Cablegate: Mexico: Scene Setter for a/S Valenzuela


DE RUEHME #3423/01 3382033
O 042033Z DEC 09

2009-12-04 20:33:00
Embassy Mexico


DE RUEHME #3423/01 3382033
O 042033Z DEC 09





E.O. 12958:N/A
SUBJECT: MEXICO: Scene setter for A/S Valenzuela
(6-8 December)

1. (SBU) Your visit comes at a crucial moment in
our efforts to deepen our bilateral relationship
with Mexico through an ambitious joint project
to broaden the Merida initiative into a more
comprehensive effort. We are in the midst of a
dizzying level of bilateral activity, including
a wave of senior interagency visits. Deputy
Secretary Lew and ICE Assistant Secretary Morton
were just here on successful back to back
visits, which came on the heels of a second
joint high level inter-agency review with the
Mexicans on issues related to legal reform and
marginal communities.

2. (SBU) Joint dual assessment missions Q one to
Tijuana and San Diego, and another to Ciudad
Juarez and El Paso Q will book mark your visit
and help place our efforts to build out Merida
in the context of the ground truth along the
border. The assessments should help us
crystallize some important requirements,
particularly with regard to the crucial
collaboration between Mexican military and
civilian authorities on the front line along the

3. (SBU) DHS Assistant Secretary for
International and Border Affairs will arrive on
the day of your departure, and Assistant to the
President for Homeland Security and
Counterterrorism John Brenan, the U.S. lead in
the bilateral inter-agency effort, will arrive
in mid-December in time for the turn-over of
five Bell Helicopters and to participate with
President Calderon, on a review of where we are
and what remains to be done. The pace will pick
up again early next year with the visit of the
SecretaryQs Advisor on Energy Issues, David
Goldwyn and with another series of interagency
meetings and visits.

4. (SBU) You can help ensure that the process
remains properly focused. Your vantage point
requires you to engage on the full range of
interagency inputs and can help us maintain the
needed coherence required to bring the process
to a successful conclusion. Your contacts and
knowledge of Mexico can help clear away
lingering reservations and reassure our southern
neighbors about the benefits we will reap from
greater collaboration.

5. (SBU) The frenetic pace of our bilateral
activity is unfolding at a politically
challenging moment for the Calderon
administration. The PresidentQs PAN party
emerged seriously weakened from a dramatic set-
back suffered in the July Congressional
elections. CalderonQs bold plan for ten
ambitious areas for reform, announced in
September, has yet to translate into any
concrete initiatives. His personal popularity
numbers while over fifty percent and
historically in line with his predecessors, have
dropped ten points since last February, the
lowest level of support during his first three
years in office. Even more worrying is an eight
point drop in his approval on the security
front, an issue on which he has garnered his
strongest support.

6. (SBU) In addition, the publicQs deepening
economic worries have overshadowed their concern
about security, further complicating the
PresidentQs political engagement. He survived a
bruising battle over the budget, and managed a
relatively complicated operation to close down
the inefficient Luz y Fuerza utility company in
Mexico city but the follow-on tax increases that
will hit in early 2010 and the blow back from a
ham- handed effort to QblameQ the close down of
LyF on lazy and coddled workers will likely
further depress his numbers with his most ardent
supporters in the business community and his
most vehement detractors in the populist left of
center parties.

7. (SBU) Meanwhile the opposition PRI party is
in the ascendancy, cautiously managing its
illusory unity in an effort to dominate the ten
governorQs races that are up in the coming year,
and to avoid any missteps that could jeopardize
its front-runner status in the run-up to the
2012 Presidential elections. The PANQs
prospects are bleak and former Party president
Calderon at times appears preoccupied and
uncertain about the best way to shore up his
partyQs prospects. He clearly believes that a
dramatic success in the fight against the DTOQs
would provide a political boost, a rationale
that to an extent explains his interest in
deepening our Merida cooperation and stepping up
the fight along the border. The challenges on
the security side are well known: an insular
military establishment that resists
modernization, a tightly structured political
system that discourages inter-agency
cooperation, a legal system badly in need of
reform, and a weak federal structure that
frustrates cooperation between local, state and
federal authorities.

8. (SBU) You will see signs of steady progress
on several of these fronts, in the schedule we
have organized for you. The tour of the two
Federal Police (SSP) facilities on Monday
morning will give you an appreciation for how
our assistance is helping build law
enforcement. The National Command Center at the
Constituyentes headquarters is an impressive,
state of the art facility that analyzes a wide
array of data in the fight against organized
crime. The training academy, fire arms facility
and mini operations center at Iztapalapa will
round out the view further. We will end the
visit with a thirty minute discussion with SSP
Director Genaro Garcia Luna.

