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Cablegate: Mexico Hedges On Honduran Elections

VZCZCXRO5272
RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #3387 3361343
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021343Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9233
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RHMFIUU/HQ USNORTHCOM
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS MEXICO 003387

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

WHA/MEX, WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINR MX HO
SUBJECT: MEXICO HEDGES ON HONDURAN ELECTIONS

1. (SBU) Summary: The GOM has generally preferred to react
to events to Honduras as part of the larger voice of regional
organizations such as the Organization of American States or
the Rio Group. At another such gathering of Latin leaders,
the November 30 Iboamerican Summit, surrounded by
counterparts from opposing camps on the recent elections in
Honduras, President Calderon attempted to walk a careful line
between the two sides. He declined to outright reject the
elections as had Brazil, but rather expressed concern about
whether the elections were free and fair and pressed for
compliance with the conditions of the San Jose Agreement,
including the short-term reinstatement of Honduran President
Manuel Zelaya. Mexican Foreign Ministry officials hedged a
bit more privately recognizing the elections as a "factor
that merits consideration" as discussions over Honduras move
ahead. We should continue to explain to Mexico our views on
Honduras but not expect it to assume a strong leadership role
given its desire not to clash with some Latin American
neighbors more firmly aligned with Zelaya. End Summary.

Elections Not Enough
--------------------

2. (SBU) Before the November 29 elections, President
Calderon cautiously told Mexican daily "El Universal" that
"he would wait for certain restoration of Honduran
constitutionality before recognizing a President-elect."
During the November 30 Iboamerican Summit in Portugal,
President Calderon stressed that celebrating free elections
would not be sufficient to reestablish constitutional order
in Honduras; the international community must also see
through the rest of the steps of the San Jose Accord. This
would include President Zelaya's short-term reinstatement
until the January inauguration of the new President-elect.
President Calderon did not officially recognize
President-elect Lobo. He further described the absence of
international observers in the elections as "disgraceful."
(Note. The Embassy later pointed out to the Foreign Ministry
that international monitors did, in fact, observe the
election, and that Mexico had declined to send observers.
End Note.)


SRE Offers More, Measured Nuance
--------------------------------

3. (SBU) The Foreign Ministry's (SRE) Deputy Director
General for South American Affairs, Victor Arriaga,
acknowledged that Mexico's presidency of the Rio Group
largely complicated its ability to take a definitive position
on Honduras, including the recent elections. Mexico viewed
the elections as insufficient. It remained committed to full
reinstatement of constitutional rule and full compliance with
the San Jose Accords including allowing Zelaya to take office
until January. At the same time, Arriaga described the
elections as a factor that merited serious consideration by
the international community in discussing a resolution to the
crisis there given the peaceful nature that defined them and
the significant turnout.


4. (SBU) Comment. Mexico's hedged approach on Honduras is
very much reflective of the caution that often defines its
overarching foreign policy. Mexico would like to be
perceived as a leader but is very averse to alienating either
the U.S. or key Latin Americans on important issues. In this
instance, Brazil and the U.S. are lined up on two different
sides when it comes to assessing the contribution the recent
elections make to a solution in Honduras. Calderon clearly
wants to avoid alienating either camp. Instead, without
rejecting the elections, Calderon described them as
insufficient and repeated the mantra of respect for the
constitutional order and compliance with the San Jose
Accords. Mexico hopes the upcoming Honduran congressional
debate on the elections will further advance a resolution to
the crisis in Honduras. In the meantime, it is likely Mexico
will continue seek to take a careful approach on debates over
controversial factors such as the recent elections. 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 /
PASCUAL

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