The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico has resigned his post over a series of Wikileaks cables that criticise President Felipe Calderon’s drug war strategy, the New York Times reports. The ambassador, Carlos Pascual, appears to be one of the first high-level Wikileaks casualties in the U.S. diplomatic corps.
Tensions between Pascual and Calderon escalated last week after Wikileaks released yet another U.S. diplomatic cable from Pascual, this one highlighting major “inefficiencies and deficiencies” in Mexico’s fight against the drug cartels.
From the cable, dated November 11, 2009:
“President Calderon’s security strategy lacks an effective intelligence apparatus to produce high quality information and targeted operations. Embassy officers working with the GOM report that Mexico’s use of strategic and tactical intelligence is fractured, ad hoc, and reliant on U.S. support….
Recent criticism of President Calderon’s security strategy cites a poorly utilized and underdeveloped intelligence apparatus as a key obstacle to greater improvements in the country’s security environment. Calderon’s political opponents from both the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) have told Poloff that large-scale joint military-police counterdrug deployments, notably Joint Operation Chihuahua, have failed to make real gains in the war against organised crime due to a reliance on overwhelming numerical superiority of troops absent the strategic and operational use of intelligence.”
Although Pascual’s remarks didn’t come as a surprise given the escalating violence of the drug war, the Mexican government expressed outrage over the revelations. President Felipe Calderon called for Pascual’s resignation, accusing the diplomat of exaggerating Mexico’s security problems and fueling animosity between the country’s disparate security agencies.
Pascual’s resignation is unlikely to have any major effect on Calderon’s popularity, the Financial Times reports. Polls indicate most Mexicans are increasingly unconvinced that Calderon’s forceful approach to fighting the drug cartels is working.