Cablegate: Depsec Lew Stresses Usg Commitment to Cooperation

DE RUEHME #3443/01 3412324
O 072324Z DEC 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary. Deputy Secretary Lew uQ his visit to
Mexico November 22-24 to stress to the GOM and
Mexican civil society the USGQs commitment to Mexico
as it takes on organized crime and builds stronger
law enforcement institutions. Lew underscored the
importance of observing human rights as central to
the agenda of countering organized crime. GOM
officials welcomed strong cooperation with the U.S.
in this endeavor, acknowledging the need to expand
efforts on the local level and strengthen
intelligence capabilities. Mexican civil society
leaders believe Mexico can only claim success if
Mexican civil society embraces more fully a Qculture
of lawfulnessQ and the attendant responsibility
entailed with holding government leaders and
institutions accountable. The Deputy SecretaryQs
visit to the airport offered him an opportunity to
observe how the GOM is putting some of our inspection
technology to good use in detecting narcotics,
laundered currency, and other contraband. The
Mexican press reported favorably on the visit
focusing on assurances that U.S. cooperation would
continue. Embassy Staff appreciated LewQs
engagement in a town hall event and exchanges on the
QDDR. End Summary.

Agreement on Way Ahead on Cooperation

2. (U) The Deputy Secretary used his meeting with
leading members of MexicoQs law enforcement
community, its functional equivalent of the
DeputyQs committee, to recognize the sacrifices
Mexico has made in battling organized crime and to
convey our determination to provide Mexico with the
assistance it needs to be successful. The U.S. is
committed to doing its part by attacking drug demand
in the U.S. and devoting more resources to halting
the flow of weapons south. It is vital that we
produce results on our shared investment and be
prepared to adapt our approach if the desired results
are lacking. Our shared commitment of tying
cooperation to clearly defined needs and shared
objectives may have contributed to some delays in
delivering assistance, but it was time well spent.
High ticket items such as inspection equipment are
either coming on line or will be arriving shortly.
We attach great importance to developing a pilot
program in Ciudad Juarez that provides the military
with the support it needs, builds up the capacity of
the state and local police, and promotes greater
overall coordination. Meanwhile, we look forward to
our cooperation transitioning from the present focus
on hardware into the more complicated phase of
institution building.

3. (SBU) Deputy Secretary of the Interior Ministry,
Geronimo Gutierrez, assured the Deputy Secretary that
combating organized crime remains President
CalderonQs highest priority. Calderon receives
weekly briefing on the security situation, including
updates on the status of U.S. assistance. He
acknowledged the governmentQs cQlenge in producing
definitive evidence of success as violence continues
to rise. He remarked that building strong
institutions may prove even more difficult but agreed
it was just as important as disrupting the activities
of the drug cartels. The U.S. and Mexico must speak
publicly from the same script; he suggested
our two governments work together in producing a
joint report on an issue tied to our efforts to
combat organized crime. In a similar vein, the
Director of MexicoQs intelligence agency, CISEN,
spoke to the need for greater GOM-USG cooperation on

Human Rights and Combatting Crime Must Go Together

4. (SBU) In all of his meetings, Lew stressed the need to
build respect for human rights and adherence to the
rule of law in connection to all efforts to combat
organized crime. Foreign Minister Espinosa commented
that this is also President CalderonQs position. She
had personally engaged with Defense Minister Galvan
Galvan to underscore the need for transparency in the
handling of alleged human rights abuses. In a
meeting with Deputy Secretaries from all major
Mexican security agencies, including Defense, Lew
stressed that human rights are not a side concern,
but are central to President ObamaQs agenda. He said
that for both the Administration and Congress,
adherence to human rights is critical to securing

MEXICO 00003443 002 OF 003

funding for our counternarcotics agenda.

5. (SBu) In meetings with both Foreign Minister Espinosa
and inner-agency law enforcement officials, Foreign
Affairs Deputy Secretary Julian Ventura and
Ambassador Pascual reviewed progress made toward
developing a structured bilateral human rights
dialogue. Draft diplomatic notes have been exchanged
for comments. There is agreement to include the
Army, Navy, Foreign Affairs, the Interior
Ministry and other key players. The structured dialogue
will help ensure that the focus is on transparency and
accountability. The GOM discussed these measures openly in
an interagency context, reflecting a positive shift
toward incorporating human rights into our bilateral

Fighting Crime with Development

6. (U) Deputy Secretary of the Social Development
Ministry (SEDESOL) Gustavo
Merino Juarez and SEDESOL Chief of Staff Ignacio
Quesada spoke to the contribution SEDESOL was making
to the governmentQs efforts to combat organized
crime. The governmentQs program Oportunidades
(Opportunities) had already developed programs Q each
with a health, education, and food component -- that
had helped over 5.2 million families. The ministry
aimed to cover 850,000 more families. Projects
extended across a wide gamut to include scholarships
for underprivileged children to housing for
impoverished communities. Borrowing extensively from
ColombiaQs efforts with communities at risk in
Medellin, Mexico sought similarly to target youth at
risk in Ciudad Juarez by building roads, schools, and
parks in impoverished communities facing high rates
of crime and violence.

