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Cablegate: Scenesetter for Separate Merida-Related Visits:

DE RUEHME #3093/01 3002238
R 272238Z OCT 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 MEXICO 003093


E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2019

B. 08 MEXICO 3595

Classified By: Ambassador Carlos Pascual.
Reason: 1.4 (b),(d).

1. (C) Summary. The upcoming visits of Secretary for Public
Security (SSP) Genaro Garcia Luna and Attorney General (PGR)
Arturo Chavez Chavez to Washington come at a key moment in
our bilateral security relationship. We have made great
progress on expanding security ties working through the
Merida Initiative; now we need to broaden the scope of our
efforts to support their lasting impact. Garcia Luna and
Chavez, primary players in Mexico's security apparatus, will
be key players in moving our law enforcement agenda to new
levels of practical cooperation in two of the country's most
important institutions. Washington interlocutors should
encourage them to cooperate more effectively on issues
ranging from crime prevention to detention to prosecution and
conviction. End Summary.

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Working With New Merida Architecture

2. (C) We have made great progress on expanding our bilateral
security and law enforcement relationship through the Merida
Initiative. The first phase of Merida focused heavily on
supporting Mexico's efforts to confront drug trafficking
organizations. As we look beyond Merida and begin to
implement a new architecture, we recognize the limitations on
confronting criminal groups without the effective
institutional backing to support the lasting disruption of
these elements. We must help Mexico build its key
institutions with seamless integration of intelligence,
investigations, operations, prosecutions, and convictions. We
also need to develop new programs to build an intelligence
capability, foster the Federal Police's own institutional
development and training capacity, promote swifter
implementation of judicial reform, and prompt greater
inter-institutional coordination and cooperation. Moreover,
with many of our federal programs well underway, we should
broaden our focus to include work at the state level.

3. (C) We need to be clear with both officials on critical
next steps: with Garcia Luna on the need to move forward in
creating a joint operational capability that will allow
Mexico to operationalize the critical intelligence we can
provide. With AG Chavez, we must stress the need to
implement constitutional legal reforms and address
long-standing human rights concerns. Earlier this week,
President Calderon ordered Garcia Luna and his Defense
Secretary (SEDENA) counterpart, General Galvan, to establish
immediately a joint strike force, a key step forward that
will test the ability of often competing operational arms to
work together and allow Mexico to operationalize, in real
time, critical intelligence that we can provide. Calderon's
decision is well-timed, and we should press Calderon's "top
cop" on his plans for moving forward on the force, as well as
explore how we can help with exercises and advice. On the
human rights front, there are signs that Calderon and
especially SEDENA consider violations a "price to pay" and
will not push for the kind of judicial guarantees (e.g.,
effective oversight by civilian courts on allegations of
violations by the military) and effective training (e.g. of
senior level and operational units) that are critically
needed to improve Mexico's record. Again, we should press
Chavez on concrete steps on the human rights front. Chavez
also needs to hear that we remain engaged on the Brad Will
case and hope the PGR will move quickly to resolve lingering
issues concerning the prosecution of the alleged perpetrators
(ref a and b).

SSP and PGR's Progress and Promise

4. (C) SSP and PGR are key players in this new framework and
are willing partners as we move forward. Both are critical
components of two objectives -- disrupt capacity of organized
crime to operate and institutionalize capacity to sustain
rule of law -- with SSP also engaged on creating a 21st
century border and PGR crucial to building strong and
resilient communities. Fortunately, the United States and
Mexico have already laid some of the groundwork to serve as a
base for collaborative institution building. We have a
strong program for internal controls and vetting of personnel
in special units that includes a polygraph program at the
federal level and are increasingly engaged on supporting
judicial reform efforts. The most successful capacity
building program to date has been the recently completed
training of 1,500 new Federal Police investigators who will
take on the core role of directly dismantling the cartels and
extending the presence of the federal police in all of
Mexico's states.

5. (C) SSP and PGR have made great strides toward modernizing
and improving their institutions. Garcia Luna's SSP and its
32,000 strong Federal Police (with plans for an additional
8,000 to be trained and operational shortly, according to the
Secretary), have sought to raise the standards of the Federal
Police through improved hiring, training, and vetting
practices. With new authorities granted under federal police
reform legislation passed earlier this year, including a
broadened wire-tapping mandate, the SSP is well-placed to
significantly expand its investigative and
intelligence-collection capabilities. SSP is also the
caretaker of one of the GOM's flagship projects, Plataforma
Mexico, a major criminal database intended to provide easy
access by security officials across the country to various
kinds of criminal information collected by different law
enforcement entities. With the bulk of the law enforcement
budget, the largest single policing force, and new powers,
the SSP is transitioning to become the major player on
internal security matters.

