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Ouster of U.S. ambassador to Mexico continues to reverberate


Several days have passed since the U.S. government announced it was removing its ambassador in Mexico City, and still the tongues are wagging.

Pascual fell victim in part to WikiLeaks' disclosures of secret diplomatic cables that offered frank if uncomfortable assessments of how the Mexican government was waging its drug war. In the cables, Pascual or his staff described Mexico's army as "risk averse" and government security services as being hampered by internal squabling. One described the ruling party's uninspiring candidates for major offices.

President Felipe Calderon, furious, said during a recent trip to Washington that it would be hard to work with Pascual, and over this past weekend, the ambassador was out.

Mexico's three major political parties basically said good riddance, demanding that the next ambassador be more respectful (video in Spanish). Calderon's office and the Foreign Ministry hastened to say that bilateral relations remained strong.

But political commentators and columnists had a slightly different take.

Calderon "finally achieved what he wanted: kill the messenger," wrote Denise Dresser in Reforma (link in Spanish, registration required).

"Obtain the resignation of Carlos Pascual for having made the president uncomfortable by pointing out the negative consequences of the war that he unleashed. ... For telling the truth although it hurts to recognize it. Truth that the president does not want to face...."

Pascual, a career diplomat considered to possess a keen intellect, arrived in Mexico in the middle of 2009. He was highly visible and active from the start, and is widely credited with tightening security and intelligence cooperation between the two countries. And sometimes his public comments, like the private ones, stung.

It didn't help Pascual's case that he was also very publicly dating the daughter of a prominent opposition politician. They popped up on occasion in the society pages, and the politician, Francisco Rojas, was among a small group invited to the ambassador's residence for a Thanksgiving celebration, according to people who were present.

 -- Cecilia Sanchez in Mexico City

Photo: Carlos Pascual's public comments, like his private ones, sometimes stung. Credit: El Universal




Comments () | Archives (13)

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Very well said!

George Omigoshian
Get a grip on reality!!

This reminds me of Marlon Brando's old movie "The Ugly American" released back in the 1960s about an American ambassador. The title says it all.

American arrogance, especially about the Nixonian war on drugs being waged in Mexico, can raise diplomatic hackles and incense nationalistic sensitivities in Mexico City.

The attitude is: you should be more grateful for the hundreds of millions of yankee dollars we've poured into your military and federal police... and you don't always follow our orders. Get on the ball, Mexico. Shape up.

A first! Mexican political corruption reaches its tentacles into domestic US affairs!

"Talented and highly respected diplomat"? Pascual acted like a proconsul, not an ambassador. Arrogant and narcissisitic, he loved being on television and on the front page. Good riddance to a publicity hound.

Again we see the bitter fruits WIKILEAKS has spawned. Thanks to them the U.S. has lost a talented and highly respected diplomat.

One of the wealthiest families in Canada, the Bronfmans, made their money exporting booze to the US during prohibition. This is all documented in a book called The Bronfman Dynasty, by Peter C. Newman, published in 1978.

The US WAR-ON-DRUGS is creating the family dynasties that will own South and Central America for the next 100-200 years. Clever, NOT!

But more specifically, as to the US Ambassador to Mexico; the US has a domestic drug problem. They've decided prohibition will work THIS TIME. They ask their neighbour, Mexico, to deal with it by restricting drug flow into the US. The US Amb then criticises Mexico for not doing enough! Mexico tells him to take a hike. And the US blames Wikileaks for revealing this stupid US policy and a stupid US Amb determined to enforce it!

Does the US take any responsibility?

The US Drug Problem is domestic, fix it at home. Don't ask your neighbours to solve your problems.

As with prohibition in the 20-30's it is obvious what needs to be done. If there is not the courage to do it, that is not Mexico's fault.


Never a good idea to have a close relationship with a national of a foreign nation in which you are serving as a diplomat, especially the relative of a prominent host country politician. Pillow talk can easily find it's way to the wrong ears, compromising our security. Basic operations security.
As for what the good Ambassador wrote in what were expected to be private communications, too bad if Mexican leaders are offended. I would have kept the Ambassador in place as a standing rapproach to their corrupt ways.

Great job Obama. This is the same as trying to shut down the righs' voice.
Since when does a country tell the U.S. who we need as an ambassador.
Just plain stupid!

This article points out how one sided Carlos Pascual's stinging commenta were. If this career diplomat was going to wage a war of barbs aimed at the leaders and the army of Mexico, he might have kept his credebility in tact had he balanced his truthfulness with the other side of the coin. There is absolutely no mention of Mexico's need for a war on the drug cartels due to the unmistakable white elephant in the room, namely America's voracious apetite for illegal drugs. Had he put the blame where it belongs on the millions of American "casual users" of drugs he might have saved his position. At least from the standpoint of Mexico. Unfortunately, Carlos Pascual would have made many very powerful enemies in this country among the the users who would then be calling for his head. First and foremost among these Coke users is Mr. Barack Obama himself. So, if any person out there is hoping for any kind of breakthrough
against the cartels while Obama is in office he can forget it. Its not going to happen so long as a user of cocaine is in the whitehouse.

When will the American public ever learn?? Whoever speaks the truth in this Administration gets tossed to the sharks... Boy-Obama could have said to Calderon, "His assessment is correct and we're sticking by him...". That would have been impossible with this President. That would've taken leadership...

I suggest former UN Ambassador John Bolton. He would tell the Mexican government what he thinks instead of writing it in secret cables.

a small readjustment in apparatchiks,no damage. however the insight gained
justifies a wikileaks.the tensions of a so called "drug war" competely USA serving is unhinging relations.

This is very much like when Bush fired the Ambassador to Turkey for acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. So what if a million and a half Armenians were murdered by the Turks? The Turks are our allies. Look how they have helped us by preventing us from using our bases in Turkey during the Iraqi War. Look how they still refuse to allow humanitarian flights in their airspace if they are for Armenia. I'm sure it's the same in Mexico, they depend on their drug cartels and don't want the U.S. to stop the drug commerce. Too many Mexican leaders are making lots of money off the cartels.


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