Ambassador Carlos Pascual offered his resignation following WikiLeaks revelations and a public dispute with Mexican President Felipe Calderon over his handling of Mexico’s war with powerful drug cartels.
The US and Mexico often touted their close relationship, cooperative nature on security and strong economic ties. The quarrel between the diplomat and Mexican President strained that relationship.
The diplomatic fight began not long after State Department cables leaked by WikiLeaks showed Pascual openly criticizing Mexican authorities for their lack of coordination in operations targeting drug cartel leaders.
Calderon responded calling Pascual ignorant and argued he was distorting the reality of the ongoing within Mexico.
While recently in Washington, Calderon met with Obama to discuss the drug trade and cooperation on tackling the cross border drug war.
Just prior to his visit violence in the war left one US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent dead and another wounded on the Mexican side of the border. Calderon then said the US was hindering efforts to push back against drug cartels as opposed to aiding in the fight. He lashed out, criticized the Drug Enforcement Administration, CIA and ICE for their handling of the drug war.
“The reality is that they don’t coordinate with each other, they’re rivals,” he told a Mexican newspaper.
During his visit to Washington Calderon allegedly requested Obama remove Pascual from his position.
Clinton said however that Pascual freely resigned “to avert issues raised by President Calderon that could distract from the important business of advancing our bilateral interests.”
Calderon’s office claimed the US-Mexico relationship is solid despite the incidents and Pascual’s timely resignation, saying both the US and Mexico remain “neighbors and friends.”