The Heritage Foundation

Backgrounder #688 on Latin America

January 26, 1989

January 26, 1989 | Backgrounder on Latin America

The Security Component of U.S.-Mexico Relations


(Archived document, may contain errors)

688 January 26,1989 THE SEcuRlTyC0lMpo"T OF UeSe-lMExIco RELATIONS INTRODUCTION America faces an important security challenge on its southern border.

Mexico with its 1,933-mile porous frontier with the United States, is second only to the Soviet Union in strategic importance to Washington. This is why George Bush's first post-election meeting with a foreign leader was with Mexican presi dent Carlos Salinas de Gortari in late November 1988 the security of its southern border. It has required nearly no military resources to protect. This could change. Instability in Mexico, or Mexican cooperation with such U.S. adversaries as the USSR, cou l d force Washington to shift substantial economic and military resources from Western Europe and other regions to this hemisphere, and possibly require the presence of up to half a million U.S. troops to secure the southern border. Recent Mexican president s have at times pursued policies inimical to U.S. security. These include support of leftist groups in Latin America, weak restrictions on Soviet bloc espionage activities, and ineffective efforts at combatting international narcotics trafficking and migra t ion problems. Future potential U.S. security For almost this entire century, the U.S has been able to take for granted This is the tenth in a series of Heritage studies on Mexico. It was preceded by Buckgrounder No. 679 A Review of 150 Years of US.-Mexica n Relations October 31,1988 Buckgounder No. 638 Evolution of Mexican Foreign Policy March 11,1988 Buckgmunder No. 611 Privatization in Mexico: Robust Rhetoric Anemic Reality October 22,1987 Buckgounder No. 595 Keys to Understanding Mexico: The PAN'S Growth as a Real Opposition July 29,1987 Buckgmunder No. 588 Deju Vu of Policy Failure: The New $14 Billion Mexican Debt Bailout June 25,1987 Buckgrounder No. 583 For Mexico's Ailing Economy, Time Runs Short June 4,1987 Buckgrounder No. 581 Mexico's Many Faces M a y 19,1987 Buckgrounder No 575 Mexico: The Key Players April 4,1987 and Buckgrounder No. 573 Keys to Understanding Mexico Challenges to the Ruling PRI April 7,1987 Future papers will examine other aspects of Mexican policy and development. concerns include the possibility for rising domestic political instability in the wake of Mexicos 1988 presidential elections and U.S. access to Mexican oil exports.

Mexico would pose a strategic threat to the U.S for example, if a hostile or proSoviet government were to assume power, or if the country were besieged by leftist insurgents. In such a case experts estimate that at least 10 million refugees could flee northward into the U.S.l Straining the Relationship. Since World War 11, Mexico has been transformed from a r u ral agricultural country into the worlds thirteenth largest economy. Mexico also has begun be increasingly active in international politics. This transformation, however, has been accompanied by a continuing spirit of Mexican anti-Yanquism and by an affir m ation of specific views that are at odds with the U.S. This is straining the bilateral U.S.-Mexican relationship. If relations do not improve, Mexico likely will continue supporting anti-U.S. causes, specifically in Central America and the Caribbean. As a result, U.S. security interests could be jeopardized To protect U.S. security interests and help strengthen U.S.-Mexican ties the Bush Administration should Schedule an early Bush-Salinas summit Create bilateral task forces to focus on such key security i s sues as leftist violence in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and immigration Expand U.S-Mexican military cooperation on such matters as border control, narcotics interdiction, and anti-terrorism training Discourage any increase in the number of Sov i et bloc consulates in Mexico Continue to support anti-communist forces in Central and South America and encourage Mexico to work for democracy in Nicaragua Attempt to steer Mexico away from its close relations with Cuba Encourage Salinas to continue his p r edecessors policy of distancing Mexico from the communist guerrillas (FMLN) in El Salvador and its political arm, the Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR Seek Mexican assistance in helping bring democracy to Panama 1 Marian Leighton, Moscows Courtship of M exico, Heritage Foundation Buckgrounder No. 660, July 5,1988 p. 15 2 U.S.-MEX Increase U.S.-Mexican cooperation in drug eradication and interdiction programs Expand the resources available to the U.S. immigration authorities and border patrol CAN.SECURITY CONCERNS Washingtons global strategy is based upon a secure southern flank.

Mexico, with its population of 83 million, is the most crucial sector of that flank. A stable and positive relationship with the Mexican government means that the U.S. can allocat e its security resources elsewhere If Mexico were to suffer serious political turmoil or violence, U.S adversaries within and outside of Mexico could take advantage of it. This would require the U.S. to shift troops to its southern border from other cruci a l areasof the world. In jeopardy, moreover, could be the major Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean sea lanes through which move 55 percent of the crude oil consumed by the U.S. and 45 percent of U.S. exports and imports. Equally important, these sea lanes would be needed for the resupply of Americas North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies in the event of a military crisis in Europe.

During a political crisis in Mexico, millions of refugees could flee towards the U.S. Under these conditions or if U.S. adv ersaries controlled Mexico, the U.S. likely would be faced with serious problems in impeding an increased flow of drugs, an escalation in crime, substantially increased costs for security and for social services, and stepped up Soviet bloc espionage activ ities.

The Soviet Unions Courtship of Mexico Mexicos proximity to the U.S. and its traditional policy of demonstrating its independence from the U.S. have made Mexico a target of Soviet interest.

Under Moscows two-track foreign policy strategy for dealing with key non-communist Third World countries, Moscow has political and economic links to Mexico but simultaneously encourages clandestine subversive activity against the Mexican government?

While Moscow has conducted normal diplomatic relation with the Mexican government, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union maintained close relations with the Mexican Communist Party (PCM founded in 1919.

