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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07MEXICO1815
2007-04-12 18:03:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Mexico
Cable title:  

MEXICO HOSTS PLAN PUEBLA-PANAMA SUMMIT

Tags:   PREL  MX  PGOV 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 001815 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/10/2017
TAGS: GOV PREL MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO HOSTS PLAN PUEBLA-PANAMA SUMMIT

Classified By: CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL MINISTER COUNSELOR CHARLES V. BA
RCLAY, JR. FOR REASONS: 1.4 (B/D)



1. (C) Summary: Leaders from seven Central American
nations, plus Colombia, met with Mexican President Felipe
Calderon in Campeche April 9-10 for a two day summit aimed at
revitalizing the long-stagnant Plan Puebla Panama (PPP), a
regional development initiative proposed by former President
Vicente Fox in 2001. Also attending were the governors of
eight of the nine southern and central Mexican states which
are involved in the PPP. At the summit, the participants
agreed to strengthen the PPP's institutions as well as to
promote its goal of greater economic and social development
in the region. The leaders recommitted themselves -- at
least on paper -- to moving forward with a plan to build an
oil refinery in Central America, as well as to pursue
bioenergy sources, with Colombian assistance. They also
agreed to further regional infrastructure development,
including a regional "information highway," the improvement
of roads and border crossings, and the connection of
electrical grids internationally. The summit demonstrated
that the Calderon administration is serious about its desire
to play a larger role in Latin America than Mexico has in the
recent past. End summary.

Calderon Seeks to Retake Leadership Role in Region


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (U) Both in remarks made to participating Mexican
governors before the summit and to his fellow heads of state,
Calderon emphasized his administration's determination to
develop closer relations with Latin America. In a private
meeting with the governors, he reportedly said "It's time
also to look to our roots, to our identity, to the south of
the continent. It's time to become closer with our Latin
American brothers, especially the Central Americans." To the
visiting heads of state he said: "My government is determined
to pursue a Latin American agenda that seeks to link Mexico
more closely with Central America, the Caribbean and South
America."



3. (SBU) Much of the summit's final communique focused on
somewhat vague measures intended to strengthen the PPP's
institutional mechanisms. For example, the communique
mentioned creating channels to facilitate cooperation between
the members' foreign ministries and each country's lead
official on PPP. The leaders also agreed to harmonize the
PPP with the Central American Integration System. They also
invited UN agencies, the OAS, the OECD, and the European
Union to contribute ideas to the PPP agenda. They called for
the creation of two advisory councils, one focused on
economic development and the other on social development, to
define the PPP's priorities, with input from private sector

representatives. Among the priorities will be border
enhancements, infrastructure, transportation, renewable
energy, telecommunications, education, improved access to
potable water, sustainable forestry, and attention to natural
phenomena such as climate change.

Broadening PPP's Membership


--------------------------





4. (SBU) Notwithstanding the opposition of Nicaragua,
reportedly arising out of a territorial dispute with
Colombia, the summit participants agreed to admit Colombia as
a full PPP member. The participants also agreed to admit
Ecuador and the Dominican Republic as observers. In fact,
Colombia seemed to enjoy favorable consideration at the
summit, with Calderon holding a well-publicized bilateral
meeting with visiting President Alvaro Uribe. In their
bilateral meeting, Calderon and Uribe agreed that the
Mexico-Colombia Bilateral Committee on Cooperation Against
Illegal Trade in Narcotics and Psychotropic Drugs would meet
soon to restructure itself. Mexico agreed with the leaders
of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that a
counter-narcotics plan should be prepared and presented to
the USG for support.

Security an Issue


--------------------------





5. (SBU) Security was clearly one of the main points of
discussion, although accounts differ on how much progress was
made. Tabasco State Governor Andres Granier, speaking on

MEXICO 00001815 002 OF 003


behalf of the Mexican governors participating in the summit,
reportedly requested a stronger Mexican military presence
along the country's southern border to control illegal
immigration from Central America. The national leaders
agreed to organize cooperative efforts to fight drug
trafficking and other organized crime, especially along their
shared borders, including through information sharing. They
reportedly also concurred that progress in the fight against
drug trafficking required a greater commitment of USG
resources.



6. (C) Although he did not personally attend the summit,
Gustavo Mohar, the Deputy Director of Mexico's intelligence
agency (CICEN), told poloff that he had heard from Mexican
attendees that the Central American leaders gave the
impression of being absolutely overwhelmed by their
countries' security woes, including narcotics, gangs, lack of
resources, and the degraded nature of their own security
infrastructure. But although they were focused on the
problem, they demonstrated no strategic sense of where to go
from here, and Mohar doubts they are prepared at this point
to prepare a considered request for assistance. Although
they referred to their upcoming meeting with President Bush,
they gave no indication of what specifically they planned to
raise with POTUS on the security front.



7. (C) In a meeting with visiting CODEL Thompson yesterday
(septel), Mexican Secretary of Government Ramirez Acuna twice
referred to the Campeche summit. He noted the importance of
bringing Central America into our own security thinking,
cited arms flows into the region as particularly troubling
and said the U.S., Canada and Mexico together have to make a
better investment in the region through infrastructure
development, increased trade, etc. Mexican SRE officials we
spoke with yesterday said they would be prepared to discuss
the summit in greater detail in the days ahead.

Mixed Signals on Energy


--------------------------





8. (C) While the Central American leaders at the summit
announced that they would "re-launch efforts to construct a
Central American refinery" proposed by President Fox in 2005,
in fact, the project remains moribund. Early in March 2007,
President Calderon told Central American leaders privately
that despite the Fox administration's commitment to provide
230,000 barrels per day of Mayan crude for the proposed
facility at a price to be set annually, Mexico could now only
commit to provide 80,000 barrels per day. Without a
guaranteed crude supply at a well-defined price, it would be
very difficult for refiners to operate the proposed refinery
profitably. Furthermore, the Pemex official responsible for
the project told us that of the four refiners that expressed
interest in the project, only one was seriously working on a
bid. Moreover, we understand that a well-placed GOM contact
stated he suspects the GOM does not plan to invest any money
in the refinery, implying perhaps that it simply has
committed to providing a reduced quantity of oil in order to
avoid blame for the proposal's demise. Accordingly, despite
the rhetoric from leaders, a Mesoamerican refinery is still
very unlikely.



9. (U) Summit participants agreed to further cooperation on
bioenergy and other renewable energy sources, with Colombia
offering to share its expertise on the former with PPP
members. They agreed to expedite the process of connecting
their electric grids, and in particular to take preliminary
measures to connect the Colombian and Panamanian grids.

U.S. Out of Sight But Not Out of Mind


--------------------------





10. (U) According to press reports, the summit participants
called on the U.S. Congress to approve an immigration reform
package that protected the rights of migrants. The final
summit communique also urged the U.S. Congress to approve
pending free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama.

Comment: We've Heard This Song Before


--------------------------





11. (C) Mesoamerican integration has of course been a theme
for generations and based simply on the communiques issued in
Campeche, it's far too soon to conclude that this effort to

MEXICO 00001815 003 OF 003


revitalize PPP will bring any greater results than the
numerous past efforts. Indeed, the contradictory signals on
the proposed Central American refinery suggests that the
historic gap between rhetoric and reality remains wide. What
the Campeche summit does demonstrate, however, is that the
Calderon administration is serious about playing a leadership
role in the region and that Central and South America will
take on heightened importance in the administration's foreign
policy.


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