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Viewing cable 08MEXICO1082, SCENESETTER FOR THE VISIT OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MEXICO1082 2008-04-10 19:07 2011-02-12 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Mexico
Appears in these articles:
http://wikileaks.jornada.com.mx/notas/estrategias-para-combatir-el-terrorismo
VZCZCXRO9095
RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #1082/01 1011912
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 101912Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1370
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RAYWMCV/ARMY HQ
RHMFISS/CDR USNORTHCOM
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
149444
2008-04-10 19:12:00
08MEXICO1082
Embassy Mexico
CONFIDENTIAL

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DE RUEHME #1082/01 1011912
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 101912Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1370
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RAYWMCV/ARMY HQ
RHMFISS/CDR USNORTHCOM
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 MEXICO 001082 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE - FOR OSD 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/10/2017 
TAGS: MX OVIP PGOV PINR PREL PTER SNAR
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR THE VISIT OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE 
GATES TO MEXICO CITY -- APRIL 29-30, 2008 
 
Classified By: ADCM Charles Barclay for reasons 1.4. (B,D) 
 
1.  (SBU)  On behalf of the U.S. Mission, let me warmly 
welcome you to Mexico City.  Your visit comes at a key 
juncture, as Mexico's military takes stock of its role in 
Mexico and the world -- and looks at its evolving 
relationship with its U.S. counterpart in light of ongoing 
challenges and new responsibilities given it by President 
Calderon.  You will encounter nuanced attitudes among your 
interlocutors regarding cooperation with the U.S. and mixed 
perspectives on many key global and regional security issues. 
 However your visit here will provide an excellent overview 
of Mexico's challenging security environment.  Yours is the 
first SecDef visit in over a decade, and we believe you can 
move forward a number of key objectives during your visit, 
 
Calderon's Key Security Challenge 
 
2.  (U)  In the year and a half since he took office, 
President Calderon has taken aggressive steps to turn around 
an increasingly difficult domestic security situation -- one 
characterized in recent years by growing narco-related 
violence and the government's loss of initiative and ground 
to organized crime.   The president has launched anti-drug 
operations in more than ten states, raised pay for the 
military, and replaced numerous high-ranking federal police 
officers.  He initiated sweeping operational reforms among 
police elements and successfully sought legislation unifying 
federal police forces and reforming the criminal justice 
system.  These actions and enhancements, when fully 
implemented, will strengthen GOM security capabilities 
across-the-board, make it more responsive to a wide variety 
of security threats and considerably strengthen the bilateral 
security partnership. 
 
3.  (U)  Calderon has placed a premium on strengthening law 
enforcement cooperation with the U.S.  Early during his term, 
he significantly expanded the number of criminal 
extraditions, instructed key members of his security team to 
build on his predecessor's already positive record of 
engagement with USG counterparts and worked closely with us 
to develop a joint response to the illegal counter-narcotics 
trade based on shared responsibility.   The Merida Initiative 
under discussion in our congress this month is only the 
highest profile element of an emerging pattern of cooperation 
across the board, which is likely to take on momentum in 
coming years. 
 
Mexican Military Assumes a Pivotal Role 
 
4.  (SBU)  Mexico's military is pivotal to both Calderon's 
overall counter-narcotics strategy, and to the evolving 
bilateral security relationship.  Mexicans traditionally have 
held the institution in high regard (it consistently polls as 
the country's most respected).  They also expect much of it; 
soldiers and sailors perform a variety of civic action 
oriented tasks ranging from manning polling stations during 
elections to mounting responses to natural disasters. With 
many civilian law enforcement institutions frankly in 
disarray, or compromised outright by narco-traffickers, 
Mexico's military provides Calderon a natural choice as his 
initial counter-narcotics spearhead. 
 
5.   (SBU) Large-scale military deployments throughout the 
country have raised concerns, to be sure.  Some argue that 
resource and personnel strains will undermine the 
institution's overall effectiveness.  Others worry that 
counter-narcotics operations will expose officers and 
enlisted men to the corrosive temptations of corruption. 
Sporadic human rights abuses by soldiers in the past year 
occasioned heightened concern about this dimension to 
military action. 
 
6.  (SBU) Senior officers recognize all these concerns and 
have taken counter-measures, such as mobile, limited-duration 
deployments, astute personnel rotations and the establishment 
of a human rights ombudsman.    Loyal to their president, 
they remain committed to remaining at the forefront of the 
counter-narcotics battle until a reformed civilian police 
structure is ready to assume the lead. 
 
 
MEXICO 00001082  002 OF 004 
 
 
And Contemplates Closer Mil-Mil Ties. 
 
7.  (C) As their role in defending their country from one 
potent transnational threat broadened in the past year, 
Mexican military officials also looked beyond Mexico's 
landscape at other such threats and began to acknowledge the 
importance of increased security cooperation with the U.S. 
Top military officials have in recent months told us 
President Calderon had instructed them to reach out to the 
U.S.  They have shown interest in increasing training 
opportunities for their soldiers and sailors, asked us to 
broaden intelligence and information sharing and expressed 
their desire, to a variety of USG interlocutors, to find 
concrete ways to improve military to military ties while 
respecting national sovereignty. 
 
8.  (C) Both national security secretariats, SEDENA and 
SEMAR, played key roles in crafting the Merida Initiative 
package of GOM resource requests, participating fully in a 
lengthy inter-agency process that our civilian contacts told 
us was a milestone both in terms of getting military buy-in 
(SEDENA's in particular) for strengthened bilateral 
cooperation as well as advancing ties among often-competing 
law enforcement and security elements within the executive 
branch here. 
 