For the Kremlin, one of the functions of the Mexican communists now largely incorporated into and camouflaged by the Mexican Socialist Party PMS) and the pro-Moscow Socialist Peoples Party (PPS is to assist the Soviet espionage and propaganda apparatus op e rating out of Mexico City 2 Michael G. Wilson, A Ten-Point Program to Block Soviet Advances in South America, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 658, June 22,1988 3 I Training Terrorists. .On occasion, .however, Moscow has exploited other targets of opp ortunity, including violence. In the late 1960s and early 1970s for example, the Mexican government accused the Soviets of training and assisting factions of the Mexican extreme left engaging in subversive and terrorist activities?

Today, the Mexican Socia list parties.play an important policy making and ideological role in the National Democratic Front (FDN a coalition of left-wing parties led by socialist Cuahtemoc Cardenas Solorzano He is the son of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexicos president in the 1930s who pus h ed for the full collectivism of the Mexican economy. The younger Cardenas has accepted many of the PMSs and PPSs key planks. Among them: providing political safe haven to revolutionary Marxist activists from other countries, a moratorium on Mexicos foreig n debt repayments, opposing the privatization of state-owned enterprises, reducing oil exports to the U.S and encouraging a Mexican class ~truggle In last Julys Mexican presidential elections, Cardenas received 3 1 percent of the vote, seriously challengin g the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in a presidential election for the first time since the PRIs establishment as the National Revolutionary Party in 19

29. The PRI won with just over 50 percent.

Diplomatic Spies. Moscow has set up in Mexico City one of the worlds largest and most active residencies of the KGB, the Soviet intelligence and espionage agency. The Mexico City embassy, one of Moscows largest outside of the Soviet bloc, is believed to house more than 200 Soviet diplomatic pe r sonnel. Of these, approximately 40 percent are affiliated with either the KGB or the Soviet military intelligence service (GRU). Assisted by their counterparts in the Cuban Intelligence service (DGI), the KGB ha developed a formidable potential for subver t ing the whole region. Moscow also operates a consulate out of the Mexican port city of Veracruz and has in the past pressed the Mexican government to allow Soviet consulates in cities bordering the U.S. like Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Tijuana. Such p osts would greatly bolster the KGBs intelligence gathering and infiltration of agents into the U.S P Soviet trade with Mexico has risen from approximately $10 billion a year in the mid-1970s to near $30 billion annually in the mid-1980s. Indeed, in 1975 M e xico signed an agreement with the Soviet-controlled Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON becoming the first Latin American nation to do so. In 1983, the two nations established a Joint Commission for 3 For more information, see Sol W. Sanders, M ako: Chaos on Our Dmmtep (London: Madison Books, 1986 pp. 121-122 4 Daniel James, Mexico-United States Report, Mexicos Democratic Revolution Begins, July 1988, p. 3 5 Leighton, op. cit p. 3 4 i Economic Trade and Coordination. Under its auspices, the USSR has agreed to build two textile factories in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, near the U.S border. In return, Mexico has expressed interest in the joint manufacture of tractors, plans to send workers to the Soviet Union for technical training, and will sel l pipes, steel products, and oil drilling equipment to the Soviets to be used in their petroleum industry Mexicos. Ties to Cuba Just before leaving office, Mexican president Miguel de la Madrid visited Cuba in early November 19

88. This highlights Mexicos role as one of Cubas closest friends in the Western Hemisphere. During his visit, de la Madrid awarded Fidel Castro the Aztec Eagle Medal, Mexicos highest civilian decoration. Mexicos relations with the Cuban dictator have been cooperative and cordial sin c e the early days of the Cuban Revolution. In 1962, when the Organization of American States (OAS) voted to expel Cuba for supporting subversive activities in the Americas, only Mexico refused to support the measure. 7 Close ties between Mexico City and Ha vana seem to have been formalized during Castros first visit to Mexico in 19

79. During meetings with Mexican President Lopez Portillo, the two leaders reached an understanding that their countries would work to establish closer bilateral relations and wor k for a new international economic order.8 Many observers believe that a secret deal was made between Castro and Portillo whereby Castro promised to refrain from sponsoring leftist revolutionary action within Mexico in return for a Mexican government pled ge to limit cooperation with the U.S?

Mexicos Support for Anti-U.S. Forces in Centml America In the late 1970s, Mexico granted Nicaraguan Sandinista rebels refuge on Mexican territory and provided them with materiel, diplomatic, and moral assistance. In th e early days after the revolution, Mexico provided the Sandinista leadership with much-needed oil products, advisors, and technical and financial assistance. Without these, the Sandinistas might not have become the dominant faction in Nicaragua after the o verthrow of Pre ident Anastasio Somozas forces by a broad anti-Somoza coalition in 1979. 18 Buying Time for Managua. Mexico has assumed a leadership role in the Contadora Group of eight Latin American nations seeking to end the fighting in Central America . Contadora policies, which Mexico helped shape, bought 6 United States Department of State, Soviet Influence Activities: A Report on Active Measures and Propaganda, 1986-87, August 1987, p. 65 7 James R. Whelan and Franklin A. Jaeckle, 77ie Soviet Assault on Americas Southern Flank (Washington D.C Regnery Gateway, Inc., 1988 p. 225 8 James, op. cit p. 66 9 Leighton, op. cit 10 Jorge Salaverry, Evolution of Mexican Foreign Policy, Heritage FoundationBackpunder No. 638, March 11,1988, p. 10 5 -time in .which .the Sandinistas built up their Soviet-equipped armed forces and aided the regions communist insurgencies. In 1984, Mexico played a pivotal role in trying to persuade the Central American states to accept a draft Contadora treaty which could have disarmed the regions anti-communist groups, but which imposed no enforceable mechanism to monitor and halt Cuban, Soviet, and other communist bloc aid to the Sandinistas.1 The result: todays 120,000-man Sandinista military.

