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Viewing cable 09MEXICO131, MEXICO CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT MEETING BETWEEN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MEXICO131 2009-01-20 13:01 2011-03-02 12:12 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Mexico
Appears in these articles:
http://wikileaks.jornada.com.mx/notas/encuentros-entre-obama-y-calderon
VZCZCXRO0707
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #0131/01 0201343
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201343Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4648
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USNORTHCOM  PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
187900
2009-01-20 13:43:00
09MEXICO131
Embassy Mexico
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

VZCZCXRO0707
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #0131/01 0201343
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201343Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4648
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USNORTHCOM  PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 000131 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR WHA/MEX, INR 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT MEETING BETWEEN 
CALDERON AND OBAMA 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY:  The Mexican media reported extensively on 
the meeting between President-elect Barack Obama and Mexican 
President Felipe Calderon at the Cultural Institute of Mexico 
January 12 in Washington.  The press reported a positive, 
fluid dialogue between the two leaders on domestic and 
binational issues such as drugs and arms trafficking, the 
economic crisis and NAFTA, and immigration and other 
binational issues, even though many commentators mentioned 
that their encounter lacked concrete proposals.  Opinion 
pieces varied with some more critical than others but with 
most cautiously optimistic.  END SUMMARY. 
 
Searching for a Niche 
---------------------- 
 
2. (SBU)  The Mexican media generally characterized the 
private lunch between Calderon and Obama at the Cultural 
Institute of Mexico January 12 as a positive step in the 
U.S.-Mexican relationship.  Columnist Froylan M. Lopez 
Narvaez (Reforma) opined that it was a difficult meeting for 
Calderon because Calderon had made the mistake of signaling 
his preference for McCain over Obama in the course of the 
campaign.  Lopez suggested the two got together out of 
tradition (Mexican Presidents have met with the U.S. 
president-elect going back to when Mexican President Lopez 
Portillo met with U.S. President-Elect Reagan in 1981) but 
described the exchange as "reserved" and focused on 
"generalities."  TV anchor and columnist Carlos Loret de Mola 
alluded to the relationship of former Mexican presidents with 
the U.S.  According to Loret de Mola, former president 
Salinas had wanted a trade agreement, Zedillo looked to the 
U.S. for financial rescue and Fox had hoped the U.S. would 
deliver on an immigration agreement.  The problem with 
Calderon, he suggested, was that he was not yet clear on his 
number one priority.  Loret also lamented that Mexico was not 
a priority for the U.S. compared to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, 
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and even the European 
Union. 
 
Drugs and Arms Trafficking 
-------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU)  Press commentators welcomed reports that Obama had 
assured Calderon that the U.S. would not leave Mexico on its 
own in the fight against drug trafficking.  The press also 
reported on President-Elect Obama's commitment to address 
Mexican concerns about arms trafficking.  Salvador Garcia 
Soto (Universal) however, went off on a different tangent. 
He drew attention to the  DOD Joint Operating Environment 
2008 Report released last week which declared Mexico a 
"failed state."  He worried that the U.S. was starting to 
place Mexico in the same category as Pakistan and considering 
the potential to deploy troops to address an emerging crisis. 
 He saw the U.S. sending mixed messages.  On the one hand, 
President-Elect Obama and USG officials praised Calderon as 
courageous.  At the same, it's evident they have serious 
concerns about Mexico's ability to face down the threat posed 
by organized crime. 
 
Financial Crisis, NAFTA and Immigration 
--------------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU)  Mexican columnists generally stressed the need for 
cooperation to mitigate the effects of the financial crisis 
on U.S. and Mexican businesses.  They contrasted the approach 
of the two presidents on the question of NAFTA.  Whereas 
Calderon wanted to build on NAFTA, some perceived Obama as 
wanting to revisit the current treaty to strengthen labor and 
environmental standards.  Congressional opinions were mixed. 
PRI Coordinator of Deputies Emilio Gamboa said that Mexico 
needed more details about possible next steps on NAFTA as a 
renegotiation of the treaty could hurt Mexico.  PAN Deputy 
Coordinator Hector Larios, however, suggested that 
renegotiation of the treaty on labor and environment issues 
was doable.  Several commentators believed Obama was 
committed to working with Congress on immigration but 
recognized it was premature to know what shape this work 
would take. 
 
Congress and Political Party Reaction 
------------------------------------- 
 
 
MEXICO 00000131  002 OF 002 
 
 
5. (SBU) A number of Congresspersons and political party 
officials described the meeting between the two leaders  as 
positive and important.  Rejecting the suggestion that 
Calderon had the meeting just to get his picture taken with 
Obama, PAN Senator Humberto Aguilar maintained the meeting 
served to formalize a new era in Mexico's bilateral 
relationship with the U.S.  PAN Deputy Coordinator Hector 
Larios thought an emerging personal affinity between the two 
leaders could advance the U.S.-Mexico relationship.  Vania 
Avila Garcia, National Coordinator of International Affairs 
at Convergencia described the meeting as a good start, but 
insisted Mexico needed to keep in mind that notwithstanding 
his "good intentions," Obama was committed to advancing the 
national interests of the U.S. 
 
6. (SBU) COMMENT:  Overall, media commentators and political 
leaders believed that Calderon's initial meeting with Obama 
had served to establish a personal connection between the 
two.  They were able to touch on important themes in the 
relationship including shared concern about the security 
challenges Mexico faces and the economic challenges that 
confront both of our countries.  Reassured by Obama's 
commitment to support Mexico and do more to fight arms 
trafficking, they remained ambiguous about what to expect on 
the question of NAFTA and immigration.  Calderon scored 
points for securing the meeting and receiving Obama's public 
support.  Some worried though that Mexico would not rank high 
as a priority for the new U.S. administration and hoped that 
future meetings between the leaders of our two countries 
would tackle our shared agenda in greater detail.  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 / 
GARZA