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Viewing cable 09MEXICO283, THE U.S.-MEXICAN RELATIONSHIP: MEETING CHALLENGES,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MEXICO283 2009-02-04 17:05 2011-03-02 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Mexico
Appears in these articles:
http://wikileaks.jornada.com.mx/notas/la-relacion-eu-mexico-mas-fuerte-que-nunca
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2009-02-04 17:08:00
09MEXICO283
Embassy Mexico
CONFIDENTIAL

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 000283 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/15/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KCRM SNAR KJUS PINR MX
SUBJECT: THE U.S.-MEXICAN RELATIONSHIP: MEETING CHALLENGES, 
TAPPING OPPORTUNITIES IN 2009--SECURITY AND REFORM 
 
Classified By: POLCOUNS CHARLES V. BARCLAY. REASONS 1.4(b) 
and (d) 
 
1. (C) Summary. Mexico's drug cartels are responsible for 
60-80 percent of the cocaine and a significant percentage of 
other drugs entering the U.S., their activities corrupt 
Mexican institutions, foment insecurity throughout Mexico, 
and instigate rising violence on the U.S.-Mexico border. 
Disrupting and ultimately dismantling these groups represents 
one of our Mission's highest priorities. To achieve that 
objective, we need to help Mexico build stronger law 
enforcement institutions committed to working together not 
only to attack the cartels from without but corruption from 
within. We also must help Mexico improve its ability to 
collect and then act expeditiously on intelligence. Mexico 
is looking for much from us in terms of combating U.S. drug 
demand, trafficking of arms from the U.S. into Mexico, and 
money laundering in the U.S. and we need to step up our 
efforts across the board. Last, but not least, we need to 
assist Mexico in implementing justice reform that will enable 
Mexico to turn the page on corruption and establish the rule 
of law. The Merida Initiative provides a platform for 
achieving these objectives provided it remains flexible yet 
focused. This cable is the first in a series of five cables 
that aim to define the issues that will shape the U.S.-Mexico 
relationship in the coming year. End Summary. 
 
Reinforce President Calderon's Commitment to Law Enforcement 
Development 
 
2. (SBU) The Mexican public correctly perceives Mexican law 
enforcement institutions as widely inept and corrupt. 
Calderon's own security chief highlighted a recent federal 
review in which 56,000 police officers failed to meet minimum 
professional standards. We must ensure that the Merida 
Initiative's focus on police training and vetting not only 
professionalizes and sanitizes Mexico's police forces, but 
reinforces Calderon's goal of ending impunity. As Merida 
moves forward, we need to encourage the GOM to establish 
aggressive internal affairs units to better identify and 
sanction bad cops, as well as map out a career path for law 
enforcement officials that rewards good ones with advancement 
and better pay. 
 
Encourage Better Inter-Institutional Cooperation 
 
3. (U) The major institutions engaged in Mexico's war on 
drugs -- the military, public security, the Attorney 
General's office, and the national security intelligence arm, 
on down to the state and municipal law enforcement community 
-- don't trust each other. In principle, the GOM aims to 
promote greater interoperability through its 
information-sharing initiative Plataforma Mexico; so far, 
however, each agency has continued to pursue leads and 
conduct investigations independent of, if not at odds with, 
its counterparts. On an institutional level, the Attorney 
General's Office (PGR) is resisting the Secretariat of Public 
Security's (SSP) efforts to integrate the Federal 
Investigative Agency (AFI) officials into its forces and 
opposition parties in Congress have raised their own 
objections to legislation that would call for the merging of 
SSP and AFI into a single unitary federal police force. 
 
4. (SBU) Ongoing U.S. funded vetting programs have 
facilitated the creation of trusted units within several of 
Mexico's law enforcement entities. The Merida Initiative 
will fund vetting programs on a far more extensive level. 
Recently adopted legislation calls for the creation of a 
National Council for Public Security which the president will 
head and will include the ministries of government, public 
security, national defense and the navy. However, it would 
be a mistake to regard this council as the panacea for the 
deep-seated distrust that presently characterizes relations. 
The Merida planning process was instrumental in bringing 
Mexico's poorly coordinated law enforcement elements to the 
same table. We must continue to use it as a way to promote 
greater trust and interoperability among Mexico's federal law 
enforcement elements; at the same time, we must ensure that 
future Merida programs are designed to undermine reflexive 
parochialism here and maximize cooperation and 
interoperability. 
 
