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WikiLeaks on Latin America: U.S. ambassador to Mexico speaks out

December 3, 2010 | 11:08 am

6a00d8341c630a53ef013489b5ca74970c Carlos Pascual, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, is clearly not happy to see the WikiLeaks disclosure of diplomatic cables. While not confirming the authenticity of the missives, Pascual tells The Times that they do not represent U.S. policy and should be viewed as "impressionistic snapshots of a moment in time."

"But like some snapshots, they can be out of focus or unflattering," Pascual said in comments e-mailed to us Thursday night. "Collectively, however, they also show U.S. diplomats doing what they are supposed to do -- engaging with governments and societies around the world to advance our shared interests."

The cables revealed an assessment of President Felipe Calderon's war on drug cartels that contrasts sharply with the official view repeated by U.S. and Mexican leaders. U.S. diplomats write that rivalries among Mexican security agencies and tensions between the army and navy all work to hobble the government's efforts. Here is The Times' story, and here is a good summary of the cables in La Plaza.

"Confidentiality is fundamental to do business in virtually any sector -- whether it’s in banking, law, journalism, medicine, education or diplomacy," Pascual added. "Attacks on confidentiality -- on the ability to communicate freely -- will threaten our jobs, our ability to resolve problems, and the impetus for creativity in our societies."

Pascual said that "no illegal act" would undermine the "rock-solid" relationship between Mexico and the United States. The Mexican Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, released a statement (link in Spanish) that, while saving most of its scolding for WikiLeaks, added that the cables "reflect certain deplorable practices, from the perspective of the respect that should reign between nations collaborating on common goals."

-- Tracy Wilkinson in Mexico City

Photo: Carlos Pascual. Credit: El Universal