On the El Salvador situation, in 1981, M exico declared support for the Cuban-backed Salvadoran guerrillas known as the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN) and its political arm, the Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR This was at a time when the proSoviet guerrillas were very close to toppl i ng the Salvadoran government. Today Mexico City remains a major center for FMLN propaganda, espionage, and fund raising, although the Mexican government formally withdrew its backing of the FMLN in 1984 Bailing Out Noriega. Regarding Panama, Mexico also r aises U.S. security concerns. For over a year, Washington has been seeking ways to force Panamanian military strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega out of power.

However, in mid-April 1988, Mexico announced that it would guarantee oil supplies to Noriegas beleag uered regime despite U.S. attempts to put financial pressure on the dictator. Mexico agreed to waive immediate payment on the oil, lower interest rates on the credit lines underpinning the transaction, and post one indefinitely collection of an overdue $2 3 million Panamanian oil bill? Mexico has opposed Washingtons efforts to ease the removal of Noriega, viewing it as an act of Yanqui intervention.

Outgoing Mexican President de la Madrid, however, did begin a retreat from his predecessors enthusiastic espo usal of revolutionary and anti-American foreign policy causes in Central America. He not only cooled Mexicos support for the Sandinista regime in Managua, but also patched up diplomatic relations with the governments of President Jose Napoleon Duarte in E l Salvador and Vinicio Cerezo in Guatemala. By diminishing the level of Mexicos anti-U.S. rhetoric and reducing Mexican support for revolutionary groups in Central America, the de la Madrid administration hoped to obtain assistance from the U.S. in easing M exicos $110 billion debt burden. Mexico also has been seeking greater access to U.S. markets for its products me Waron Narcotics lhfficking needless death in the U.S. and Mexico, but also threatens many of Latin Americas fragile democracies with its links to leftist guerrilla groups and The narcotics trade not only generates crime, corruption, terrorism, and 11 Sanders, op. cif p. 97 12 David Gardner, Mexico offers Panama a helping hand, Financial Times, April 27,1988, p. 4 6 sponsorship of corruption. And it causes bilateral .U.S.-Mexican political tensions.

For Washington, Mexico is the most important country in the war on drugs.

The tremendous movement of people, legally and illegally, across the U.S.-Mexican frontier makes successful interdiction programs problematic.

Last year, over one-third of the marijuana, heroin, and cocaine entering the U.S. either originated in or was shipped through Mexico. In its 1987 report to Congress on the global narcotics situation, the Department of State declares that: Mexico continues to be the major single source country for the production, processing and trafficking of heroin and marijuana entering the u.s.13 Charges and Countercharges. The Mexican government contends that it is not to blame for Americas drug proble m. It charges that Washington is unwilling to take the measures to reduce greatly the U.S. domestic demand for illegal drugs. The U.S however, blames Mexican internal corruption indifference, and a lack of cooperation in narcotics matters.

The harsh reality is that for segments of the Mexican population, as for much of Latin America, producing drugs is enormously profitable: it earns foreign exchange, it adds to the gross national product, it is labor- rather than capital-intensive, it is p roduced with low-level technology, and it involves high-level political and military .officials who often cannot be brought to trial.

Even so, Mexico has been taking action against drug traffickers. Mexicos Attorney Generals office spends approximately hal f of its budget combatting drug trafficking. Mexico has the largest eradication aviation fleet in the Third World, with 94 aircraft.14 Yet even though one-quarter of Mexicos 125,000 active soldiers combat drug traffickers, the battle against drugs is hamp e red by payoffs, intimidation, and apathy. Observes a U.S. Drug Enforcement agent: corruption has penetrated all levels of the Mexican government. Its lateral, its horizontal, and its total.15 Irnrnigmtion As a Possible Threat to US. Security Of the nearly 4 million undocumented aliens living or working in the U.S approximately 2.5 million are Mexican. Traditionally, Mexican migration northward represented what Mexico City saw as a solution to Mexicos rapid population expansion and growing unemployment rate . Today, by contrast the Mexican government views it as a mixed blessing. While Mexico benefits from the remittances that Mexican workers in the U.S. send home and from the lessened strain on the Mexican economy Mexico suffers from the loss of skilled labo r . This is prompting Mexico to seek discussions with Washington on the migration problem 13 Jon Thomas, Mexico and Narcotics: A Must-Win Situation (Tempe: INCAMEX, 1988 pp. 2-3 14 M. Delal Baer, Mexico and the Uiiited States: Leadership and the Unfinislied A genda (Washington, D.C The Center For Strategic and International Studies, 1988 p. 43 15 Elaine Shannon Why Were Facing a World of Noriegas, 77ie Washington Post, October 23,1988, p. C4 7 For the U.S immigration stirs some controversy. The U.S. benefits, o f course, from the infusion of skilled, cheap, and industrious labor. Yet some experts complain that illegal immigrants add to the Southwests rapid population growth, crime, violence, and other problems. Whatever the validity of these arguments, the migra t ion from Mexico has been manageable for the U.S This could change Flooding the U.S. If unrest in Mexico were to increase dramatically, or if the Sandinistas in Nicaragua were to spread their revolution northward, the fears and uncertainties could spur, it is estimated, over 10 million Mexicans to seek refuge north of the porous U.S.-Mexican border. This would create serious problems for the U.S. Millions of new illegal immigrants could increase the flow of narcotics crossing the Rio Grande; could make it e a sier for Soviet bloc spies to enter the U.S. and gather intelligence; could provide cover for terrorists entering the U.S could overwhelm the ability of American communities near the border to provide housing, health, hygiene and other services; and could add significantly to crime.

