Carlos Pascual: Victim of the “Wikileaks issue”

Ambassador Pascual

The leak of diplomatic cables issued by the American ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, has led to his resignation according to reports by The New York Times and Los Angeles Times.


The Cuban-born Pascual (expert in failed states), called the Mexican army “risk averse” and pointed out the existence of interagency rivalries.


In other cable, published by Wikileaks, Pascual described the political prospects of President Calderón’s conservative National Action Party in next year’s presidential vote as “bleak.”

 Ambassador Pascual and President Calderon

President Calderón said he was particularly perturbed by Mr. Pascual’s comments he interpreted as implying “Mexican soldiers aren’t brave enough”.


Some political analysts have said that the leaked cables from Mr. Pascual and other American officials — describing bureaucratic snags and fears of cartel control of Juárez — reflected what could already be found in Mexican news accounts.


Others, such as the historian Lorenzo Meyer, have pointed out that Mexican presidents often attack the American ambassador when they feel pressured by the United States. Since gunmen killed an American agent outside of Mexico City last month, that pressure has increased, according to American and Mexican officials. Mr. Pascual is one of the most senior officials yet to be transferred in the wake of a WikiLeaks release. The American ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, was withdrawn in January after cables were published in which he detailed idiosyncrasies of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Damien Cave[1] for The New York Times.


Mr. Pascual’s resignation was announced by Secretary of State Clinton, who expressed he had “collaborated tirelessly with his Mexican counterparts” on issues including energy, trade, human rights and the two nations’ shared fight against drug cartels.

Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Pascual


In addition to the leaked cables, which many neutral observers viewed as largely accurate, Pascual raised eyebrows by dating the daughter of Francisco Rojas, a ranking legislator from the main opposition party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or “PRI”. The party appears in a strong position to retake the presidency next year after 12 years of National Action Party rule. Ken Ellingwood[2] for Los Angeles Times.


I can only add Mr. Pascual should not have resigned for the remarks he made confidentially, through diplomatic documents intended to be seen only by U.S. officials.  He reported the situation as it is, which is what an ambassador must do at all times.


People who believe Pascual’s replacement will stop reporting the scarcity of effectiveness in the battle against organized crime by Mexican agencies and institutions, are clearly mistaken.


March 22nd, 2011.




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