center. He also serves as a
Professor of Monterrey TEC's Graduate School of Public
Administration (EGAP), is a contributing editorialist to the
local daily "El Norte," and serves as the Honorary Consul for
the Republic of Korea to Monterrey.

Secretary of Finance and Treasury

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

3. (U) Alfredo Garza de la Garza -- Chief Officer of State
Government for the outgoing administration -- will be the new
Secretary of Finance and Treasury. Garza has held both elected
and appointed positions at the state and municipal level. He
served as the Mayor of the municipality of Linares, and as a
local representative in the legislature. He was Director of
Development for Southern Nuevo Leon, and Director of the State
Program for Business Promotion. He also brings to his current
post experience as the Comptroller for the City of Monterrey,
and as Chief Accountant of State Revenue. Garza De La Garza's
nomination was forwarded to the State Legislature on October 5
for pro forma confirmation.

Attorney General

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

4. (U) Alejandro Garza y Garza, an Assistant Attorney General
in the Nuevo Leon Public Ministry in the outgoing administration
has been nominated to become the state's Attorney General. He
brings a wealth of experience to the post, having served as
Director General of Investigation, Director of Expert Services,
Director of Agents of the Public Ministry, and Agent of the
Public Ministry in Guadalupe, San Pedro, and Monterrey. In
September 2006, Garza y Garza's brother -- Marcelo, a
high-ranking state police official -- was murdered by a hit man
outside a church in the Monterrey suburb of San Pedro Garza
Garcia. Garza y Garza's nomination was forwarded to the State
Legislature on October 5 for pro forma confirmation .

Secretary of Public Security

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


MONTERREY 00000371 002.2 OF 005


5. (SBU) President of the state Citizen's Council for Public
Security Carlos Juaregui Hintze takes over from Aldo Fasci
Zuazua as State Secretary for Public Security. Juaregui, a
businessman, has also served as president of the Civic Council
for the Institutions of Nuevo Leon, A.C. (an umbrella NGO
working on behalf of other NGOs) and as president of the state's
Review Board for Civil Servant Compensation. Juaregui's
selection is one of the few surprises among Medina's selections.
Public security deteriorated dramatically during Governor
Gonzalez Paras' tenure, and given the army's relatively strong
track record in combating organized crime, many analysts had
expected Governor Medina to name a military officer (either
active duty or retired) to the position of Secretary of Public
Security. (Comment: Juaregui has long been an outspoken voice
for reform who has advocated better police officer vetting.
During a recent meeting with the Ambassador, he emphasized
citizen participation in evaluating police chiefs and espoused
penal reforms aimed at providing prisoners with educational
opportunities in order to dissuade them from joining the ranks
of organized crime. Ref A. End comment.)

Chief of the Executive Office

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

6. (U) Medina tapped SRE Ambassador Carlos Almada, the outgoing
governor's International Affairs coordinator as Chief of his
Executive Office for the State of Nuevo Leon. Almada has served
as Director General of Social Communication and as Spokesperson
for the President of the Republic during the Zedillo
Administration. He has also served previously as Chief Officer
of Government, Chief Officer of the Secretary of Energy, Mines,
and Parastate Industries, and Secretary of Administration for
the State of Mexico. Amada said his first task will be to
ensure that his office is in compliance with the recent
modifications to the Organic Law passed by the state
legislature, which realigns areas of responsibilities among the
state's various agencies.

Secretary of Education

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

7. (U) Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (UANL) rector Jose
Antonio Gonzalez Trevino, is the new Secretary of Education.
Gonzalez Trevino has been a professor at the UANL School of
Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (FIME) for 35 years, and
has held various high-level positions at the university during
his career. Antonio Gonzalez declares he will maintain and
extend Nuevo Leon's position as a leader in education by
improving infrastructure and approaches to education at the
earliest stages. Specifically, Gonzalez states that he hopes to
leverage evaluative tools such as ENLACE to identify areas for
improvement. (Comment: ENLACE is the National Evaluation of
Academic Success in Educational Centers, a test utilized to
measure secondary and primary students' ability in Spanish and
Math. Additionally, one other subject is tested each year; for
example, in 2009, Civics and Ethics were tested. While Nuevo
Leon students' ENLACE scores are consistently above the national
average and rising, some observers note that students need to be
tested according to a more objective international standard.
End Comment.)

Secretary of Health

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

8. (U) This position is now occupied by Dr. Jesus Zacarias
Villarreal Perez, who steps down as Director of Medicine at the
University Hospital. He previously served as Secretary of
Health to former Governor Fernando Canales, President of the
State Council for Medical Services, and Director General for the
Coordination of Specialized Regional Hospitals. Zacarias
Villarreal states that his priority is increasing diagnostic

MONTERREY 00000371 003.2 OF 005


capabilities dedicated to identifying the H1N1 virus, ensuring
that one lab is available for each municipality and four for
each sanitary district. He also emphasizes the need to address
dengue fever, and supports programs to combat obesity.
(Comment: Nuevo Leon is divided into four urban and four rural
sanitary districts. Post has noted media reports of
insufficient capacity in some of the rural districts, requiring
patients to travel to urban centers for treatment. End comment.)

Secretary of Social Development

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

9. (U) Juana Aurora Cavazos Cavazos, outgoing Subsecretary of
Human Resources with the Secretary of Education, takes over as
Secretary of Social Development. In the past, Cavazos has
served as City Councilwoman for the city of Allende, and as the
city's mayor. Previously, she has held the post of Federal
Congresswoman. Cavazos is also the Secretary General of a local
District Delegation for the National Syndicate of Education
Employees.