Sealing the border would cost the U.S. billions perhaps tens of billions of dollars for barriers and sophisticated electronics and would take approximately half of the U.S. Armys divisions or around 500,000 troops.16 U.S.-MEXIC AN SECURITY CONCERNS: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Since Mexicos earliest days as a fledgling republic, its foreign policy has been based upon establishing and maintaining its independence from its giant neighbor to the north. What Mexico regards as its past t raumas regarding relations with Washington still adversely affect U.S.-Mexican relations today. These, from the perspective widely accepted in Mexico, include the U.S.-Mexico war of 1846-1848, culminating with a U.S. victory that cost Mexico over 50 perce n t of its territory including what is now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of California, Colorado, and Utah A cordial U.S.-Mexican relationship developed during World War I1 and lasted through the 1960s. However in 1970, Luis Echeverria Alvarez was e l ected president. His leftist and anti-Yanqui policies antagonized the U.S over such security-related issues as closer relations with Cuba and Salvador Allendes socialist government in Chile, as well as endorsing the Palestine Liberation Organization. Eche v errias successor, Jose Lopez Portillo continued these leftist, anti4J.S. policies by supporting communist elements in El Salvador and Nicaragua 16 Leighton, op. cit p. 15 17 James, op. cit p. 62 8 . Miguel de la Madrid, who took.office in 1982, .partially reversed Mexico's extreme leftward trends and attempted to improve U.S.-Mexican ties. Ronald Reagan and de la Madrid met six times and sought agreement, though often unsuccessfully, on such security related issues as narcotics control immigration, and pol i tical tensions in Central America ELEVEN POINTS TO PROMOTE US.-MEXICAN .SECURITY To protect U.S. security interests and improve U.S.-Mexican bilateral relations, the Bush Administration should 1) Schedule an early Bush-Salinas summit. The two leaders shou l d fo&s on drug interdiction, border control, the turmoil in Central America U.S.-Mexican trade, and Mexico's debt. Above all, Bush must explore means of expanding and improving U.S. ties with the Mexican government. Possibly Salinas will offer suggestions and opportunities for doing so 2) Identify leverage by which the U.S. could prod Mexico to cooperate on geopolitical and security matters. While U.S. ability to assist Mexico with its 110 billion debt may be the most obvious lever Washington has to influe n ce the Salinas government, the Bush Administration should not be tempted to use it to gain geopolitical and security concessions. U.S. economic assistance to Mexico should ,be leveraged solely to prod the Mexican government to introduce free market reform s in the Mexican economy. This alone offers Mexico the way to solve its chronic economic problems. To influence the Salinas government on geopolitical and security matters, the Bush Administration must devise non-economic forms of leverage and suasion 3) C r eate bilateral task forces to focus on key security issues. To identify where cooperation can be increased and bilateral security promoted, the U.S and Mexico should create joint task forces to study policy options. Such task forces, for instance, could a d dress issues like the violence in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and immigration. Bimonthly meetings meanwhile, should be scheduled between U.S. National Security Council and Pentagon personnel and senior Mexican officials from their Secretariats of Foreign Affairs, National Defense, and Attorney General's Office to discuss security concerns with respect to Mexico and Mexico's concerns with respect to the U.S 4) Expand U.S.-Mexican military cooperation. The Soviet Union already has demonstrated it s willingness to expand military relations with Mexico. A Soviet naval task force, for example, had been scheduled to call at the Mexican port of Veracruz in 1985; it took considerable U.S. pressure to cancel the visit. To counter a possible expansion in S oviet influence within the Mexican armed forces, the U.S. should seek to take advantage of the 18 For more information, see, Esther Wilson Hannon A Review of 150 Years of US Mexican Relations,"

Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 679, October 31,1988 9 Me xican militarys determination.to modernize. Traditionally, the Mexican armed forces have been very nationalist and inward looking, making bilateral military cooperation problematic. Salinas, however, has stated that one of his goals is to build a more mod ern, better equipped Mexican military.

