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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06MEXICO6820
2006-12-07 22:07:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Mexico
Cable title:  

MEXICO: REVIEW FOR SUSPENSION OF TITLE III OF

Tags:   CU  ETRD  ETTC  PREL  MX 
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VZCZCXRO9593
OO RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #6820/01 3412207
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 072207Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4507
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA IMMEDIATE 0079
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 006820 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CCA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CU ETRD ETTC PREL MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO: REVIEW FOR SUSPENSION OF TITLE III OF
LIBERTAD ACT

REF: STATE 191752

-------
Summary
-------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 006820

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CCA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CU ETRD ETTC PREL MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO: REVIEW FOR SUSPENSION OF TITLE III OF
LIBERTAD ACT

REF: STATE 191752

--------------
Summary
--------------


1. (U) Post supports continued waiver of Title III provisions
of the Libertad Act for Mexico. The Mexican International
Development Bank has begun the process of recovering debt
from Cuba. Mexico's exports to Cuba have decreased slightly
in 2006 while imports increased over 250 percent. Relations
under the previous administration were turbulent and
President Calderon will likely try to improve affairs,
however, Mexico continues to promote respect for human rights
in Cuba and in the region. End Summary.

--------------
MEXICAN INVESTMENT IN CUBA
--------------


2. (SBU) The Havana branch of the Mexican International
Development Bank, BANCOMEXT, has been closed since 2005. The
Bank of Cuba and other entities on the island still have
approximately 325 million USD in outstanding Mexican debt.
In April, BANCOMEXT won a settlement of 35 million USD from
the Bank of Cuba in an Italian Court. BANCOMEXT is looking
into using European courts to recover more of the debt.

--------------
BILATERAL TRADE AGREEMENTS
--------------


3. (U) In July 2002 Mexico and Cuba entered into a
Complementary Economic Agreement (ACE-51). ACE's are similar
to Free Trade Agreements, but only include some sectors. In
2001, Mexico and Cuba signed an Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreement (APRI). No new agreements have been
signed in recent years.


4. (U) Mexico has seen a 25 percent decrease in its trade
balance with Cuba for the first 3 quarters of 2006. From
January to September 2006, Mexican exports to Cuba were USD
150 million while imports from Cuba were USD 38 million.
Though the trade balance is still quite healthy at USD 112
million to date, this represents a 9 percent decrease in
exports and a 253 percent increase in imports over the same
period in 2005. Comment: Cuba's increased exports may be a
one-time event. Half of Cuban investment is located in the
provinces of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatan, mostly in
the hotel and fishing industries. The large increase in

imports from Cuba is likely related to investments to fix
damages caused by Hurricanes Wilma. End Comment.

--------------
Exchange Programs Between Mexico and Cuba
--------------


4. (SBU) According to Ricardo Dominguez, the Secretariat of
Foreign Relations (SRE) Director for Cuban, Haitian and
Dominican affairs, there are no official exchange programs
between Mexico and Cuba. Medical travel to Cuba is usually
paid for by individual travelers. From time to time, groups
of Cuban teachers work on literacy programs in marginalized
areas of Mexico.

--------------
Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in Cuba
--------------


5. (SBU) GOM officials continue to insist that Mexico prefers
to use multilateral fora to discuss human rights issues with
Cuba (or other countries), rather than engage the GOC
one-on-one. The Mexican Embassy in Cuba eschews engaging
with Cuban dissidents or human rights activists, which it
believes could be construed as interfering in Cuba's internal
affairs. Although the two governments coordinate migration
policies, to date they have not reached a formal migration
accord. During the past six months, President Fox on at
least one occasion publicly called for the Government of Cuba
to adhere more strictly to international human rights
standards and to permit a more open and democratic political
system to develop. Mexican relations with Cuba were
turbulent during the Fox administration. Recently
inaugurated President Felipe Calderon has said that he will
seek a more constructive and less confrontational
relationship with Cuba than prevailed under the Fox
administration. Nevertheless, we do not expect the new
administration to overlook the issue of human rights on the

MEXICO 00006820 002 OF 002


island. Shortly before assuming office, Calderon's Secretary
of Foreign Relations, Patricia Espinosa Cantellano,
acknowledged that Cuba suffered from "a difficult human
rights situation, that there are problems that should be
addressed, which explains why this subject is brought before
international fora."

--------------
Diplomatic Visits
--------------


6. (SBU) Since the August 10, 2005, appointment of Jose
Ignacio Pina Rojas as Mexico's Ambassador to Cuba, Mexico has
had an Ambassador resident in Havana. There have been no
ministerial level visits to Cuba in the past six months.
Mexico was represented at the recent Non-Aligned Movement
summit held in Havana by diplomats resident in Havana, and
did not send a delegation from Mexico City.

--------------
Comment
--------------


7. (SBU) Post strongly supports continued waiver of Title III
provisions of the Libertad Act. Implementing such provisions
will make it harder for Mexico to support human rights
advances in Cuba as well as weaken international condemnation
of Cuban human rights violations, by adding another
polarizing factor to the debate.


Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity
BASSETT