Cablegate: Mexico Continues Its Haiti Relief Effort


DE RUEHME #0698/01 0552244
R 242243Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 10 MEXICO 274

1. (SBU) Summary: While Mexico is engaging on an unprecedented
scale in contributing to the international relief effort in Haiti,
capacity and ideological restraints have hampered some of its
contributions and continue to complicate Mexico's active
participation in MINUSTAH. This could be on the verge of changing:
we understand that President Calderon is considering an official
recommendation from Foreign Secretary Espinoza that Mexico
contribute federal police forces (SSP) to MINUSTAH. We have used
our engagement networks with Mexico on Merida to support Mexico's
relief efforts and to encourage the GOM to participate more
actively in the UN's operation in Haiti. Continued expressions of
support by senior USG officials for Mexico's nascent foray into UN
humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) missions and peace
keeping operations (PKO) are encouraged. End Summary

Mexico's Immediate Response

2. (U) The Mexican public's tremendous outpouring of support for
relief efforts in Haiti encouraged the government to move quickly
and decisively in support of the relief operation (Reftel A). As
soon as it was possible to land in Port-au-Prince, Mexico sent
medical and rescue teams, engineers and logistics officers. In
partnership with a host of other international workers in these
areas, over 200 Mexicans engaged in Haiti in the first days of the
crisis. The United Nations assigned the Topos (Moles), Mexican
rescue crews founded in 1985 after Mexico's devastating quake, to
sectors 8 and 9 in Port a Prince, where they rescued 16 people.
Another Mexican team also helped the President of Haiti recover
sensitive documents and equipment.

3. (U) GOM immigration authorities moved to adapt eligibility
criteria to benefit Haitian nationals with links to Mexico. All
undocumented Haitian citizens already in Mexico will receive
non-immigrant/visitor status on humanitarian grounds, enabling them
to reside and work legally in Mexico. In addition, residents of
Mexico will be able to sponsor the arrival of Haitian immigrants to
whom they have pre-existing personal links by proving their ability
to provide them with short-term financial support.

4. (U) As a response to the UN's first Flash Appeal, the GOM
announced the donation of 8 million USD and the implementation of
the bilateral cooperation fund, which was first announced in 2009,
but now is being used as a mechanism to provide additional monetary
support to Haiti. The GOM has announced that it is looking at
ways to match Mexican expertise to specific needs in Haiti. The
incorporation of Mexican civil society and the private sector will
prove integral to efforts to assist Haiti in building housing and
schools, developing temporary employment programs, and commencing

Civilian Response

5. (U) The response to the GOM's call to the Mexican public for
donations has been unprecedented. The Mexican Red Cross established
over 486 centers for receiving aid across Mexico's 32 states and
received over 10,000 tons of supplies including between 250 and 300
tons of drinking water, medicines, tinned food, rice, beans,
mattresses, toilet paper rolls, and diapers within the first 10
days. Of these, over 4,000 tons have already been distributed in
Haiti through the Haitian Government and numerous NGOs.

Military Response - Some Operational Restraints

6. (U) The Mexican Navy (SEMAR) deployed a total of five ships
to support the relief effort. One to two ships are off the coast
of Haiti, at any given time, off-loading supplies. To date, the
Mexican ship "Huasteco" has transported 400 tons of supplies; the
"Tarasco" has transported 800 tons; the "Papaloapan" has
transported 1700 tons; the "Usumacinta" has transported 1700 tons;
and the "Zapoteco" has transported 200 tons. Because the supplies
aboard the SEMAR vessels are not consistent in weight or size, they
must be transferred to the USS GUNSTON HALL so that they can be
palletized for final transport to shore aboard U.S. landing craft.

