WASHINGTON–U.S.-Mexican relations suffered “serious damage” due to U.S. diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said in remarks published Friday by the Washington Post. “It caused serious damage. That’s the truth. Of course, I am able to work with the American administration and with the American president and with the American Congress. Actually, not only do I need to do (that), I also want to,” he said. Calderon, who met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday, took aim at cables by U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual in his remarks. Asked if confidence in Pascual had been lost, Calderon responded: “It’s difficult to build and it’s easy to lose.” He said whether he could continue to work with Pascual was a question “that maybe I will talk (about) with President Obama.” The classified cables depict the Mexican military leadership as unprepared when Calderon decided to deploy thousands of soldiers in a bloody crackdown on drug trafficking in December 2006. In one of the cables, Pascual criticizes the fact that the Mexican navy had been able to capture a top drug trafficker with information provided by the United States that the Mexican army had not acted on. At a press conference with Obama on Thursday, Calderon emphasized that the Mexican security forces and the army had lost “thousands” of men and he thanked his host for recognizing it. “It’s difficult if suddenly you are seeing the courage of the army (questioned),” Calderon told the Post. “For instance, they have lost probably 300 soldiers … and suddenly somebody in the American embassy, they (say) the Mexican soldiers aren’t brave enough.” “Or you decide to play the game that they are not coordinated enough, and suddenly start to bring information to one agency and not to the other and try to get them to compete.”
Pascual was included in the list of participants in the meeting between Obama and Calderon, a senior U.S. official said Thursday on condition of anonymity in a conference call with reporters. He said the ambassador was doing a “tremendous” job of defending U.S. and Mexican interests. At their meeting Thursday, Calderon and Obama agreed to intensify cooperation in the war against drug cartels.