9. (SBU) Your meeting with CISEN Director
Guillermo Valdes, MexicoQs lead in our senior
bilateral interagency discussions, and several
other senior Mexican security officials, are
among our closest interlocutors in our Merida
collaboration. This will be a good opportunity
to review the outcome of the Tijuana-San Diego
assessment mission and to clarify any needed
action in the run-up to BrennanQs visit.

10. (SBU) Your breakfast meeting at the Foreign
Ministry on Tuesday will also give you a chance
to speak in some detail on our bilateral
cooperation with your counterpart, Julian
Ventura, as well as to review MexicoQs position
on Honduras and other regional topics with
Undersecretary for Latin America Salvador
Beltran. Mexico has been reluctant to translate
the support for our policy that they have
communicated to us in private, into strong
unambiguous public statements. As the current
president of the Rio Group, Mexico has opted for
watered down pronouncements, remarkable only for
their lack of clarity. Secretary Espinosa will
likely join at the end of the meeting, providing
another opportunity for you to reaffirm our
support for the Merida build out and to request
stronger support for moving forward in
Honduras. After the breakfast, you will join
the Mexicans for a joint press availability.
Julian has promised to encourage Espinosa to

11. (SBU) You will have two excellent
opportunities to review trade and
competitiveness issues: at the Monday morning
breakfast with local Mexican and U.S. business
leaders, and a day later at a Los Pinos meeting
with senior trade and economic government
officials hosted by the PresidentQs Foreign
Affairs Advisor Rafael Fernandez de Castro.
These events will give you a chance to hear
about the concerns and priorities of the local
business community and to review with economic

policy makers, ways to overcome recurring trade

12. (SBU) Interior Minister Gomez-Mont (SEGOB)
will host you for lunch on Tuesday, a good
opportunity to review some of the high points of
your meetings and to hear from one of CalderonQs
trusted insiders. Following the lunch, we will
go back to Los Pinos for a capstone discussion
with Fernandez de Castro and CalderonQs chief of
staff, Patricia Flores, and a possible meeting
with the President.

13. (SBU) We have invited Congressional leaders,
some journalists, and several other politicians
and intellectuals to a dinner for you and Katy
at the residence on Sunday night. This should
provide a good venue for a general discussion of
the state of the Mexican polity and a more
focused discussion on ways in which we can add
substance and import to our annual parliamentary
exchange, which will continue next spring with a
joint U.S Congressional visit to Mexico next
spring. We have had several Congressional
leaders, including your friend Munoz Ledo and
Vazquez Mota, raise their interest in making
next yearQs visit more substantive. We would
like to explore the possibility of centering the
visit on a relevant theme such as economic

14. (SBU) We have scheduled a public diplomacy
event at our Benjamin Franklin Library, with
citizen participation groups and new media
networkers to support their
efforts to engage the Mexican people on a zero-
tolerance approach to violence. Discussion will
focus on raising popular awareness and building
a national consensus against crime and violence.

15. (SBU) Finally, I would encourage you to
raise our concerns about Human Rights in your
meeting at the Foreign Ministry and during your
lunch with Gomez-Mont. We are in the process of
launching a three part effort to increase
transparency and strengthen civil society. A
major focus of that effort is a new bi-lateral
dialogue that the MexicanQs have agreed to
develop with us that would include the SRE,
SEGOB, the Secretariat of National Defense
(SEDENA), and the Mexican Navy (SEMAR). We are
finalizing details on a schedule of regular
meetings and an agenda that would include four
priority areas, identified in a separate
dialogue we have established with Human Rights

16. (SBU) We also have established a separate
bilateral defense working group that would be
allowed to engage on the dialogue as well. A
major focus of our effort will be the military
justice system and the numerous violations that
have been alleged in connection with their
leading role in the fight against the DTOs.
This will be challenging work that will have to
be pushed along with an active and comprehensive
training program training that Northcom is
developing. You should encourage the Foreign
and Interior Minister to move forward quickly on
the bilateral dialogue they have propose and
note the continuing pressure from Congress to
clarify allegations of abuse from the past and
to show a commitment to prevent any future

17. (SBU) We are making progress on a wide range
of issues that will help establish a framework
for a comprehensive and sustainable program that
can build on our Merida success. If successful
in this collaborative project, we will not only
be able to step up the fight against the major
Drug Trafficking Organizations, but we will
address some major structural issues that are
holding Mexico back, contributing to economic
bottlenecks, and fueling the exploding violence
along the border. Your visit will help push

that effort forward.


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