The U.S. could be helpful. Since World War 11, the Mexican armed forces have exchanged small numbers of military officers with the U.S. for training and .education. Currently, there are 72 Mexican military students st udying and training in the U.S. at places such as Ft. Benning, Georgia and the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In the past two years, Mexico also has purchased a limited amount of U.S.-manufactured F-5 fighter jets, C-130 transports, howitzers , and jeeps. Last year, Mexico was allocated $225,000 worth of U.S.-sponsored International Military Education and Training IMET) assistance, a U.S. government grant program that provides technical training and personal contact between U.S. and Latin Ameri c an military professionals. While the Salinas government likely will be hesitant to accept significant increases in U.S.-Mexican military cooperation, the Bush Administration should make the offer. Washington should propose joint military maneuvers, expand e d education and training programs for Mexican military officers, and increased arms sales. At the very least, Washington should seek to expand border patrol, narcotics interdiction, and anti-terrorism training with the Mexican military 5) Press the Mexica n Government to deny Soviet bloc requests for more consulates and trade missions in Mexico. The Mexican government has allowed the Soviet, Cuban, and East European embassies, consulates, and trade missions in Mexico to coordinate and support communist part i es and guerrilla activities in the Caribbean Basin. These diplomatic missions also coordinate espionage activities against the U.S.19 Currently there are dozens of Soviet bloc embassies, consulates, and trade missions in Mexico; by contrast, the U.S. has o nly nine consulates in Mexico plus its Mexico City embassy. Soviet bloc nations have been seeking permission to open new consulates in Mexican cities bordering the U.S such as Matamoros and Ciudad Juarez. U.S. pressure so far has convinced the Mexican gov e rnment to deny these requests. Limiting the number of Eastern bloc consulates and trade missions in Mexico would impede Soviet access to U.S. border areas and hinder clandestine capabilities throughout the Caribbean 6) Continue to support anti-communist f o rces in Central America. U.S backing of the Democratic Resistance (the Contras) in Nicaragua helps block the spread of insurgent activity northward towards Mexico and the U.S border. What most threatens Mexican and U.S. hemispheric security indeed is the g rowing turmoil in Central America. For Mexico, this could lead to a massive influx of Central American refugees and to increased leftist political agitation and violence at home. It thus serves Mexicos interests, as those of the U.S for the gains made by t he fledgling democracies in El Salvador 19 Howard J. Wiarda and Mark Falcoff, Tile Communist Challenge in the Caribbean and Centml America Washington, D.C American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1983, p. 110 10 Guatemala, and.Honduras to .be consolidated and defended against communist aggression. Washington must make it clear to Mexico that the key threat to these governments is Nicaragua and the guerrilla movements which it supports in other Central American countries 7) Encourage the Sa l inas government to continue President de la Madrids policy of distancing Mexico from El Salvadors communist guerrillas. Over the past decade, Mexico has given money to Salvadors Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR) and the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN allowed an FDR-FMLN government in exile to operate out of Mexico, and attempted to mediate in behalf of the communist alliance. This backing, however, was muted somewhat by de la Madrid. A general desire by the Salinas government to improve its imag e in Washington and relations with the U.S. should be incentive to embrace de la Madrids greater caution in supporting radicals in Central America. The appointment of Fernando Solana, a moderate, as Mexicos new Foreign Secretary may already have set the to n e for greater restraint in the region 8) Attempt to steer Mexico away from its close relations with Cuba. For three decades, Mexicos policy toward Cuba has been cordial, while Washington has sought to isolate the Castro regime. At times, it has appeared t h at Mexico even has been crafting its foreign policy to satisfy Havana. The U.S. should work with its democratic allies in Latin America to encourage Mexico to rethink relations with Castro. As a start, the U.S. could encourage Mexico and its neighbors to f ocus more on Cubas human rights record. ne U.S. ambassador to Mexico should meet with Salinas specifically to discuss this issue 9) Seek Mexican cooperation in bringing democracy to Panama. The U.S and Mexico could work together to help bring democracy to Panama. The only way Panamanian dictator General Manuel Antonio Noriega can be forced from power, short of military intervention, is for him to be confronted by strong multinational diplomatic and economic pressure. At the very least the U.S. should encou r age the Salinas government to withdraw its economic and rhetorical support from the Noriega regime 10) Increase U.S.-Mexican cooperation in drug eradication and interdiction. Washington should applaud publicly Mexicos efforts in drug interdiction, while c o ntinuing to demonstrate concern over the corruption and violence that permeates Mexicos anti-drug efforts. The U.S. should seek to improve U.S.-Mexican anti-narcotics capabilities by increasing and expanding the financial and technical assistance given to the Mexican government. To combat drug dealers and cultivators effectively, Mexico needs materiel such as helicopters, airplanes, radar equipment, herbicides and patrol boats. Washington then should ask Mexico for U.S. overflight and hot pursuit rights, e xpanded port-call privileges for U.S. ships, and streamlined extradition procedures 11 11) Expand U.S. immigration.and .border patrol capabilities. The U.S.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 is designed to stop illegal immigration and penalize tho se who employ illegal immigrants. This law should be strictly enforced. These efforts also should be combined with an increase in the number of border patrol personnel from about 5,000 currently to 7,500, deployment of greater numbers of patrol aircraft, and an increase in funding for surveillance materiel such as radars and night vision equipment CONCLUSION Mexico will continue to pose an important security challenge to the U.S.

The security interests of both nations are increasingly threatened by such pr oblems as the turmoil in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and illegal immigration. The accession of Carlos Salinas de Gortari to Mexico's presidency, however, may provide the Bush Administration with an opportunity to improve bilateral relations an d generate agreement on security issues.

Linked by a porous 1,933-mile border, Mexico and the U.S. are separated by distinct political systems, cultures, languages, and wide disparities in wealth and'population. These differences, combined with a difficult historical relationship, have strained relations between the two governments. Mexico's misunderstanding of Washington's actions and foreign policy goals in the Americas have led to Mexican mistrust and resentment of the U.S Giving Salinas a Chance. To co u nter this, the Bush Administration must work together with the Salinas government to establish a basis for long-term agreement on regional objectives and security interests. Consensus and coordination on narcotics and migration issues need to be explored. The U.S also should maintain strong support for elements fighting pro-Soviet insurgencies in the countries neighboring Mexico.

While Mexico probably will continue to pursue anti-U.S. policies if it feels them to be in its best interest, Salinas should be taken up on his expressed willingness to improve and expand U.S.-Mexican re1ations:Whether he follows through, remains to be seen. Bush should give it a chance. I Michael G. Wilson Policy Analyst 12 No. 688 I The Heritage Foundation 214 Massachusetts Aven ue N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002-4999 (202) 5464400 January 1989 THE SECURITYCOMPONE" OF U.S.IMEXIc0 RELATIONS INTRODUCTION America faces an important security challenge on its southern border.

Mexico, with its 1,933-mile porous frontier with the United Stat es, is second only to the Soviet Union in strategic importance to Washington. This is why George Bush's first post-election meeting with a foreign leader was with Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari in late November 1988.

