mexico News- Feb.24
Posted by the generals on February 28, 2011, 11:56 am
Subject: Mexico News DAILY February 24, 2011 |
LatinNews Daily - 24 February 2011
Napolitano and Mexico’s Calderón clash
Development: On 23 February Janet Napolitano, the US Homeland Security Secretary, criticised President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa for his harsh comments about the lack of coordination between US security agencies.
Significance: The spat comes as Calderón prepares for a 3 March meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington. Napolitano’s strong comments (“disappointed” is officialese for angry) overshadowed the news that the Mexican army had arrested, also on 23 February, a gangster who conveniently confessed to murdering Jaime Zapata, an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent killed in Mexico on 15 February.
• Calderón’s aspersions on the lack of co-ordination between US security agencies (he named the DEA, FBI and CIA) was appallingly timed: his comments were published on the day of Zapata’s burial in Brownsville, Texas. Calderón was particularly angry about the behaviour of the US ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, as revealed by US embassy cables published by WikiLeaks.
• Pascual, who arrived in Mexico (in 2009) with a questionmark against him, at least in the eyes of Mexican officials, because of his professional expertise in dealing with failed states, was accused by Calderón of “ignorance [that] has translated into a distortion of what is happening in Mexico”…[which has caused] “an impact and an irritation in our own team.” Calderón was referring to a series of analytic cables - some signed by Pascual, others by senior embassy officials (published by WikiLeaks), which discuss the perceived shortcomings of Mexico’s intelligence services; the conduct of its army in Calderon’s anti-crime campaign; and the inability of its security forces to work well with one another. Calderón’s comments were the first official Mexican response to the WikiLeaks revelations.
• Policymakers in both the US and Mexico are now beginning to think about what may happen in 2012 when a new Mexican (and perhaps also a new US) government will take office. On 23 February, Socrates Rizzo García, a former governor of Nuevo León (1991-1996), now one of the main battlegrounds between drug gangs, said that when (his party) the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) ran Mexico (until 2000), “a strong presidency and a strong [federal] government” assigned the routes each drug gang could use so that there was no fighting between the gangs and ordinary people could live in peace.
• Rizzo’s comments suggest that if the PRI were to recover the presidency in 2012, it might revert to this former policy, which at least kept the death toll down in Mexico. Since President Calderón took office in December 2006, 35,000 people have been killed by drug gangs.
• Rizzo’s comments, made at a conference held at Coahuila state university’s law faculty, were also aimed at Calderón. In his 22 February interview with El Universal TV, Calderón accused Mexico’s state governors of failing to help the federal government. Rizzo’s argument was that in his day the federal government handled the whole issue of the drug trade and kept state governments out of the loop.
Pointer: Mexico under Calderón has become increasingly touchy about how the US perceives it. In the past month it reacted immediately when a US government official (mis-)described the situation in Northern Mexico as “an insurgency”.
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