Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

A state of insecurity

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on March 22, 2011

by Americas View – The Economist, March 22nd, 2011.

Nearly four months after the release of the first Wikileaks cables, it is surprising that the second ambassador to lose his job over the affair should be Carlos Pascual, Washington’s man in Mexico City. Mr Pascual, who had been in the job for little more than a year and a half, resigned on Saturday. Hillary Clinton, the United States’ secretary of state, said that he had stepped down “to avert issues raised by [Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón] that could distract from the important business of advancing our bilateral interests.” By that she meant Wikileaks.

The Mexico City cables were in fact milder than most. The only other ambassador to have been removed following the leaks so far is Gene Cretz, head of the embassy in Tripoli, whose cables detailed Muammar Qaddafi’s reliance on a “voluptuous” Ukrainian nurse and described his fear of flying and love of flamenco dancing. Diplomats in Ottawa wrote that Canadians “always carry a chip on their shoulder”, partly because they think their country “is condemned to always play ‘Robin’ to the U.S. ‘Batman’.” The ambassador there survived. By contrast, Mr Pascual’s missives were pretty dry.

But his frank assessments of Mexico’s misfiring drug war and the uninspiring senior members of Mr Calderón’s National Action Party (PAN) were apparently too much to bear. Mr Calderón had made clear for several weeks that he believed Mr Pascual should go, publicly criticising his “ignorance”. Some of the PAN’s would-be presidential candidates were deeply miffed by Mr Pascual’s private comment that they were mostly rather “grey”. Following Mr Pascual’s resignation the labour secretary, Javier Lozano, posted a sarcastic message on  Twitter: “How we will miss him. Pascual had such a good eye for evaluating the candidates of the PAN.” (continue reading… )


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