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courage is contagious

Viewing cable 09PARTO40301, U) Secretary Clinton's March 25 Conversation

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09PARTO40301 2009-04-03 17:05 2011-02-21 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL US Delegation, Secretary
Appears in these articles:
http://wikileaks.jornada.com.mx/notas/secretaria-de-estado-pide-a-embajada-evaluacion-de-calderon
VZCZCXRO9333
OO RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUCNAI #0003/01 0931728
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 031728Z APR 09
FM USDEL SECRETARY//MEXICO//
TO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHSP/AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
200714
2009-04-03 17:28:00
09PARTO40301
US Delegation, Secretary
CONFIDENTIAL

VZCZCXRO9333
OO RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUCNAI #0003/01 0931728
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 031728Z APR 09
FM USDEL SECRETARY//MEXICO//
TO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHSP/AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 PARTO 040301 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/25/2019 
TAGS: OVIP CLINTON HILLARY PREL SNAR MX
SUBJECT: (U)  Secretary Clinton's March 25 Conversation 
with Mexican President Felipe Calderon 
 
Ref:  White House 0813 dated 03/21/09 
 
 
1.  (U)  Classified by Uzra Zeya, Deputy Executive 
Secretary, S/ES, Department of State.  Reason 1.4 (d). 
 
2.  (U)  03/25/09, 1 p.m., Mexico City, Mexico 
 
3.  (U)  Participants 
 
U.S. 
The Secretary 
Charge Bassett 
A/S Shannon 
Laura Pena, Senior Advisor to the Secretary 
Dan Restrepo, Senior Director, National Security Council 
 
Mexico 
President Calderon 
Foreign Secretary Espinosa 
Amb. Sarukhan 
U/S Rico 
Presidential Advisor Fernandez de Castro 
 
4.  (C)  Summary:   During an extremely cordial 
conversation with Secretary Clinton, President Calderon 
emphasized his personal commitment to providing security 
for Mexican citizens, pressed for greater U.S. actions 
against arms trafficking, conveyed concerns about how the 
issue of Cuba will be treated at the upcoming Summit of 
the Americas, and discussed his ideas for global action 
on environmental issues.  Secretary Clinton praised 
Calderon's commitment and leadership, acknowledged U.S. 
co-responsibility for the drug war, and pledged U.S. 
partnership against organized crime.  President Calderon 
encouraged the United States to re-assume its key role in 
the region and expressed his personal admiration for 
Secretary Clinton's leadership.  He closed by expressing 
appreciation for President Obama's decision to visit 
Mexico.  End Summary. 
 
5.  (C)  President Calderon's aides tried several times 
to interrupt his animated conversation with Secretary 
Clinton,  which lasted 1 hour 45 minutes and included a 
15-minute one-on-one session, but he waved them off time 
after time.  He opened by expressing his admiration for 
Secretary Clinton, confessing that he attended her 1998 
appearance at Davos and submitted the written query, 
"Would you consider running for President?"  Secretary 
Clinton said she was delighted to see him again, and 
conveyed her appreciation for his commitment and courage. 
The United States, she continued, recognized its co- 
responsibility for the current situation, and would stand 
shoulder to shoulder with Mexico until the battle was 
won.  Secretary Clinton added that it was a personal 
priority for her to work on the broad relationship and 
have positive outcomes. 
 
-------- 
SECURITY 
-------- 
 
6.  (C)  President Calderon acknowledged that our agenda 
is broader than security, but turned to that topic as the 
most urgent.  His personal commitment was to leave his 
successor a secure Mexico with credible institutions free 
of the taint of corruption.  To succeed he needed U.S. 
support, and suggested renewing the assault weapons ban. 
He said that there was a clear correlation between the 
lifting of the ban in 2004 and Mexico's current 
situation.  During the six years of the Fox 
administration, Mexican forces captured 3,000 assault 
weapons.  In the last two years, they confiscated 16,000, 
with no end in sight.  The availability of assault 
weaponry had contributed to the cartels' new aggression 
against government forces.  A second factor was cartels' 
expanding interests.  While they still fought for access 
to the U.S. market, they were increasingly seeking to 
control the growing Mexican drug market, as well.  The 
combination of assault weapons and an increased 
imperative for geographic control prompted the dramatic 
increases in violence Mexico had recently witnessed.  The 
third factor was the Mexican government's increased 
pressure on the cartels. 
 