For almost this entire ce ntury, the U.S. has been able to take for granted the security of its southern border. It has required nearly no military resources to protect. This could change. Instability in Mexico, or Mexican cooperation with such U.S. adversaries as the USSR, could f orce Washington to shift substantial economic and military resources from Western Europe and other regions to this hemisphere, and possibly require the presence of up to half a million U.S. troops to secure the southern border. Recent Mexican presidents h a ve at times pursued policies inimical to U.S. security. These include support of leftist groups in Latin America, weak restrictions on Soviet bloc espionage activities, and ineffective efforts at combatting international narcotics trafficking and migratio n problems. Future potential U.S. security This k the tenth in a series of Heritage studies on Mexico. It was preceded by Buc&g?vunder No. 679 A Review of 150 Years of U.S.-Mexican Relations October 31,1988 Buc

under No. 638 Evolution of Mexican Foreign Po licy March 11,1988 Bucmnder No. 611 Privatization in Mexico: Robust Rhetoric Anemic Realitf (October 22,1987 Backgrounder No. 595 Keys to Understanding Mexico: The PAN'S Growth as a Real Opposition July 29,1987 Buckpunder No. 588 Deju Vu of Policy Failure : The New $14 Billion Mexican Debt Bailout June 25,1987 Buc&punder No. 583 For Mexico's Ailing Economy, Time Runs Short June 4,1987 Bamnder No. 581 Mexico's Many Faces May 19,1987 Backgrounder No 95 Mexico: The Key Players April 4,1987 and Backpunder No. 5 7 3 Keys to Understanding Mexico Challenges to the Ruling PRI" (April 7,1987 Future papers will examine other aspects of Mexican policy and development. N Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the Views Of The Heritage Foundation or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage Of any bill before Congress I concerns include the possibility for rising domestic political instability in the wake of Mexicos 1988 presidential elections and U.S. access to Mexican oil exports.

Mexico would pose a strategic threat to the US for example, if a hostile or pro-Soviet government were to assume power, or if the country were besieged by leftist insurgents. In such a case, experts estimate that at least 10 million refugees could flee northward into t he U.S.l Straining the Relationship. Since World War 11, Mexico has been transformed from a rural agricultural country into the worlds thirteenth largest economy. Mexico also has begun be increasingly active in international politics. This transformation, however, has been accompanied by a continuing spirit of Mexican anti-Yanquism and by an affirmation of specific views that are at odds with the U.S. This is straining the bilateral U.S.-Mexican relationship. If relations do not improve, Mexico likely will continue supporting anti-U.S. causes, specifically in Central America and the Caribbean. As a result, U.S. security interests could be jeopardized To protect U.S. security interests and help strengthen U.S.-Mexican ties the Bush Administration should Sche d ule an early Bush-Salinas summit Create bilateral task forces to focus on such key security issues as leftist violence in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and immigration Expand U.S-Mexican military cooperation on iuch matters as border control, na r cotics interdiction, and anti-terrorism training Discourage any increase in the number of Soviet bloc consulates in Mexico Continue to support anti-communist forces in Central and South America and encourage Mexico to work for democracy in Nicaragua Attem p t to steer Mexico away from its close relations with Cuba Encourage Salinas to continue his predecessors policy of distancing Mexico from the communist guerrillas (FMLN) in El Salvador and its political arm, the Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR Seek Me x ican assistance in helping bring democracy to Panama 1 Marian Leighton, MOSCOWS Courtship of Mexico, Heritage Foundation Backpunder No. 660, July 5,1988 p. 15 L 2 Increase U.S.-Mexican cooperation in drug eradication and Expand the resources available to the U.S. immigration authorities and interdiction programs border patrol US-MEXICAN SECURITY CONCERNS Washingtons global strategy is based upon a secure southern flank.

Mexico with its populati on of 83 million, is the most crucial sector of that flank. A stable and positive relationship with the Mexican government means that the U.S. can allocate its security resources elsewhere If Mexico were to suffer serious political turmoil or violence, U. S adversaries within and outside of Mexico could take advantage of it. This would require the U.S. to shift troops to its southern border from other crucial areas of the world. In jeopardy, moreover, could be the major Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean sea lane s through which move 55 percent of the crude oil consumed by the U.S. and 45 percent of U.S. exports and imports. Equally important, these sea lanes would be needed for the resupply of Americas North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies in the event of a military crisis in Europe.

During a political crisis in Mexico, millions of refugees could flee towards the U.S. Under these conditions or if U.S. adversaries controlled Mexico, the U.S. likely would be faced with serious problems in impeding an incre ased flow of drugs, an escalation in crime, substantially increased costs for security and for social services, and stepped up Soviet bloc espionage activities.

The Soviet Unions Courtship of Mexico Mexicos proximity to the US. and its traditional policy of demonstrating its independence from the U.S. have made Mexico a target of Soviet interest.

Under Moscows two-track foreign policy strategy for dealing with key non-communist Third World countries, Moscow has political and economic links to Mexico but simultaneously encourages clandestine subversive activity against the Mexican government?

While Moscow has conducted normal diplomatic relation with the Mexican government, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union maintained close relations with the Mexican Communist Party (PCM), founded in 1919.

For the Kremlin, one of the functions of the Mexican communists now largely incorporated into and camouflaged by the Mexican Socialist Party PMS) and the pro-Moscow Socialist Peoples Party (PPS is to assist the Sov iet espionage and propaganda apparatus operating out of Mexico City 2 Michael G. Wilson, A Ten-Point Program to Block Soviet Advances in South America, Heritage Foundation Backgmunder No. 658, June 22,1988 3 Training Terrorists. On occasion, however, Mosc o w has exploited other targets of opportunity, including violence. In the late 1960s and early 1970s for example, the Mexican government accused the Soviets of training and assisting factions of the Mexican extreme left engaging in subversive and terrorist activities. 3 Today, the Mexican Socialist parties play an important policy making and ideological role in the National Democratic Front (FDN a coalition of left-wing parties led by socialist Cuahtemoc Cardenas Solorzano. He is the son of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexicos president in the 1930s who pushed for the full collectivism of the Mexican economy. The younger Cardenas has accepted many of the PMSs and PPSs key planks. Among them: providing political safe haven to revolutionary Marxist activists from other co u ntries, a moratorium on Mexicos foreign debt repayments, opposing the privatization of state-owned enterprises, reducing oil exports to the U.S and encouraging a Mexican class struggle In last Julys Mexican presidential elections, Cardenas received 3 1 pe rcent of the vote, seriously challenging the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in a presidential election for the first time since the PRIs establishment as the National Revolutionary Party in 19

