The views expressed in any article published in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Joseph Foster or Bob Lupoli.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wikileaks: Mexico a Failed State?

Joe:  having lived in Tijuana for nearly 4 years and managing an 80-100 person operation I have the experience of the having to close the factory down one day because of a massive shootout two blocks away, where 5 kidnapped victims for ransom where shot upon being discovered by the police. Our factory workers were often stopped on the way to work in the morning by a few bad policemen and were ordered to give the cops money for not having ID (a made up reason for extortion). Mexico is like Columbia and needs US involvement, Hillary tried this approach several months ago as a trial balloon, and as written about in Foreign Affairs (see summary below). Calderon feigned insult but the guy needs help but his Mexican pride won’t allow this. I like Mexico but right now the situation is like having crap on your back porch. A country, our neighbor, is in need of our help and assistance is not receiving it in an adequate way because it reflects our own problems. I suppose we must work on healing thyself first.   – Bob

WikiLeaks cables reveal unease over Mexican drug war

The secret cables give a much starker U.S. view of the pitfalls facing Mexican President Felipe Calderon in his campaign against drug cartels.
December 2, 2010
By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Mexico City — In contrast to their upbeat public assessments, U.S. officials expressed frustration with a "risk averse" Mexican army and rivalries among security agencies that have hampered the Mexican government's war against drug cartels, according to secret U.S. diplomatic cables disclosed Thursday. The cables quoted Mexican officials expressing fear that the government was losing control of parts of its national territory and that time was "running out" to rein in drug violence. The cables gave a much starker view of the pitfalls and obstacles facing Mexican President Felipe Calderon, a departure from the public statements of unwavering support that have come out of Washington for most of the 4-year-old war, which has claimed more than 30,000 lives.
Two cables from U.S. Embassy officials in Mexico, one dated January of this year and the other October 2009, praise Calderon for persisting in his campaign to tackle "head on" the powerful cartels that traffic most of the cocaine, heroin and marijuana that reaches the U.S.
But the Mexican president's struggles with "an unwieldy and uncoordinated interagency" law enforcement effort have created the perception that he is failing, the cable dated Jan. 29 said. His inability to halt the violence or contain the rising death toll has become a principal political liability as his public ratings have declined, it said.
The U.S. assessment said Calderon's tools are limited: "Mexican security institutions are often locked in a zero-sum competition in which one agency's success is viewed as another's failure, information is closely guarded, and joint operations are all but unheard of," said the January cable, which is signed by the No. 2 official in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, John D. Feeley, a veteran diplomat with extensive experience in Latin America. "Official corruption is widespread, leading to a compartmentalized siege mentality among 'clean' law enforcement leaders and their lieutenants," he said. "Prosecution rates for organized crime-related offenses are dismal; 2% of those detained are brought" to trial.
The cables are part of a massive release of thousands of classified documents by the WikiLeaks website that has turned an uncomfortable light on the workings of American diplomacy. The documents involving Mexico are said to number 2,836, and the first were made public Thursday by the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
How to Defeat Mexico's Drug Cartels
Mexico is currently suffering from the same sort of drug-related violence that plagued Colombia during the 1980s. Mexico and the United States can learn a great deal from Colombia's example, including that they must build law enforcement capacity and not rely solely on military force.
ROBERT C. BONNER is Senior Principal of the Sentinel HS Group. He was Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration from 1990 to 1993 and Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection from 2001 to 2005.

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