Firing on U.S.
Embassy Vehicle Bodes Ill for Mexico Sovereignty (La Jornada, Mexico)
situation, which puts Mexico in a condition similar to that of a U.S.
protectorate, is extremely dangerous for the viability of our nation and its
institutions. One wonders to what degree diplomatic tensions and U.S.
interventionism might escalate if the fired-upon diplomatic vehicle was less
heavily armored, and in the event, resulted in fatalities. ... the federal
government should recognize the unacceptability of allowing and even
encouraging political, police, military and intelligence intervention of the U.S.
The back of a U.S. Embassy SUV that was carrying two CIA agents and one U.S. Marine to a nearby naval base, and that was fired upon by Mexican Federal Police, both uniformed and plainclothes. No one was killed. Mexicans fear that if there were fatalities, additional U.S. intervention in their country would likely have been the result.
Yesterday, during a meeting on security, Mexico President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa expressed deep sorrow about the events of
last Friday near the town of Tres Marías, where elements of the Federal Police
and plainclothes officers opened fire on a U.S. Embassy vehicle in Mexico that
carried two agents of the Central Intelligence Agency and a Marine. He said the
incident was under the utmost scrutiny and investigation by the office of the Attorney
Within this context, two elements of Calderon’s statement are
at odds: on the one hand, the presence at the meeting of U.S. Ambassador
Anthony Wayne, and on the other, Wayne's declaration that the U.S. governments
is collaborating with Mexican authorities on the pertinent investigations.
First of all, it is unacceptable that, five days after the
attack, our nation's public has yet to receive any official, clear and precise
information about the facts, and that all the federal government has to say
is that it is investigating.
This omission is worrying, and not only because there are
so many persistent holes in the versions of events divulged so far, like the yet-to-be-explained
participation of presumed undercover police and private vehicles in the
shoot-up. Also of concern are the implications one must derive
regarding the lack of coordination among institutions charged with upholding
the rule of law and the vulnerabilty of citizens under such circumstances. If it
is true that the attack by the Federal Police occurred in the course of fighting
crime - as the Departments of Public Security and Navy announced in a joint
statement - we would by now have attended a press conference by whatever arm of
the Federal Police feels it necessary to fire upon every suspicious vehicle.
In any case, it can no longer be denied that this agency, once
depicted as exemplary and modern, is confronted with a deep institutional
crisis that has already been visible for months - as demonstrated in the assassination
of Federal Police by their own colleagues last June at the Mexico City International
Airport. This opinion was asserted yesterday by Raúl Plascencia, president of
the National Commission of Human Rights, who pointed out that assaults by police
elements are part of a pattern of unjustifiable conduct, and that on average there
are 2,000 complaints per year against the Federal Police.
Under such circumstances, it is imperative that Secretary of
Public Security Genaro
García Luna's lack of accountability be explained. He has been implicated in
a number of grave incidents of various kinds. At the very least, political
responsibility for the events at Tres Marías last Friday rests on him, and yet nevertheless,
he seems invested with inexplicable influence and de-facto immunity.
With regard to bilateral relations, Ambassador Wayne’s
announcement of collaboration between Mexican and U.S. authorities, in a case that
should be explained and clarified exclusively by our own government, together
with unmistakable hints of interventionism revealed by the episode - beginning
with the presence of two CIA agents and a U.S. Marine traveling toward a
military training camp - reinforces the impression that the current federal
administration has given over crucial aspects of public and national security
to a foreign power. Furthermore, we are discussing a foreign power that has
proven an unreliable ally in the government’s effort to fight crime, and with
its intrigues has exacerbated strife among the various security agencies of the
This situation, which puts the country in a condition
similar to that of a U.S. protectorate, is extremely dangerous for the
viability of our nation and its institutions. One wonders to what degree diplomatic
tensions and U.S. interventionism in Mexico might escalate if the fired-upon diplomatic
vehicle was less heavily armored, and in the event, resulted in fatalities.
At the risk of committing political irresponsibility of a
very high order, the federal government should recognize the unacceptability of
allowing and even encouraging political, police, military and intelligence
intervention of the U.S. in Mexico.
In any case, if the Mexican government has become aware of
its own inability to ensure the safety of the population based on its current security
strategy, the decent and necessary thing to do would be to modify it, rather
than to invite a foreign presence that carries the risk of greater violence, a
total loss of sovereignty and consequent institutional unraveling.