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Viewing cable 09MONTERREY284, MILITARY PRESENCE NO PANACEA FOR NUEVO LEON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MONTERREY284 2009-07-27 13:01 2011-02-10 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Monterrey
Appears in these articles:
http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/02/10/index.php?section=politica&article=006n1pol
VZCZCXRO7213
RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHMC #0284/01 2081355
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 271355Z JUL 09
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3839
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 4910
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USNORTHCOM
RUEABND/DEA HQ WASHDC
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 9433
218302
2009-07-27 13:55:00
09MONTERREY284
Consulate Monterrey
CONFIDENTIAL
08MONTERREY390|09MONTERREY242|09MONTERREY250
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DE RUEHMC #0284/01 2081355
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 271355Z JUL 09
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3839
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 4910
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USNORTHCOM
RUEABND/DEA HQ WASHDC
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 9433

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTERREY 000284 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/27/2019 
TAGS: KCRM CASC PHUM PINS SNAR ASEC PGOV MX
SUBJECT: MILITARY PRESENCE NO PANACEA FOR NUEVO LEON 
 
REF: A)  2008 MONTERREY 390,  B) MONTERREY 250, C) MONTERREY 242 
 
MONTERREY 00000284  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Bruce Williamson, Consul General, Monterrey, 
State. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 
1.  (C)  Summary.  Drug traffickers are continuing their 
campaign of intimidation against the publishers and staff of 
Northern Mexico's leading dealing newspaper - El Norte.  El 
Norte leadership has reached out to local army commanders as the 
threats come in, but as the military is not set up to provide 
protective police services it has not always been able to 
respond in a timely manner.  Meanwhile, military commanders find 
that as their troops collect intel and provide necessary 
firepower in anti-drug enforcement raids, their institution 
becomes enmeshed in the day-to-day violence on the street.  The 
unreliable nature of the state/local police and the inability of 
the military to fully fill that void have left the public 
wondering who it can call upon when it is threatened.  End 
summary. 
 
The Challenge Facing El Norte 
-------------------------------------- 
2.   (U)  On July 22, Consul General met with Alejandro Junco de 
la Vega Sr. and his son, Alejandro Junco de la Vega Jr., key 
shareholders in Grupo Reforma.  Grupo Reforma is the largest 
print media company in Mexico and Latin America.  It publishes 9 
daily newspapers in 4 cities, including the leading newspapers 
in Mexico's 3 largest cities.  In Monterrey, Grupo Reforma 
publishes "El Norte," Northern Mexico's leading daily newspaper. 
 In June, the Columbia School of Journalism had bestowed its 
annual journalism award upon Junco de la Vega Sr. for his 
lifelong commitment to reporting. 
 
3.  (C)  In 2008, due to a continuing series of threats from the 
drug cartels, see Ref A, both father and son and their families 
relocated temporarily to Texas, although the two return to 
Monterrey often to oversee newspaper operations.  The elder 
Junco de la Vega noted that while they had been able to 
accomplish the delicate task of dismissing one of their 
reporters who they discovered was working for the cartels - this 
reporter subsequently took another job with a prominent local 
television outlet - the struggle to maintain the newspaper as an 
independent voice was continuing.  Junco Sr. stated that in 
Monterrey the Zetas focused on El Norte reporting on cartel 
activity because press coverage was a necessary first step for 
civil society to demand a more effective law enforcement 
response.  Military action and civic protests were important 
too, he said, but to solve the problem the press needed to bring 
it to the citizenry's attention; in contrast, cartel bosses 
preferred to go about their business with as little publicity as 
possible. 
 
3.  (C)  Threats from the Zetas had subsided, the Juncos 
observed, until El Norte decided to host an in-house luncheon 
meeting with local military commanders to discuss the overall 
situation.  Although to lower the public profile of the event 
the commanders had, at El Norte's request, arrived in civilian 
clothes, as was their usual practice they brought with them four 
truckloads of soldiers to ensure security.  Since that time, 
harassment from the Zetas has increased.  Junco Jr. stated that: 
 
--- an El Norte reporter who had written a story on anti-drug 
checkpoints had been kidnapped for five hours in the neighboring 
community of Santa Catarina, during which time she was beaten 
and threatened with rape/death. 
---  the hawkers who sold the newspaper at key intersections in 
Santa Catarina had been forcibly driven off the streets. 
---  a dead body had been dumped on the Junco's family ranch 
south of the city. 
--- a day camp the family had contemplated opening at the ranch 
had been the subject of phone calls threatening violence/death 
if bribes were not paid. 
 
4.  (C)  Junco Sr. noted that while the army had been a key 
participant in the recent arrests of narco-corrupted police in 
the Monterrey region, ref B, the military suffered from the same 
fractures and pressures as every other element within the 
Mexican law enforcement community.  While public approval of the 
army's performance was high, the military still needed to be 
wary of corruption and ineptitude within its ranks.  For 
instance, Junco Jr. noted, when the day camp threats came in, 
the family telephoned the military for immediate assistance, 
given that the caller had stated that a vehicle with armed 
assailants was nearby and waiting.  Seven hours later they 
received a return phone call. 
 
5.  (C)  The principal advantage the military enjoyed in the war 
against the cartels, Junco Sr. declared, was not its 
institutional transparency or even greater tactical ability (as 
many of the Zetas themselves had previous military experience). 
The military had encountered success, he said, because it 
 
MONTERREY 00000284  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
invariably could count on the element of surprise.  Because the 
soldiers were quartered on the cartels, the traffickers were 
unable to pressure them into revealing operational plans and 
methods. 
 
The Army's Point of View 
-------------------------------- 
6.  (SBU)  Earlier in the day, CG had met with General Luis 
Moreno Serrano, Commander of the Fourth Military Region (which 
comprises Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, and San Luis Potosi) and his 
number two, General Sergio Garcia - both officers with more than 
40 years of military experience.  During this conversation CG 
brought to their attention allegations of torture on the part of 
a U.S. citizen detained by the military for drug possession. 
See Ref C.  Clearly chagrined, General Moreno stated that it was 
not the army's policy to mistreat detainees and pledged that his 
staff would thoroughly investigate these charges.  Post will 
keep tabs on the local army command's inquiry into this case. 
 
7.  (C)  Moving beyond the specific allegations, Moreno noted 
that the military was institutionally unable to act as a 
substitute police force.  It could develop intel, he said, and 
mount enforcement actions based upon that information.  However, 
it did not have the resources to supplant civilian law 
enforcement (however flawed/corrupted civilian authorities might 
be) or patrol communities to make them safe.  For instance, 
Moreno declared, while the public perceived the recent string of 
arrests of narco-police as a military initiative, in  reality 
the impetus had come from the state government - all the 
military did was to provide the necessary firepower to deter a 
violent reaction from those arrested.  Even in his most 
conflictive state - Tamaulipas - when the cartels saw the 
military they ran because they knew that could not match their 
muscle, he observed. 
 
Comment 
------------- 
8.  (C)  The differing points of view of the Juncos and Moreno 
highlight one of the dilemmas facing the local citizenry:  when 
threatened, what institution can one call upon for protection? 
Or to ask the question another way, if the federal, state, and 
local police are unreliable and the military is 
resource-constrained and unavailable, who's left? 
WILLIAMSONB