Saturday, December 25, 2010
Leaked cable: Mexican army sees 7-10 year role in drug war, mistrusts other agencies
A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable published Saturday depicts the leader of Mexico's army "lamenting" its lengthy role in the anti-drug offensive, but expecting it to last between seven and 10 more years.
The cable says Mexican Defence Secretary Gen. Guillermo Galvan Galvan mistrusts other Mexican law enforcement agencies and prefers to work separately, because corrupt officials had leaked information in the past.
The copy of the Oct. 26, 2009 cable describes a meeting between Mexico's top soldier and former U.S. national intelligence director Dennis Blair.
Mexico's Defence Department "runs the risk of losing public prestige and being criticized on human rights issues as its mandate is extended," the cable quotes the general as saying, "but he (Galvan Galvan) nevertheless expects the military to maintain its current role for the next 7 to 10 years. Galvan did suggest that increased U.S. intelligence assistance could shorten that time frame."
The cable published Saturday by The New York Times also quotes the general as saying that Mexico's army "would be willing to accept any training the U.S. (government) can offer," and noted that two Mexican army officers had been posted to the El Paso, Texas Intelligence Center, to speed the sharing of information.
Galvan Galvan is quoted in the cable as saying Mexican authorities are pursuing fugitive drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, but noted the capo moves between 10 to 15 locations to avoid arrest and has a security detail of up to 300 men.
The Mexican president's office was not immediately available for comment on the cable's release. Contacted about another cable earlier, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Lawrence Payne said the agency cannot comment about the WikiLeaks cable, because such cables are considered classified.
In a joint statement Saturday, the Defence Department and civilian law enforcement agencies said they were pursuing Guzman's Sinaloa cartel "equally intensely and systematically" as any of Mexico's other four major drug cartels.
More than 30,000 people have been killed in drug violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown against powerful cartels in late 2006.