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Viewing cable 09BUENOSAIRES196, ARGENTINA: MENDOZA GOVERNOR PRAISES BILATERAL COLLABORATION ON PUBLIC SECURITY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BUENOSAIRES196 2009-02-25 18:06 2011-02-24 06:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Buenos Aires
VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0196/01 0561823
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251823Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3091
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L BUENOS AIRES 000196 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/25/2039 TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON PINR AR


SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: MENDOZA GOVERNOR PRAISES BILATERAL COLLABORATION ON PUBLIC SECURITY 
 Classified By: Ambassador Wayne for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d). 
 

1. (C) Summary:  Mendoza Governor and Peronist party member 
Celso Jaque praised bilateral collaboration on improving 
security and combating drug trafficking during a February 12 
meeting with Ambassador Wayne.  Jaque cited crime reduction 
as his top priority and regarded a focus on prevention as a 
means to that end.  The Governor updated the Ambassador on 
his efforts to soften the impact of the international crisis 
on the province's fruit producers.  Jaque said he will travel 
to the United States in June to request modifications of 
Mendoza's program with the Inter-American Development Bank to 
better assist the province's fruit producers and processors. 
He also updated the Ambassador on how this year's legislative 
elections are shaping up in his province, Argentina's fifth most populous electoral district.  End Summary.  2. (SBU) Ambassador Wayne met with Mendoza Governor Celso Jaque on February 12.  The Governor was accompanied by his personal secretary, Matias Montes, and Under Secretary for Public Management Rodrigo Ruete.  Ruete had recently returned from his January 12-31 International Visitor trip to the United States, which he described as an invaluable learning experience.  Commercial Counselor and poloff (notetaker) also attended. Security a Top Priority ----------------------- 
 3. (SBU) Jaque cited reducing crime as his top priority, stressing that the province has to work on prevention programs to reduce its high incarceration rate.  The Governor indicated that, in January alone, there were 23 murders, almost all of which were perpetrated by family members of the victims.  He said he would like to create a more specialized law enforcement system, which would include personnel charged with prevention issues and others with policing the streets. 
He said the province will build a women's prison and a 
federal prison that will house 1500 inmates.  (This is part 
of an ongoing effort by Mendoza authorities to comply with a 
Supreme Court order instructing the provincial government to 
report concrete measures to improve prison conditions and 
address several rulings by the Inter-American Court on Human 
Rights.)  He added that the province has established a 
return-to-school program for unemployed youth between the 
ages of 14 to 18 and reported that last year 4000 teenagers 
were able to attend school thanks to the program's 
scholarships.  Jaque said the province, which has also 
established five drug addiction centers, is working closely 
with schools, NGOS, and the Catholic Church on drug 
prevention programs. Kudos for DEA Support 
--------------------- 4. (C) The Ambassador said that although economic concerns remain the USG's number one priority, the new U.S. 
administration offers an opportunity to improve and deepen 
bilateral relations, a message the Ambassador said he 
recently conveyed to Foreign Minister Taiana and Vice 
Minister Taccetti.  Jaque said he is quite pleased with the 
bilateral collaboration his province has received to date. 
He praised the close support from DEA in helping the Mendoza 
police establish a taskforce with the Mendoza Airport 
Security Police and Customs.  Jaque added that Mendoza's 
Security Minister just visited Buenos Aires to put the 
finishing touches on the taskforce, which the Governor 
expects will be up and running shortly.  He added that 
although they have good border controls, they hope to 
continue collaboration with ICE and DEA in this area.  He 
added that Minister of Justice Anibal Fernandez is working on 
acquiring detectors that would tighten border security and on 
purchasing additional surveillance vans. On the Mendoza Economy and U.S. Investment ------------------------------------------ 
 5. (SBU) Jaque said the international economic crisis has not 
yet significantly affected the province.  Nonetheless, he 
stressed that he is focused on countering its potential 
impact on Mendoza farmers by making assistance to producers a 
provincial government policy.  Noting that prices of all 
fruits have dropped significantly, Jaque said his province 
has employed subsidy programs to assist producers of peaches, 
cherries, pears, apples, and grapes.  In addition, he is 
focused on protecting Mendoza's garlic industry, which he 
said produces 95 percent of Argentine garlic (San Juan 
province provides the remaining 5 percent, the Governor 
claimed) and employs 4,800 workers.  Jaque said he will 
travel to the United States in June to request modifications 
of Mendoza's program with the Inter-American Development Bank 
to better support the province's fruit producers and 
processors. 
 6. (SBU) The Governor said he hoped the U.S.-based 
bottle-making plant, Owens Illinois, will remain interested 
in building a plant in Mendoza.  He indicated that they are 
still waiting Owens Illinois' decision as "we have done 
everything we can and the ball is now in their court."  He 
welcomed additional U.S. investment to Mendoza. 
 2009 Legislative Elections -------------------------- 
 7. (C) Jaque said Mendoza will hold their legislative 
elections the same day as the national congressional midterms 
(anticipated for the third week in October) when the province 
will elect senators, deputies, and councilpersons.  He said 
there will be at least three candidate slates in the race and 
added that Vice President and former Mendoza governor Julio 
Cobos and the Mendoza Radical party have not resolved their 
differences since Cobos left the Radical party to serve in 
the Kirchner government.  He described the province as quite 
"conservative," remarking that voters tend not to support 
candidates backed by coalitions. 
 BIO Note -------- 8. (SBU) Born on September 24, 1960 in Malargue, Mendoza, Jaque earned an accounting degree from the University of 
Cuyo.  He served as National Senator for Mendoza from 2003 
until December 2007 when he assumed his current post.  Jaque 
was a provincial deputy from 1991 to 1995 and from 1994 to 
1995 a chairman of the Treasury and Budget Committee in 
Mendoza's legislature.  He served as Mayor of Malargue for 
two consecutive terms (1995-1999 and 1999-2003).  From 2001 
to 2003, he was the Peronist party vice-president in Mendoza. 
 He married Liliana Landete in 1989 and has two daughters. 
One of their daughters is participating in a student exchange 
program in Georgia and the Jaques have had a U.S. high school 
student living with them this year. Comment ------- 9. (SBU) As usual, Jaque was quite talkative.  We are encouraged by his praise for DEA support and desire for greater collaboration with the Embassy. 
WAYNE .