7.  (C)  Calderon cited the situation in Ciudad Juarez as 
a case in point.  Ciudad Juarez was important to the 
cartels as a launching point into the United States, he 
said, but it was also a growing metropolis with a 
potentially lucrative drug market.  The cartels' battle 
for this territory had driven homicide rates up to record 
levels.  President Calderon said he had made the decision 
to flood the city with federal forces and take over 
security while pressing the city and state governments to 
convert their local police into effective patrolling 
units and to do more against common crime.  In just a 
month, violence in Ciudad Juarez had fallen by 73 
percent, but this progress had to be sustained. 
 
8.  (C)  Calderon said that a second priority should be 
to cut U.S. drug consumption.  Mexico was working to halt 
the supply -- the United States needed to cut demand. 
This led to the third priority -- cutting money flows to 
the cartels.   Calderon assessed that direct action to 
interdict bulk cash coming from the United States to 
Mexico would also strangle the cartels and their 
operations.  Mapping money flows and sharing that 
information would help both countries interdict cash more 
effectively and shut down the institutions facilitating 
cash transactions.  Mexico, he conceded, would have to do 
more to check inbound travelers and vehicles, ideally 
reaching a near 100 percent inspection rate through non- 
invasive (NIIE) means.  That might not be possible with 
existing technology, he admitted, but deploying more NIIE 
machines along more points of the border would be very 
helpful. 
 
9.  (C)  Calderon said he appreciated the change in the 
tenor of USG officials' remarks in recent weeks, and 
hoped that trend would continue.  Suggestions by eminent 
U.S. government officials that Mexico was unable to 
govern its territory or risked becoming a failed state 
did incalculable damage, not just to Mexico's image, but 
to its efforts to confront organized crime.  These 
statements caused law enforcement officials to lose hope, 
helped motivate local officials to surrender to 
intimidation, and discouraged citizens from supporting 
the government's efforts.  On the other hand, he opined, 
such statements led criminals to believe the government 
would fail, and gave them renewed confidence to continue 
to confront the forces of order.  Calderon said he needed 
the support of the Mexican people, and he needed them to 
believe the rule of law would triumph. 
 
10.  (C)  Secretary Clinton responded that her message 
was one of co-responsibility and cooperation.  She was 
personally committed to making sure both countries 
succeed.  The United States would do its share.  In the 
coming weeks, AG Holder and DHS Secretary Napolitano 
would visit Mexico to further this important dialogue. 
The Obama Administration had announced on March 20 a 
series of new measures along the U.S. border to impede 
smuggling or arms and cash into Mexico.  The Secretary 
said she could not be confident that an assault weapons 
ban would be passed by Congress, but she was confident 
the Administration would use every means to aggressively 
enforce existing law.  She offered to share ideas with 
Mexico on demand reduction in both countries.  She 
affirmed the Administration's absolute confidence that 
Calderon would succeed in his efforts, and that the 
United States would be with him every step of the way. 
 
