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Viewing cable 06MEXICO4937, STRENGTHENING CALDERON'S WEAK HAND

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MEXICO4937 2006-09-01 12:12 2011-02-21 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Mexico
Appears in these articles:
http://wikileaks.jornada.com.mx/notas/necesario-enviar-energica-senal-de-apoyo-a-calderon
R 011201Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2974
NSC WASHDC
INFO ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
76950
2006-09-01 12:01:00
06MEXICO4937
Embassy Mexico
CONFIDENTIAL

R 011201Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2974
NSC WASHDC
INFO ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE


C O N F I D E N T I A L MEXICO 004937 
 
 
STATE - WHA A/S SHANNON AND NSC - FISK FROM THE AMBASSADOR 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MX
SUBJECT: STRENGTHENING CALDERON'S WEAK HAND 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR ANTONIO O. GARZA JR FOR REASONS 1.4 (B,D) 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  In the coming days the Electoral Tribunal 
(TEPJF) is expected to confirm National Action Party (PAN) 
candidate Felipe Calderon's presidential victory, but the 
protests will continue.  Thwarted Democratic Revolution (PRD) 
candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has already 
promised to undermine Calderon at every turn, and will 
determine his next steps during a September 16 "Democratic 
Convention."  Calderon has perforce been largely silent 
throughout the TEPJF's deliberations, reflecting discipline 
and patience, two qualities that will serve him well in the 
difficult days ahead.  Nevertheless, his razor-thin mandate 
inevitably has been eroded by AMLO's harassment, by perceived 
insults from his party's leadership, and by the cold shoulder 
offered from President Fox.  Calderon will have virtually no 
"honeymoon," and will need strong support from the USG to 
reinforce his agenda and leadership.  I have already met with 
him twice during the past several weeks to convey our 
support, should his election be confirmed, as now appears 
inevitable.  I also have a private dinner scheduled with him 
for September 19, at which time I will be able to reiterate 
this support and address key transition issues.  I recommend 
that President Bush call Calderon with congratulations once 
the election results are ratified, and that he invite 
Calderon to visit with him at the earliest opportunity.  I 
will separately take Commerce Secretary Gutierrez up on his 
offer to visit in late September/early October to offer a 
hand of friendship to both departing President Fox and 
President-elect Calderon.  From the Embassy we will begin 
vigorous transition planning across the board with the 
Calderon team, starting with an early meeting with team 
leaders Juan Camillo Mourino and Josefina Vasquez Mota.  I 
would like to strongly recommend that First Lady Laura Bush 
lead a broad and representative U.S. delegation to Calderon's 
inauguration as a key signal of the friendship and esteem we 
hold for Mexico and President-elect Calderon.  End Summary. 
 
Bittersweet Victory 
 
2.   (C)  The TEPJF is days away from an expected 
ratification of Felipe Calderon as the President-elect of 
Mexico -- but Calderon's victory is tarnished by the long -- 
and continuing -- electoral protests led by AMLO.  The PRD 
has already signaled it will make Fox's last "state of the 
union" (informe) address a three-ring-circus of antagonism 
September 1.  AMLO will decide September 16 what his next 
steps will be, but we can anticipate that from now through at 
least inauguration day AMLO will spare no effort to embarrass 
and insult Calderon.  While AMLO's popular support may reduce 
to a hard core of true believers, his constant barrage of 
attacks against the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), the 
TEPJF, and against Calderon have taken their toll in the 
public mindset.  On July 2 Mexicans were sure of their 
institutions, the credibility of the results, and the outcome 
of 41 million ballots cast.  Today the institutions and their 
determinations are shadowed by doubt.  Calderon has had to be 
largely silent during the TEPJF's deliberations, leaving the 
stage to AMLO's dramatic gesticulations. 
 
3.  (C)  While Calderon's spokesmen have spoken out in his 
favor, the PAN structure has done little to support the 
putative President-elect.  During the initial AMLO attacks 
against Calderon, the PAN leadership literally went on 
vacation.  Most recently, party leaders handed Calderon a 
very public series of defeats by putting his political 
competitors in charge of the PAN factions in the Senate 
(Santiago Creel) and the Chamber of Deputies (Hector Larios). 
 This means that Calderon will have to negotiate with his own 
faction, in addition to the PRI's, to get reform initiatives 
through the newly-constituted 60th legislature.  President 
Fox has made no secret of the fact that, while relieved AMLO 
apparently didn't win, he has no love lost for Calderon. 
Calderon, for his part, has reason to be irritated that Fox's 
repeated failures to maintain what Mexicans consider an 
appropriate distance from the election further clouded 
Calderon's narrow victory. 
 
Lost Honeymoon 
 
4.  (C)  Given the turmoil surrounding the confirmation of 
his election, the divisions within his party, and the legacy 
Fox will leave, Calderon will come into office December 1 in 
the weakest possible situation politically.  We risk 
stagnation on our highest-profile issues unless we can send a 
strong signal of support, prompt the Calderon team into a 
vigorous transition, and reinforce Calderon's agenda and 
leadership.  President Bush started us off well by 
congratulating Calderon after the July 6 IFE declaration that 
the PAN candidate had received the most votes.  I recommend 
that President Bush make a second call to Calderon once the 
TEPJF results are released, offering formal congratulations 
on his victory.  At that point my mission team will engage 
energetically with Calderon's transition team to invigorate 
progress on our priority areas.  I understand Commerce 
Secretary Gutierrez is willing to make an early visit to 
Mexico, and I will encourage him to do so in late September 
or early October, as a first opportunity to signal our 
respect for both outgoing President Fox and President-elect 
Calderon.  Finally, the December 1 inauguration will be the 
moment Calderon supersedes the irritations AMLO has posed 
these many months, and finally becomes President.  I deeply 
hope that First Lady Laura Bush will be able to lead a broad 
and representative delegation of USG officials as a symbol of 
our commitment to working closely with the Calderon team. 
Her presence would unmistakably signal the President's 
strong, personal support as the incipient Calderon 
administration confronts an unusually challenging political 
climate. 
 
 
Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity 
 
GARZA