Mexico: Calder贸n tries to “isolate” Venezuela

Mexican president Felipe Calder贸n has been advising the US on how to fight the influence of leftist Venezuelan president Hugo Ch谩vez, according to a secret Oct. 23, 2009 US embassy cable that was made public by WikiLeaks on Dec. 2, 2010. During a meeting on Oct. 19, 2009 with US national intelligence director Dennis Blair, Calder贸n “emphasized that…Hugo Ch谩vez is active everywhere, including Mexico,” the embassy reported. “Calderon also commented that he is particularly concerned about Venezuela’s relations with Iran, and that the Iranian embassy in Mexico is very active.”

“The region needs a visible US presence, [Calder贸n] noted.” The most important thing was for the US to be “ready to engage the next Brazilian president,” who takes office in 2011. According to Calder贸n, Brazil “is key to restraining Ch谩vez, but he lamented that President [Luiz In谩cio] Lula [da Silva] has been reluctant to do so. The US needs to engage Brazil more and influence its outlook.” Calder贸n has been trying to do his part in countering Ch谩vez: according to the cable, he “said that Mexico is trying to isolate Venezuela through the Rio Group,” an organization of 23 Latin American and Caribbean nations.

Calder贸n said he believed Ch谩vez funded the 2006 presidential campaign of Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador, the left-center candidate who narrowly missed beating Calder贸n according to the official results, which many Mexicans consider fraudulent. (El Pa铆s, Madrid, Dec. 2; La Jornada, Mexico, Dec. 3) Shortly after the cable was made public on Dec. 2, L贸pez Obrador wrote in his Twitter account: “I demand that this compulsive liar Calder贸n demonstrate that Ch谩vez financed our 2006 campaign.” (El Universal, Mexico City, Dec. 2)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 5.

See our last post on Mexico and WikiLeaks.