11.  (C)  President Calderon thanked her, noting that he 
appreciated the announcements made on the 20th, but 
adding that moving the National Guard to the border would 
pose a problem for Mexico.  Turning back to Mexico's 
situation, he  commented that the cartels were more 
aggressive in confronting Mexican institutions than ever 
before.  They were more openly intimidating elected 
officials, and more brutally killing Mexican law 
enforcement personnel.  They had undertaken terrorist- 
like acts, including throwing a grenade into a crowd of 
civilians last September.  Mexico had to face evidence 
that corruption extended to all levels.  The cartels had 
a strong distribution network in the United States, 
Calderon noted, and unchecked they could start to apply 
the same tactics in the United States.  Mexico had to 
face the harsh truth about corruption in the Attorney 
General's office; the United States should be concerned 
that the massive volume of drugs, money, and weapons 
flowing across the border could imply corruption problems 
on the U.S. side, as well.  Calderon said that both 
countries needed to coordinate efforts closely to be 
successful.  The President expressed some frustration 
with the pace of Merida deliveries, while noting his 
appreciation for the partnership the Merida Initiative 
represented. 
 
---------- 
THE REGION 
---------- 
 
12.  (C)  President Calderon observed that, while there 
were many sensitivities in Mexico to working too closely 
on security matters with the United States, the nations 
of Central America did not face the same political 
constraints.  Mexico was concerned by the vulnerabilities 
in Guatemala and other Central American nations where 
security, judicial, and even democratic institutions were 
weak and susceptible to corrupt influences.  In 
Guatemala, almost half the security forces had been 
forcibly retired by the prior president, leaving its 
security situation difficult at best.  The United States 
should focus regional Merida assistance on these most 
vulnerable countries. 
 
13.  (C)  President Calderon then went on to express his 
hope that the United States would re-assert its 
leadership role in the region, using the Summit of the 
Americas as an important opportunity.  The region was 
eager to meet President Obama, and excited to hear his 
vision of U.S. policy towards Latin America.  Calderon 
confessed that a recent meeting with Summit host Prime 
Minister Manning of Trinidad and Tobago had left him 
concerned that Manning would try to force the Cuba issue 
at the Summit.  Calderon said he had advised against 
this, arguing the United States and Cuba needed to work 
out their issues bilaterally first, before the region 
engaged.  Calderon did not think Manning was persuaded, 
describing the leader as seduced by the idea of making 
history with this issue. 
 
--------- 
THE WORLD 
--------- 
 
14.  (C)  Secretary Clinton noted U.S. appreciation for 
Mexico's leadership role in the G-20, and especially its 
early call for replenishing the international financial 
institutions.  Calderon pointed out that the Inter- 
American Development Bank was one of those institutions 
that needed replenishing, and should not be overlooked. 
 
15.  (C)  Calderon continued that he and President Obama 
had many things in common, and one was a "green" agenda. 
Calderon noted this was another personal passion of his. 
The global community set goals for the environment, but 
didn't create mechanisms to make those goals attainable. 
Calderon discussed his ideas for regional "clean energy" 
markets, and for the creation of a "green fund" that 
would provide incentives for nations who successfully 
actualized plans to reduce emissions.  Secretary Clinton 
said that Mexico's vision on the range of issues 
affecting the environment, renewable energy options, and 
climate change was greatly valued, and for that reason 
President Obama wished to invite him to a Major Economies 
Forum on Energy and the Environment in Italy this July 
(reftel).  President Calderon noted that, as Secretary of 
Energy and earlier, as President of the Development Bank 
(Banobras), he had approved wind energy and biogas 
programs across Mexico.  Now those programs were models 
of their kind.  Secretary Clinton told him she was 
pleased to be visiting Mexico's showcase biogas plant in 
Monterrey, drawing a warm smile from the President. 
 
---------- 
NEXT STEPS 
---------- 
 
16.  (C)  Calderon summed up the discussion by noting 
that our two countries need a broad strategy to focus on 
security, competitiveness, and the range of bilateral 
issues.  He said that we should build strategic alliances 
in areas like healthcare, where U.S. demand could be met 
by Mexican supply.  Calderon noted he had shared these 
ideas with President Obama, and very much looked forward 
to discussing them further in April.  He reiterated again 
how honored Mexico was to receive the U.S. President. 
Secretary Clinton thanked Calderon for his time and 
leadership, and again pledged her personal commitment to 
concrete results in the relationship. 
 
 
CLINTON