Secretary of Economic Development

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

10. (U) Othon Ruiz Montemayor, Secretary of Finance and Treasury
in the prior administration, has become the Secretary of
Economic Development. Before entering government service,
Montemayor worked in finance with the FEMSA group, where he was
Director of Finances and General Director. He has also served
as President of the Banker's Association of Mexico, and Director
General of the Finance Group of Banorte. Montemayor expressed a
desire to reduce administrative barriers for businesses and
improve logistics, especially between the urban center of
Monterrey and developing communities such as Linares, Sabinas
and Montermorelos where multinationals have established
production facilities. In 2007, former Governor Gonzalez Paras
called upon him to rescue the state's flagging organizational
efforts in support of the International Forum of Cultures held
in Monterrey that year.

Secretary of Labor

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

11. (U) The exiting administration's Executive Secretary of the
Counsel of Coordination for the Integral System of Public
Security of Neuvo Leon, Alvaro Ibarra Hinojosa, has moved to the
position of Secretary of Labor. He has previously served as the
State of Nuevo Leon's Director of the Civil Registry,
Subsecretary of Political Development and Institutional
Relations, and Subsecretary of Citizen Service and Religious
Affairs.

Secretary of Public Works

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

12. (U) Lombardo Guajardo Guajardo, who occupied this position
in the outgoing administration, remains in this position with
the Medina administration - the only member of the previous
cabinet to remain in place. Guajardo has twice served as the
Municipal President of Apodaca, and three times as the Director
of Public Works for the same city and, most recently; as
Director General of Water Services and Drainage of Monterrey.
He is a former federal Congressman. Guajardo's appointment is a
strong vote of confidence from Governor Medina.

MONTERREY 00000371 004.2 OF 005

Secretary of Sustainable Development

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

13. (U) Fernando Gutierrez Moreno, Director of the Institute
for Environmental Protection of Nuevo Leon, took over as
Secretary of Sustainable Development. He is also the President
of the Consultory Council for Sustainable Development and has
served as Director of Planning and Environmental Development for
the Secretary of Urban Development. Gutierrez has worked as a
part-time professor in the state's leading academic
institutions: the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (UANL)
and the Technological Institute of Monterey (ITESM).

Comptroller and Secretary of Transparency

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

14. (U) Jorge Manjarrez Rivera, an economist trained at the
Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon and at the University of
Colorado, assumes this post. He has served as Secretary of the
City of Monterrey, the State Secretary of Social Development,
and the Director General of the State Institute of Housing.

Legal Counsel to the Governor

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

15. (U) Governor Medina chose as his Legal Counsel Hugo
Alejandro Campos Cantu, Assistant Attorney General Juridical of
the State Attorney General's Office. Campos Cantu served on the
outgoing governor's Juridical Council.

General Director of DIF Nuevo Leon

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

16. (U) Elenitza Canavati Hadjopolus becomes General Director
of the Integral Development of the Family (DIF) Neuvo Leon. Ms.
Canavati Hadjopolus has experience working with UNICEF Mexico,
the Association for Integration and Support for Handicapped
Persons, and with the Coordination of Volunteers in the DIF of
Monterrey.

Secretary of Social Communication

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

17. (U) The Secretary of Social Communication is now Eloy Garza
Gonzalez, most recently Director of Political Analysis for the
Secretary of Government. Garza Gonzalez has also worked as the
Director General of Political Development in the same
Secretariat. He is a part-time professor in the Department of
Political Science and Communications of the Autonomous
University of Nuevo Leon.

Comment:

--------

18. (SBU) Despite a public emphasis on the need for a clean
break from the previous administration, Medina's cabinet choices
demonstrate a strong affinity for his predecessor's power base,

MONTERREY 00000371 005.2 OF 005


if not his policy priorities. Nothing makes this more clear
than his choice to leave Lombardo Guajardo Guajardo, the
Secretary of Public Works, in place. This is not only a strong
endorsement of Guajardo Guajardo, but an affirmation of his
predecessors emphasis on investment in public infrastructure,
which has resulted, among other projects, in an extension of
Monterrey's metro system, the construction of the Park of
Investigation and Technology Innovation (PIIT), and the
expansion of Monterrey's "Paseo," a river walk park and tourist
attraction that now reaches deep into Monterrey's downtown.

19. (SBU) At the other end of the scale is Governor Medina's
choice of a relatively inexperienced individual - Carlos
Juaregui Hintze - to occupy the important position of Secretary
of Public Security. It may be that Medina's surprise choice of
Jauregui - an administration outsider - belies a greater
awareness on his part of the threat that security issues pose to
Nuevo Leon and a desire to placate increasingly vocal civil
society voices concerned about rising violence, bracketed by the
conclusion that a fresh approach is needed to reform security
agencies and battle internal corruption.

20. (SBU) As outgoing Governor Gonzalez Paras has publicly
acknowledged, the debt burden that he passes to his successor -
currently measured at greater than 50% of the state's annual
revenues, a significant premium over the average burden of 17%
of revenues among all Mexican states - leaves Governor Medina
less room to maneuver during the next six years. Given Governor
Medina's overwhelming choice of not only partisans, but
administration insiders, post foresees few radical departures
from his predecessor's trajectory outside the realm of security;
within the realm of security, post is encouraged by the new
Secretary's intentions to tackle real reform. His key task will
be to reform and cleanse an entrenched, infiltrated police
bureaucracy. (Note: More information on the challenges the
incoming administration faces will follow septel. End note.)
WILLIAMSONB

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