6. (C) Recently appointed Attorney General Arturo Chavez
Chavez inherits a PGR somewhat improved under his
predecessor, Eduardo Medina Mora's, stewardship. Medina Mora
took unprecedented steps to fight corruption within PGR, the
police, and local governments, even when such efforts led to
the arrest of several embarrassingly high-ranking officials.
Mexico also made record cash and cocaine seizures during his
tenure, and he also achieved a ban on the importation of
pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, the drug used to manufacture
methamphetamine, into Mexico. PGR is looking to modernize as
an institution and has created the Constanza Project
(Justicial Para Todos), a $200 million dollar initiative
designed to transform PGR's culture in part by promoting
transparency, training attorneys to build stronger cases, and
digitizing files in order to incorporate a paperless system
less susceptible to corruption. Assuming Chavez's continued
backing, the program, which includes Merida Initiative
support, may be operational by next year. Medina Mora was
also directly involved in taking our extradition relationship
to new heights. In meetings with the Ambassador, Chavez has
pledged to continue this important cooperation. Washington
policymakers should recognize and encourage this excellent
extradition relationship.

Challenges Still to Address

7. (C) Nevertheless, we face along with Mexico significant
challenges -- political, institutional, and even
personality-driven -- to achieving the kind of lasting change
that will allow for the country's continued success against
organized criminal groups. Levels of violence show no signs
of decreasing, with organized crime-related homicides and
casualties suffered by security forces in the counterdrug
fight likely to surpass 2008's record figures. Allegations
of human rights abuses by soldiers and police officers
deployed on counterdrug missions threaten to undermine
continued public support. While there is general support for
and consensus on President Calderon's frontal assault
strategy, the new political environment following the July 5
midterm elections, in which his rivals made significant
gains, has emboldened his opponents.

8. (C) Moreover, the GOM must oversee a cultural shift in
institutions at both the federal and local level that rewards
information sharing and collaboration on joint operations.
PGR and SSP are amongst the greatest offenders when it comes
to jealously guarding information and resources. Garcia
Luna, widely understood as closest to President Calderon on
security issues, is not broadly trusted among other GOM
institutions, and has been a target of attack by opposing
political parties for lack of progress on violence reduction.
Furthermore, the personal animosity between him and former
Attorney General Medina Mora did little to help bridge the
historic gap between the institutions. He and General Galvan
are distant collaborators at best; more often, they are open
competitors. New AG Chavez may be able to better manage the
relationship, but he almost certainly will also confront a
Garcia Luna keen on expanding SSP's role with the influence
and resources to do it.

9. (C) It is not yet clear whether or not Chavez's
appointment, which was beset by allegations of incompetence
and lack of attention to human rights issues while Attorney
General of Chihuahua State, will in fact lead to a weaker PGR
and a freer hand for Garcia Luna. The new federal police
legislation granting the Federal Police greater investigative
and intelligence authorities has the potential to exacerbate
tensions. The law is vague on when the federal police --
nominally a purely 'preventative force' -- should turn over
its investigation to the PGR for prosecution. The Federal
Police's ability to bypass PGR and request its own wiretap
warrants -- and to conduct more wiretaps itself -- may reduce
its incentive to work with PGR prosecutors and investigators.

10. (C) Mistrust between government institutions and between
federal, state, and the (often highly corrupt) municipal
security services also complicates the much needed process of
decentralizing security efforts. Security operators in the
field need the authority to act quickly and with greater
agility when necessary without having to rely on Mexico City
for guidance or support. This requires fostering trust both
within institutions -- who often see state outposts as
corrupt -- and between them. Moreover, we have seen in
Ciudad Juarez what happens when federal entities try to
accomplish their mission alone. Without locally-based
intelligence sources, SEDENA and SSP operations led and
conducted from a centralized and compartmentalized command
structure in Mexico City often result in blunt force
confrontations with cartels that augment the brutal violence
statistics in Juarez. The GOM is wary of devolving resources
and information to the state level, but there is a growing
and clear understanding of the key role states play in
security in Mexico, and an understanding among many officials
that without good state institutions, the federal government
has nowhere to land when it deploys.

Human Rights

11. (C) We should continue to address the sensitive topics of
human rights and the importance of maintaining high vetting
standards. Human rights remains a particularly thorny topic
for the Mexican security forces. Dialogue emphasizing
efforts to train the military -- and all law enforcement
agencies -- on human rights, as well as encouraging
transparency in cases of abuse, will play an important role
in our efforts here. The Ambassador has undertaken
aggressive outreach to the human rights community,
establishing his own dialogue with numerous groups and
plugging the Mission into the SRE-SEGOB dialogue. We should
take steps to encourage PGR to more efficiently and rapidly
prosecute HR cases, as detainees often languish in prison
without being sentenced for lengthy periods of time. We also
must encouraged greater dialogue with civil society, in which
PGR will play a major role. A number of mid to senior level
PGR and SSP officials have not passed vetting or polygraph
tests, and over a quarter of the 60 individuals selected for
the senior-level SSP training course did not pass their
exams. We expect this to be an increasingly difficult and
politically sensitive topic as we move forward with larger
numbers of program participants, but this is a good time to
indicate our continued commitment to maintaining high
standards on integrity issues.


12. (C) Finally, the speed of implementation of Merida
programs is improving but still slow, due to delays in moving
money between USG agencies, a sluggish contracting process,
and the highly complex nature of the projects at hand. The
GOM remains suspicious of anything that smacks of
conditionality, and is at times reluctant to make changes it
sees as USG-mandated. Nevertheless, we have made a strong
start. Implementation is well underway, and a developed
bilateral framework -- and funding -- is in place to guide
future program efforts. Through this, strong government to
government planning and execution will afford us continued
Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at and the North American
Partnership Blog at /

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