29. The PRI won with just over 50 percent Di plomatic Spies. Moscow has set up in Mexico City one of the worlds largest and most active residencies of the KGB, the Soviet intelligence and espionage agency. The Mexico City embassy, one of Moscows largest outside of the Soviet bloc, is believed to hou s e more than 200 Soviet diplomatic personnel. Of these, approximately 40 percent are affiliated with either the KGB or the Soviet military intelligence service (GRU). Assisted by their counterparts in the Cuban Intelligence service (DGI), the KGB ha develo p ed a formidable potential for subverting the whole region. Moscow also operates a consulate out of the Mexican port city of Veracruz and has in the past pressed the Mexican government to allow Soviet consulates in cities bordering the U.S. like Ciudad Jua r ez, Nuevo Laredo, and Tijuana. Such posts would greatly bolster the KGBs intelligence gathering and infiltration of agents into the U.S t Soviet trade with Mexico has risen from approximately $10 billion a year in the mid-1970s to near $30 billion annuall y in the mid-1980s. Indeed, in 1975 Mexico signed an agreement with the Soviet-controlled Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON becoming the first Latin American nation to do so. In 1983, the two nations established a Joint Commission for 3 For m o re information, see Sol W. Sanders, Mexico: Chaos on Our Doorstep (London: Madison Books, 1986 pp. 121-122 4 Daniel James, Mexico-United States Report, Mexicos Democratic Revolution Begins, July 1988, p. 3 5 Leighton, op. cit p. 3 4 Economic Trade and Coo r dination. Under its auspices, the USSR has agreed to build two textile factories in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, near the U.S border. In return, Mexico has expressed interest in the joint manufacture of tractors, plans to send workers to the Soviet Uni o n for technical training, and will sell pipes, steel products, and oil drilling equipment to the Soviets to be used in their petroleum industry Mexicos Ties to Cuba Just before leaving office, Mexican president Miguel de la Madrid visited Cuba in early No vember 19

88. This highlights Mexicos role as one of Cubas closest friends in the Western Hemisphere. During his visit, de la Madrid awarded Fidel Castro the Aztec Eagle Medal, Mexicos highest civilian decoration. Mexicos relations with the Cuban dictator have been cooperative and cordial since the early days of the Cuban Revolution. In 1962, when the Organization of American States (OAS) voted to expel Cuba for supporting subve ive activities in the Americas, only Mexico refused to support the measure. 9 Close ties between Mexico City and Havana seem to have been formalized during Castros first visit to Mexico in 19

79. During meetings with Mexican President Lopez Portillo, the two leaders reached an understanding that their countries would work to establi sh closer bilateral relations and work for a new international economic order. Many observers believe that a secret deal was made between Castro and Portillo whereby Castro promised to refrain from sponsoring leftist revolutionary action within Mexico in return for a Mexican government pledge to limit cooperation with the U.S?

Mexicos Support for Anti4J.S. Forces in Centml America Mexican territory and provided them with materiel, diplomatic, and moral assistance. In the early days after the revolution, Me xico provided the Sandinista leadership with much-needed oil products, advisors, and technical and financial assistance. Without these, the Sandinistas might not have become the dominant faction in Nicaragua after the overthrow of President Anastasio Somo z as forces by a broad anti-Somoza coalition in 1979.l In the late 1970s Mexico granted Nicaraguan Sandinista rebels refuge on Buying Time for Managua. Mexico has assumed a leadership role in the Contadora Group of eight Latin American nations seeking to en d the fighting in Central America. Contadora policies, which Mexico helped shape, bought 6 United States Department of State, Soviet Influence Activities: A Report on Active Measures and Propaganda, 1986-87, August 1987, p. 65 7 James R. Whelan and Frankli n A. Jaeckle, Die Soviet Assault on Americas Southern Flank (Washington D.C Regnery Gateway, Inc 1988 p. 225 8 James, op. cit p. 66 9 Leighton, op. cit 10 Jorge Salaverry, Evolution of Mexican Foreign Policy, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 638, March 11,1988, p. 10 5 time in which the Sandinistas built up their Soviet-equipped armed forces and aided the regions communist insurgencies In 1984, Mexico played a pivotal role in trying to persuade the Central American states to accept a draft Contadora tre a ty which could have disarmed the regions anti-communist groups, but which imposed no enforceable mechanism to monitor and halt Cuban, Soviet, and other communist bloc aid to the Sandinistas. The result: todays 120,000-man Sandinista military On the El Sal v ador situation, in 1981, Mexico declared support for the Cuban-backed Salvadoran guerrillas known as the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN) and its political arm, the Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR This was at a time when the pro-Soviet guerrill a s were very close to toppling the Salvadoran government. Today Mexico City remains a major center for FMLN propaganda, espionage, and fund raising, although the Mexican government formally withdrew its backing of the FMLN in 1984 Bailing Out Noriega. Rega rding Panama, Mexico also raises U.S. security concerns. For over a year, Washington has been seeking ways to force Panamanian military strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega out of power.

