Houston Chronicle, 12/3/2010
Diplomatic cables released Thursday by the website WikiLeaks reveal deep U.S. concerns over the progress of President Felipe Calderon’s crackdown on Mexico’s criminal gangs and the two countries’ cooperation in the effort.
The cables, released to selected European newspapers by the website, offer official confirmation of the rivalries, corruption and inefficiencies among Mexican security forces that have hampered Calderon’s campaign.
“Mexican security institutions are often locked in a zero-sum competition in which one agency’s success is viewed as another’s failure,” warns a January cable apparently written by John Feeley, second in command of the U.S. embassy in Mexico City, to U.S. intelligence and military agencies.
“Information is closely guarded, and joint operations are all but unheard of,” the dispatch continues. “Official corruption is widespread, leading to a compartmentalized siege mentality among “clean” law enforcement leaders and their lieutenants.”
Only a handful of more than 2,000 U.S. diplomatic cables related to Mexico have been released by WikiLeaks so far, these to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, which posted them on its website, as have Mexican newspapers.
The cables largely reveal U.S. diplomats doing their jobs – informing Washington of events in Mexico and back-room political wrangling that could affect American interests.
But the dispatches, and those released in coming days, are all but certain to fuel public debate here about Calderon’s strategy and U.S. involvement in it. In particular, criticism of Mexico’s army – an insular institution historically suspicious of the United States – may prove damaging to the binational relationship.