Hand of U.S. Is Seen in Halting General’s Rise in Mexico

Moisés García OchoaAs Mexico’s military staged its annual Independence Day parade in September, spectators filled the main square of Mexico City to cheer on armed forces. Nearly 2,000 miles away in Washington, American officials were also paying attention. But it was not the helicopters hovering overhead or the antiaircraft weapons or the soldiers in camouflage that caught their attention. It was the man chosen to march at the head of the parade, Gen. Moisés García Ochoa, who by tradition typically becomes the country’s next minister of defense. The Obama administration had many concerns about the general, including the Drug Enforcement Administration’s suspicion he had links to drug traffickers and the Pentagon’s anxiety he had misused military supplies and skimmed money from the multimillion-dollar defense contracts. In the days leading up to Mexico’s presidential inauguration on Dec. 01, the United States ambassador to Mexico, Anthony Wayne, met with senior aides to President Peña Nieto to express alarm at the general’s possible promotion. That back-channel communication provides a rare glimpse into United States government’s deep involvement in Mexican security affairs, especially as Washington sizes up Mr. Peña Nieto, who is just 2 months into a six-year term. American role in a Mexican cabinet pick also highlights the tensions and mistrust between the governments despite proclamations of cooperation and friendship. “When it comes to Mexico, you have to accept you’re going to dance with the devil,” said a former senior D.E.A. official, who requested anonymity because he works in the private sector in Mexico. “You can’t just fold your cards and go home because you can’t find people you completely trust. You play with cards you’re dealt.” A former senior Mexican intelligence official expressed similar misgivings about American officials. “The running complaint on Mexican side is that relationship with United States is unequal and unbalanced,” said former official, who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke anonymously to discuss a diplomatic and security exchanges. “Mexico is open with its secrets. The United States is not. So there’s a lot of resentment. And there’s always incentive to try to stick it to Americans.” Washington’s concerns about General García Ochoa, which several officials cautioned were not confirmed, come as both governments grasp for new ways to stem illegal flows of drugs, guns and money across their borders. Under Peña Nieto’s predecessor, Felipe Calderón, a cooperation between the 2 governments had expanded in ways once considered unthinkable, with American and Mexican agents conducting coordinated operations that resulted in capture or killing of several dozen important cartel leaders. But while Washington highlighted record numbers of arrests, stepped-up campaign created a wave of violence in Mexico that left some 60.000 people dead. Devastating death toll has Mr. Peña Nieto, 46, a former governor, promising to move his country’s fight against the organized crime in a different direction, focusing more on reducing violence than on detaining drug kingpins. But he has so far offered only vague details of his security plans, focusing instead on social and economic programs (…..)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/world/americas/us-stepped-in-to-halt-mexican-generals-rise.html


Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

2 Responses to Hand of U.S. Is Seen in Halting General’s Rise in Mexico

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Let’s face it. It is impossible for Mexico, or even Canada, to take independent decisions from the US on national security matters in a post 9/11 world. The Bush-Obama national security doctrine supersedes Mexico’s ability to make independent decision on any area directly or indirectly related to US homeland security. It covers, de facto, the main areas of Mexican life such as the economy, finances, security-defense, cyber space and foreign relations. The questions are: Does that form of integration serves Mexico’s national interest in the 21st century? Is there an alternative to it? or as the old saying goes: Mexico, too close to the US and too far from God still valid?


  2. Enrique Peña Nieto took over as Mexico’s president in December. In a SPIEGEL interview, he discusses his plans to fight poverty and drug violence and why Europe should take advantage of his country’s economic boom — Mr. President, more than 60,000 Mexicans have lost their lives in the drug war during the last six years. You have been in office for two months now. How do you propose to end the carnage? Peña Nieto: We must fight inequality and poverty if we want to re-establish peace and security. Seven million Mexicans live in extreme poverty, which is why I have launched a crusade against hunger. We also have to improve our educational system and stimulate economic growth (…..)



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