Enhance Intelligence Collection and Sharing 
 
5. (C) Mexico's current intelligence collection 
capabilities are limited. CISEN is primarily focused on 
terrorist threats and domestic subversion issues. The 
military remains largely concentrated on collecting against 
the EPR and other domestic threats. Mexico's intelligence 
organs are only beginning to develop expertise in targeting 
Mexico's cartels. As our trust in vetted units has grown 
over the past ten years our law enforcement community has 
begun to share compartmentalized intelligence with Mexican 
counterparts and helped them take down key targets. In 
September 2008, SEMAR signed a General Security of Military 
Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and in October 2008, NORTHCOM 
J2 visited SEMAR for an unprecedented intelligence sharing 
conference centering on counter narcotics and 
counterterrorism. 
 
6. (C) We now want to capitalize on the Secretariat of 
National Defense's (SEDENA) expressed interest in securing a 
similar agreement and hope to sign one in Summer 2009. A 
high priority, however, will be to implement and 
operationalize both agreements by bringing Mexico's fledgling 
collection efforts up to speed through training and best 
practice sharing, ensuring that shared intelligence is 
properly handled and ensuring as well that actionable 
intelligence results in action. 
 
Engage the Enemy on Our Side of the Border 
 
7. (SBU) The U.S.- Mexico law enforcement partnership has 
already accelerated success in terms of high level captures 
and extraditions of major drug traffickers in Mexico. The 
GOM and Mexican public appreciate the helping hand we are 
extending through the Merida Initiative, but expect us to 
take actions on our side of the border. The U.S. is putting 
considerable efforts into targeting money launderers in the 
U.S., curbing our drug demand, and more effectively impeding 
the flow of weapons into Mexico. ICE and ATF are looking at 
a "surge" in personnel and resources to respond to rising 
concerns about criminal activities in the border region. We 
need to explore ways to build on these initiatives with 
sufficient funding and resources to ensure our efforts match 
those of the GOM. 
 
Broaden Judicial Reform Effort 
 
8. (SBU) Putting in place genuine judicial reform is one of 
the single most important pre-requisites to Mexico's long 
term ability to gain the upper hand over organized crime, 
turn the page on corruption and establish the rule of law. 
The Merida Initiative's significant funding for judicial 
reform here offers us leverage not only to encourage passage 
of appropriate legislation, but provide necessary training to 
fully implement laws once they are passed. 
 
9. (C) The judicial reform bill passed last June mandating 
Mexico's shift to an accusatory system over the next eight 
years is welcome. However, before this and other reforms of 
Mexico's antiquated judicial system can take effect, the 
Mexican Congress needs to overhaul the federal procedural and 
penal codes, among other laws. We are discreetly working 
with some members of Congress on a draft and have offered to 
assist PGR with Calderon administration's proposals, which 
for the most part continue to be drafted internally with 
minimal input from non-GOM entities. 
 
10. (SBU) Legislative efforts to date provide an excellent 
start, but Mexican prosecutors need additional tools to 
alleviate a massive case overload in the courts and allow 
authorities to gain the cooperation of lower level defendants 
to build cases against organized crime leaders. While not a 
panacea, plea bargaining and other arrangements and other 
mechanisms for pre-trial disposition of cases will go a long 
way to alleviating over-crowded judicial dockets and giving 
prosecutors the tools they need to get criminal defendants to 
help identify, investigate and prosecute their associates and 
bosses. Once these reforms are passed, we will help the PGR 
develop and implement these mechanisms through our training 
programs. 
 
11. (SBU) A robust asset forfeiture regime will also be 
crucial to hitting Mexico's cartels where it hurts, but it 
remains to be seen whether Mexico can pass and implement 
legislation that is up to the task. The Calderon 
administration has presented to Congress a strong asset 
forfeiture bill (based on Colombia's "Extincion de Dominio" 
law, which the USG helped draft and implement), but general 
distrust of government may result in a weakened version. The 
bill will be taken up during an abbreviated legislative 
session this winter. Working closely with Attorney General's 
office, we will use what may be a short-window to encourage a 
law with sufficient teeth. 
 
12. (C) Comment: Failure to successfully implement 
Calderon's broad reform agenda will undercut Mexico's long 
term efforts to transform the judicial system and give its 
law enforcement community more effective tools for its 
campaign against organized crime. The Merida Initiative 
provides funding to promote such reforms, mostly through 
training, and the Mission country team is well-positioned to 
influence both their design and implementation. To be sure, 
the weight of responsibility for adopting new reforms and 
ensuring existing ones take effect falls on the Mexican 
government. For its part, Washington can support this 
process by ensuring our resource base remains robust in 
coming years -- and by devoting greater resources and focus 
to areas of outstanding Mexican concern, such as illegal arms 
trafficking and bulk cash smuggling. 
 
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 / 
 
 
BASSETT