Saturday, February 18, 2012

U.S. says, "we're staying out;" Calderón says, "fight for security must continue"

Washington doesn't care who wins, says State Dept's. Public Affairs office

Earlier this week Michael Hammer, the U.S. State Dept.'s Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, met with foreign press representatives in Washington. According to his official biography, Hammer is an experienced Latin American diplomat, has lived in Central and South America, speaks fluent Spanish and holds a degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. The latter credential alone makes him -- in my unbiased opinion, and irrespective of the fact that I graduated from the same school -- an expert on international relations :) Anyway . . .

Hammer apparently called Latin journalists together just to emphasize that the U.S. is not, nor has it been, in contact with any of Mexico's 2012 presidential candidates in advance of the July 1 election. Hammer did say that the U.S. has enjoyed "close cooperation" in the past with the three major Mexican political parties -- PAN, PRI and PRD -- and that it hopes for the same in the future, regardless of who becomes the country's next president. He added that the Obama administration, like George W. Bush's before, is a close ally of the Felipe Calderón government, and remains committed to working with it diligently until the Mexican president's last day in office (Nov. 30, 2012), especially with respect to the drug war, narcotics trafficking and other issues of mutual concern.

Hammer's meeting with the press was last Monday (Feb. 13). Maybe the timing was purely coincidental, or maybe it was designed to throw cold water on Enrique Peña Nieto's very public complaint -- made just a few days earlier -- that there is an "international smear campaign" underway to discredit PRI, by linking it to Mexico's long organized crime history ( Perhaps the Obama team wanted the PRI nominee to chill just a bit, in case they have to deal with him for the next several years, which is a very real possibility. I wonder why some U.S. senators are not quite as sensitive to staying out of Mexico's internal politics . . . (

On an unrelated note, Calderón held a televised town hall meeting today, at which one of his obviously loyal supporters asked him what would happen "now, with a new president on the way." Replied Calderón, "I hope that whoever comes after me, be it a presidenta or a president, will be able, and truly will want, to remain committed to (the goal of) basic security. I believe that the priority (for Mexico) must be security." Well said, Mr. President.

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