Residual Attitudes Complicate Dialogue, However 
 
9.  (SBU) Despite their interest in strengthening ties to the 
U.S., you should know that many members of Mexico's armed 
forces remain wary of too closely identifying with U.S. 
security interests.  We are making progress, but it will take 
time to overcome the historic and political differences have 
long inhibited military cooperation. This country's extensive 
experience with foreign interventions and the loss of over 
half of its territory to the U.S. following the 
Mexican-American War created permanent scars on the Mexican 
psyche, generating a sense of national insecurity and 
suspicion about American motives. 
 
10.  (SBU) Mexico's post-World War II foreign policy has 
reinforced these characteristics, placing a higher premium on 
nonintervention and sovereignty than on confronting and 
resolving issues.  This has often put Mexico at odds with the 
U.S. and limited our sense of common cause even as awareness 
here has increased that the U.S. and Mexico share 
vulnerabilities in the areas of international terrorism, 
narcotics trafficking, human smuggling and natural disasters. 
 Many of your interlocutors will have well-defined 
perspectives on the global and regional security environments 
that do not reflect our own thinking. 
 
11.  (SBU) Mexico does not, for example, share our position 
on the need for robust, forward-based defense of our security 
interests in the Near East or South Asia.  It places less 
emphasis on the potential threat to the region emanating from 
groups such as Al-Qaida. It is less nervous about Iranian 
diplomatic, economic and political outreach in the region 
than we are.  Closer to home, Mexico has long sought to play 
a regional role that is independent of the U.S.  With the 
exception of the Fox administration, Mexican governments -- 
including Calderon's -- have generally sought to maintain 
warm ties with Cuba.  Similarly, the GOM has sought to avoid 
high-profile conflicts with the current Venezuelan 
government.  Mexican officials and citizens alike have viewed 
the activities of populist governments, and even certain 
armed groups, in the region as relatively benign, thinking 
consistent with their country's own revolutionary past. 
 
Key Goals for Your Visit 
 
14.  (CONFIDENTIAL -- ENTIRE PARAGRAPH)  That said, there are 
many concrete areas where you can make headway in moving key 
aspects of the bilateral military relationship forward. 
During your visit, I hope you can address the following 
issues: 
 
--Intel/Information Sharing.  We want to respond positively 
to the Mexican military's interest in improving our 
intelligence/information interface but need to enact formal 
agreements that safeguard sensitive material.   I would 
 
MEXICO 00001082  003 OF 004 
 
 
encourage you to press forward on GIOSOMIA agreements, and 
assure our contacts of  our willingness to do so; SEMAR is 
ready to sign but SEDENA is well behind. 
 
-- Counter-Terrorism Assistance:   In addition to potential 
Merida Initiative assistance, we have an immediate 
opportunity to use FY 08 1206 funds to boost the Mexican 
military's counter terrorism capabilities.   This proposed 
$30.0M support includes light surveillance aircraft, 
protective equipment, inflatable boats, and forensics 
training and equipment.  It complements the support now being 
considered under the Merida Initiative and helps meet 
critical challenges posed by organized criminal networks 
employing terror tactics and which could be potentially 
exploited by global terrorist organizations.  You should take 
the opportunity to underscore our desire to make this 
equipment available soonest, stressing that now is the time 
to move forward on an updated 505 agreement to make it 
possible.  (Foreign Assistance Act Section 505 sets the terms 
and conditions regarding the use and inspection of 
transferred U.S. defense articles to which the Government of 
Mexico must adhere.) 
 
-- Disaster Planning:  Mexico provided disaster assistance to 
New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and building our 
disaster relief cooperation is a common goal.  Last year 
SEDENA specifically asked us for consultations related to 
crisis planning/preparedness.  You should encourage this 
interest. 
 
-- Status/accreditation for Military Exchange Officers: 
Placement of both SEDENA and SEMAR officers in U.S. military 
facilities (including NORTHCOM) marks an extremely positive 
development.  We have similar officers working within Mexican 
institutions.  However, our bilateral military education 
programs are at risk because of a disagreement over the 
nature of accreditation for our respective exchange officers, 
notwithstanding a 1994 Memorandum of Understanding.  This 
issue needs to be worked out in our own interagency, as well 
as with the GOM, but you can signal our strong desire to 
resolve it in the interest of strengthening exchanges in the 
future. 
 
--Peace Keeping:  Mexico is beginning to consider deploying 
its military in support of peace keeping operations -- a 
significant step forward in broadening the mission of the 
country's armed forces and developing an over-the-horizon 
worldview.  Mexico is campaigning for election to the UN 
Security Council in 2009, and needs to demonstrate a greater 
commitment to international engagement.  You should encourage 
your counterparts to begin seriously considering when they 
can engage in international peace keeping operations.  You 
can also offer to help the Mexican army and navy develop 
their interoperability and other skills to prepare for 
eventual participation in IPOs. 
 
15.  (SBU) Comment:  The Calderon administration has 
committed to significantly strengthening the security 
relationship with the United States.  While it remains keen 
to balance this effort against its desire to be seen in the 
region as an influential -- and independent -- actor, U.S. 
and Mexico cooperation in broad areas of law enforcement has 
already deepened considerably under this dynamic president. 
The more we work together on such initiatives, the more we 
will develop shared outlooks on the range of security issues 
we face in the world.  Your visit will punctuate an exciting 
juncture in the bilateral relationship and will significantly 
build momentum to even deeper military-to-military 
cooperation.  Please let me know what I and my staff at the 
Embassy can do to make your time in Mexico as productive as 
possible.  GARZA 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
MEXICO 00001082  004 OF 004 
 
 
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 / 
GARZA