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Viewing cable 09MEXICO2676, MEXICO: PROMISING FIRST TALKS WITH SEDENA ON HUMAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MEXICO2676 2009-09-09 21:09 2010-12-02 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Mexico
VZCZCXRO1895
RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #2676/01 2522147
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 092147Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8187
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 002676 

SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR RESTREPO; DEPT FOR WHA DAS JACOBSON 
AND MEX OFFICE DIRECTOR LEE AND DSTAFF CUE. 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/08/2019 
TAGS: PREL MARR MASS PHUM PGOV PINR MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO: PROMISING FIRST TALKS WITH SEDENA ON HUMAN 
RIGHTS 

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado. 
Reason: 1.4 (b),(d) 

1. (c) Summary: DATT, ODC Chief, DOJ Attache and Pol MinCouns 
met with officials from the National Defense Secretariat 
(SEDENA) on September 7 to discuss initiating a human rights 
dialogue with the Mexican military that would allow us to 
understand the legal process in the Mexican system of 
military justice and clarify specific questions with regards 
to alleged violations. General Lopez Portillo, the Senior 
Human Rights official in SEDENA and a veteran military 
prosecutor, was the lead official on the Mexican side, 
accompanied by a Director General level representative from 
the Mexican Foreign Ministry (SRE). They welcomed the 
beginning of a dialogue with the Embassy on human rights 
matters and proposed regular senior formal meetings (he 
suggested 2-3 a year) as well as working level discussions to 
clarify specific cases. (A list of all participants is 
provided in para 7). 

--------------------------------------------- 
Willing to Talk but a Dialogue Will Take Work 
--------------------------------------------- 

2. (c) Although we previously had provided a list of specific 
questions on several cases involving alleged human rights 
violations through official SEDENA and SRE channels, and our 
meeting had been coordinated a month in advance through the 
SEDENA Protocol office (S2), Lopez Portillo did not receive 
our questions before the meeting. This was not an indication 
of SEDENA's unwillingness to discuss the cases, but rather 
reflects a lack of experience in engaging on the human rights 
topic and their somewhat rigid rules for transmitting 
information to and within the SEDENA bureaucracy. 

3. (c) Unaware of the questions we had provided on 
allegations related to the specific cases, General Lopez 
Portillo organized a general and open agenda for the meeting, 
aimed at facilitating an open and frank discussion on 
internal legal and judicial procedures within the Mexican 
military. Throughout the meeting, our Mexican interlocutors 
were well-disposed to answering our questions and 
establishing a collaborative dialogue. We noted our interest 
in reviewing the details of some specific cases as part of an 
ongoing dialogue on human rights issues that would allow us 
to understand better how SEDENA and the Mexican legal system 
handled crimes involving military personnel and civilians. We 
provided a copy of the questions we had provided prior to the 
meeting and suggested a follow-up meeting to go over the 
cases in more detail. 

------------------------------------ 
SEDENA AND SRE SUGGEST A WAY FORWARD 
------------------------------------ 

4. (c) SRE Director General for Human Rights and Democracy 
Alejandro Negrin agreed with Lopez Portillo that we should 
establish a formal and regular dialogue to discuss both the 
specific cases and larger framework of how the Mexican 
judicial system works in response to crimes involving 
military personnel and civilians. He noted relevant legal 
reforms and the ongoing effort by SEDENA to clarify its 
procedures and respond to responsible questions. Lopez 
Portillo noted SEDENA's interest in continuing to do more in 
this regard and was supportive of establishing a bi-lateral 
mechanism that would allow us to work together to help 
clarify allegations. He suggested formal senior level 
meetings several times a year, with working level meetings in 
between. 

5. (c) Lopez Portillo promised a timely written response to 
the written questions we had provided earlier. He also 
undertook to set up meetings to review military legal 
procedure, particularly with regard to crimes involving 
military and civilians. He suggested that we work closely 
and collaboratively to clarify procedures and outstanding 
allegations, many of which he observed, were designed to cast 
doubt and dispersion on the Mexican military and not to 
establish the truth. Both sides agreed that new questions 

MEXICO 00002676 002 OF 002 


about additional cases in the future should be provided 
through SRE channels with a courtesy copy given to SEDENA. 
The official response to specific cases would be delivered 
from SEDENA through the SRE. Lopez Portillo said that he was 
eager to work together with us to ensure that there would be 
a satisfactory response on all human rights allegations. 

------- 
COMMENT 
------- 

6. (c) Establishing a productive human rights dialogue with 
the Mexican military will take some work and considerable 
fine tuning. This is not an area that the Mexican military 
has traditionally discussed with any outsiders. While the 
Mexican military has made some progress in establishing 
mechanisms to review human rights allegations in response to 
internal constitutional reforms and Mexico's international 
obligations, it is still a delicate subject and one they are 
likely to manage cautiously and not always adroitly. We are 
encouraged by our initial meeting but much remains to be 
done. We will follow up promptly with SEDENA and SRE to set 
up our next meeting. Lopez Portillo provided repeated 
assurances that SEDENA is prepared to respond in writing -- 
supplemented by working level discussion to clarify any 
questions of procedure and translation -- to our questions on 
specific cases. We will also expand current training and 
subject matter expert exchanges that could help provide 
SEDENA with support in their efforts to address human rights 
issues in a more comprehensive and transparent way. 

------------ 
PARTICIPANTS 
------------ 

7. (c) The Mexican side was led by MG Jaime Lopez Portillo 
and included Col. J.J. Juarez, Section 5 DH, Ltc Marcas 
Burgos Legorretta, Section 5 DH, Major C.S. Lopez, and Ltc A. 
Santos, S-2 as well as Alejandro Negrin, the Director General 
of Human Rights and Democracy in the SRE. The U.S. side 
included Defense Attache Col. Dan Alabre; ODC Chief Col. 
Linwood Ham, Department of Justice Attache Tony Garcia and 
Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado. 
Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American 
Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap / 

PASCUAL