7. (U) The on-station SEMAR vessel has also served as the
berthing platform for several of the Mexican medical teams. SEMAR,
however, has proven reliant on small watercraft supplied by the USS
GUNSTON HALL to transport these teams, daily, to Port Killick.
Alongside Joint Task Force Bravo medical personnel and U.S. Navy
corpsmen, the Mexican team has treated over 2,000 patients. ADM
Murphy of U.S. Fleet Forces Command described the facilities and
level of care provided at Port Killick as now surpassing pre-quake
levels. As a result, the Mexican Medical teams have now moved to
HCBC,B4pital SacrCBC,B) Coeur, where they continue to provide care.

8. (U) At the onset of the crisis, the Mexican Army (SEDENA)
announced the donation of a field kitchen with the capacity of
serving 5,000 to 7,000 meals daily. The U.S. Embassy's Office of
Defense Coordination and U.S. Transportation Command dedicated
numerous man-hours assisting SEDENA in organizing the transport of
the field kitchen. After four weeks of logistical work, the field
kitchen was flown to the U.S. and shipped via a contracted company
to Haiti. The large Mexican Army field kitchen has begun to
distribute prepared, hot meals at the town of Carrefour. More
recently, SRE informed us that the SEMAR would send two smaller
kitchens and sought U.S. assistance for food procurement and
sustainment. We have stressed to SRE the need for
"self-sustaining" recovery assistance and directed them to the U.N.
and World Food Program to coordinate supplies of ingredients for
their kitchens.

Possible Police Contribution for MINUSTAH

9. (U) As a member of the UN Security Council, the GOM initially
sought an unproductive debate on reviewing MINUSTAH's mandate,
which was avoided. Subsequently, Mexico has supported MINUSTAH's
extension and worked actively to ensure that the MINUSTAH mandate
responds to the needs and interests of the Haitian people. We
have encouraged the GOM to consider sending a formed police unit as
a part of MINUSTAH to tackle the problems of gang violence,
kidnapping, and looting. Historically, Mexico's participation in
UN peacekeeping has been a complete non-starter, fraught with
political controversy surrounding Mexico's traditional policy of
non-intervention, a sacred cow in Mexico's modern foreign policy.
While Mexico did send police units to the UN's Mission in El
Salvador, the peacekeeping polemic has kept Mexico from making a
similar contribution in MINUSTAH.

10. (SBU) The SRE has been actively working to build support for
a Mexican police contribution to MINUSTAH since the earthquake.
Deputy Director General for Security Council Affairs Fernando

Gonzalez Saiffe reviewed his active efforts in support of a Mexican
police contribution to MINUSTAH: he has briefed Mexican agencies
that could potentially have a say on or a role in a Mexican
peacekeeping contingent - Federal Police (SSP), the Army (SEDENA)
and the Navy (SEMAR); he has briefed the Foreign Affairs Committee
in the Chamber of Deputies several times; and he has lobbied the
President's Foreign Affair Advisor, Rafael Fernandez de Castro (who
reportedly is supportive). Furthermore, he expects that the
Mexican Senate will adapt a "punto de acuerdo", which is a
resolution in support of a Mexican police contribution. The
Ambassador has also raised the issue with Fernandez de Castro and
with SRE Undersecretary Julian Ventura.


11. (SBU) As the world was moved by devastation of the earthquake
in Haiti, Mexico was no exception. Historically committed to the
principle of non-intervention, the GOM has signaled a tentative
readiness to engage with the region in ways not previously
contemplated, prodded in large measure by its own citizenry. Even
as its engagement on Haiti has revealed clear gaps in Mexico's
ability to rapidly deploy resources, the GOM remains committed to
the effort. Given its potential, we have used this occasion to
speak with various GOM agencies (SRE, SEDENA, SEMAR and Proteccion
Civil) and encourage efforts that push the entire GOM into a larger
role on the regional stage. Merida cooperation has served as a
foundation to press Mexico more assertively than in the past to
adopt a more modern and engaged posture. While Mexico's engagement
on Haiti does not presage the final nail in the coffin of
non-intervention, we are observing dawning recognition that in a
globalized world, where climate change, infectious diseases,
organized crime, and the economic life blood of commerce all imply
transborder flows, the old shibboleths of sovereignty no longer

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