Mexican president Felipe Calderón has been advising the US on how to fight the influence of leftist Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, according to a secret Oct. 23, 2009 US embassy cable that was made public by WikiLeaks on Dec. 2, 2010. During a meeting on Oct. 19, 2009 with US national intelligence director Dennis Blair, Calderón “emphasized that…Hugo Chávez is active everywhere, including Mexico,” the embassy reported. “Calderon also commented that he is particularly concerned about Venezuela’s relations with Iran, and that the Iranian embassy in Mexico is very active.”
“The region needs a visible US presence, [Calderón] noted.” The most important thing was for the US to be “ready to engage the next Brazilian president,” who takes office in 2011. According to Calderón, Brazil “is key to restraining Chávez, but he lamented that President [Luiz Inácio] Lula [da Silva] has been reluctant to do so. The US needs to engage Brazil more and influence its outlook.” Calderón has been trying to do his part in countering Chávez: according to the cable, he “said that Mexico is trying to isolate Venezuela through the Rio Group,” an organization of 23 Latin American and Caribbean nations.
Calderón said he believed Chávez funded the 2006 presidential campaign of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the left-center candidate who narrowly missed beating Calderón according to the official results, which many Mexicans consider fraudulent. (El País, Madrid, Dec. 2; La Jornada, Mexico, Dec. 3) Shortly after the cable was made public on Dec. 2, López Obrador wrote in his Twitter account: “I demand that this compulsive liar Calderón demonstrate that Chávez financed our 2006 campaign.” (El Universal, Mexico City, Dec. 2)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 5.