Community Leaders Accept Responsibility

7. (U) Leaders of civil society organizations devoted
to fighting crime, with a particular focus on
kidnapping based on some compelling personal
experiences, offered the Deputy Secretary their frank
assessment of the ills that plague Mexican society
and their take on a way ahead. They conveyed
frustration that Mexico had not more fully embraced
the accoutrements of a developed democracy with the
political transition that had commenced under
President Fox but conceded much of the blame lay with
them. Civil society needed to hold its leaders
accountable for delivering on their promises. It
also needed to attach greater importance to promoting
a culture of lawfulness and building alliances with
law enforcement. They welcomed greater cooperation
between the USG and the GOM to the extent it
contributed to longer term solutions including
stronger institutions. However, they also urged the
U.S. to do more to tackle some of its own challenges
including drug demand and arms smuggling.

Airport Visit Places Spotlight on Hardware

8. (SBU) The Deputy Secretary wrapped up his trip to
Mexico City with a visit to the Mexican Customs
cargo facilities at Mexico City International Airport
where he received a briefing on several types of Non-
Intrusive Inspection Equipment (NIIE) the USG seeks
to deliver to the GOM under the Merida Initiative.
After learning about a Pallet VACIS (Vehicle and
Cargo Inspection System), a cobalt-sourced gamma
radiation unit used for inspecting commercial cargo
pallets, the Deputy Secretary rode in a ZBV X-Ray
Backscatter Van and viewed real-time X-Ray images as
the vehicle inspected a line of loaded commercial air
cargo carriers. These vans which inspect the
contents of commercial buses and light commercial and
private vehicles for recently-fired weapons,
explosives, drugs, chemicals, radioactive material,
and laundered money are mobile, offering the GOM a
means to thwart traffickers attempting to circumvent
fixed inspection points. The Deputy Secretary also
viewed an X-Ray minivan which officials use to
inspect airport passenger luggage. Under the Merida
Initiative, the Mexican federal police have ordered
10 of these minivans to inspect the contents of
commercial bus passenger luggage and other small-
container commercial and private cargo along the
nationQs highways. Mexican airport officials

MEXICO 00003443 003 OF 003

concluded their presentation with a slide show of
multi-million dollar contraband seizures they have
made using NIIE.

Press Stresses USG Commitment to Continued

9. (U) The Deputy Secretary participated in a round
table discussion with journalists and an exclusive
interview with MexicoQs premier television network,
Televisa, in the course of his visit to Mexico. He
was quoted extensively in all major newspapers,
radio, wire services, and Internet media outlets on
11/24, commenting on the Merida Initiative and the
way forward, human rights in Mexico, institutional
reform, and cooperation against narco-trafficking,
among other topics. Much of the Mexican press
focused on his assurances that that the U.S. remain
committed to continued cooperation with Mexico in its
efforts to combat organized crime. He affirmed that
he had raised the subject of human rights in his
meetings largely in the context of building the kinds
of institutions Mexico needs to promote respect for
the rule of law. Press on the visit was overwhelming
positive and generally accurate drawing helpful
attention to the constructive nature of U.S.
cooperation with Mexico in fighting organized crime
and building stronger institutions, while reporting
frankly on the DeputyQs open yet respectful handling
of human rights issues.

10. (SBU) Comment. The Deputy SecretaryQs visit
provided a timely boost to a complicated agenda with
Mexico. His intense exchange with Foreign Minister
Espinosa reinforced the breath of the relationship
from Honduras to security to human rights to the
resources we need to succeed. In effect, by
convening a defacto DeputyQs committee with the
Mexicans, Lew also underscored that we have a fluid
and high level common agenda between the U.S. and
Mexico. The same issues are now of central concern
to both countries. One Mexican Deputy Minister
commented later that Lew reinforced that our agenda
is shared, but this means Mexico has to carry out its
responsibilities. When you see the commitment of
your partners, it reinforces the fact that you too
must act. That message conveyed by Lew verbally and
by example, continues to reinforce an intense pattern
of engagement with our Mexican security and foreign
affairs colleagues. End Comment.


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