However, in mid-April 1988, Mexico announced that it would guarantee oil supplies to Noriegas beleaguered regime despite U.S. attempts to put financial pressure on the dictator. Mexico agreed to waive immediate payment on the oil, lower interest rates on the credit lines underpinning the transaction, and pos one indefinitely c ollection of an overdue $23 million Panamanian oil bill removal of Noriega, viewing it as an act of Yanqui intervention.

Mexico has opposed Washingtons efforts to ease the Outgoing Mexican President de la Madrid, however, did begin a retreat from his prede cessors enthusiastic espousal of revolutionary and anti-American foreign policy causes in Central America. He not only cooled Mexicos support for the Sandinista regime in Managua, but also patched up diplomatic relations with the governments of President J ose Napoleon Duarte in El Salvador and Vinicio Cerezo in Guatemala. By diminishing the level of Mexicos anti-U.S. rhetoric and reducing Mexican support for revolutionary groups in Central America, the de la Madrid administration hoped to obtain assistance from the U.S. in easing Mexicos $110 billion debt burden. Mexico also has been seeking greater access to U.S. markets for its products me War on Namotics TMfiking needless death in the U.S. and Mexico, but also threatens many of Latin Americas fragile dem o cracies with its links to leftist guerrilla groups and The narcotics trade not only generates crime, corruption, terrorism, and 11 Sanders, op. cit p. 97 12 David Gardner, Mexico offers Panama a helping hand, Financial Times, April 27,1988, p. 4 6 sponsor ship of corruption. And it causes bilateral U.S.-Mexican political tensions.

For Washington, Mexico is the most important country in the war on drugs.

The tremendous movement of people, legally and illegally, across the U.S.-Mexican frontier makes successful interdiction programs problematic.

Last year, over one-third of the marijuana, heroin, and cocaine entering the U.S. either originated in or was sh ipped through Mexico In its 1987 report to Congress on the global narcotics situation, the Department of State declares that: Mexico continues to be the major single source country for the production, processing and trafficking of heroin and marijuana ent e ring the 11 c J.3 U.U Charges and Countercharges. The Mexican government contends that it is not to blame for Americas drug problem. It charges that Washington is unwilling to take the measures to reduce greatly the U.S. domestic demand for illegal drugs. The U.S however, blames Mexican internal corruption indifference, and a lack of cooperation in narcotics matters The harsh reality is that for segments of the Mexican population, as for much of Latin America, producing drugs is enormously profitable: it e arns foreign exchange, it adds to the gross national product, it is labor- rather than capital-intensive, it is produced with low-level technology, and it involves high-level political and military officials who often cannot be brought to trial.

Even so, M exico has been taking action against drug traffickers. Mexicos Attorney Generals office spends approximately half of its budget combatting drug trafficking. Mexico has the largest eradication aviation fleet in the Third World, with 94 aircraft.14 Yet even though one-quarter of Mexicos 125,000 active soldiers combat drug traffickers, the battle against drugs is hampered by payoffs, intimidation, and apathy. Observes a U.S. Drug Enforcement agent: corruption has penetrated all lev 1s of the Mexican governmen t. Its lateral, its horizontal, and its total.

Immigmtion As a Possible Tlrreal to U.S. Secwity Of the nearly 4 million undocumented aliens living or working in the U.S approximately 2.5 million are Mexican. Traditionally, Mexican migration northward repre sented what Mexico City saw as a solution to Mexicos rapid population expansion and growing unemployment rate. Today, by contrast the Mexican government views it as a mixed blessing. While Mexico benefits from the remittances that Mexican workers in the U . S. send home and from the lessened strain on the Mexican economy, Mexico suffers from the loss of skilled labor. This is prompting Mexico to seek discussions with Washington on the migration problem 8 13 Jon Thomas, Mewico and Natcotics: A Must-Wn Situati o n (Tempe: INCAMEX, 1988 pp. 2-3 14 M. Delal Baer, Mexico and the United States: Leudenhip and the Unfinished Agendu (Washington, D.C The Center For Strategic and International Studies, 1988 p. 43 15 Elahe Shannon Why Were Facing a World of Noriegas, The W a shington Post, October 23,1988, p. C4 7 For the U.S immigration stirs some controversy. The U.S. benefits, of course, from the infusion of skilled, cheap, and industrious labor. Yet some experts complain that illegal immigrants add to the Southwests rapid population growth, crime, violence, and other problems. Whatever the validity of these arguments, the migration from Mexico has been manageable for the U.S 1. This could change Flooding the U.S. If unrest in Mexico were to increase dramatically, or if the Sandinistas in Nicaragua were to spread their revolution northward, the fears and uncertainties could spur, it is estimated, over 10 million Mexicans to seek refuge north of the porous U.S.-Mexican border. This would create serious problems for the U.S. M i llions of new illegal immigrants could increase the flow of narcotics crossing the Rio Grande; could make it easier for Soviet bloc spies to enter the U.S. and gather intelligence; could provide cover for terrorists entering the U.S could overwhelm the ab ility of American communities near the border to provide housing, health, hygiene and other services; and could add significantly to crime.

Sealing the border would cost the U.S. billions perhaps tens of billions of dollars for barriers and sophisticated e lectronics and would take approximately half of the U.S. Armys divisions or around 500,000 troops.16 UmSm-MEXICAN SECURITY CONCERNS: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Since Mexicos earliest days as a fledgling republic, its foreign policy has been based upon estab l ishing and maintaining its independence from its giant neighbor to the north. What Mexico regards as its past traumas regarding relations with Washington still adversely affect U.S.-Mexican relations today.17 These, from the perspective widely accepted in Mexico, include the U.S.-Mexico war of 1846-1848, culminating with a U.S. victory that cost Mexico over 50 percent of its territory including what is now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of California, Colorado, and Utah A cordial U.S.-Mexican relati o nship developed during World War II and lasted through the 1960s. However in 1970, Luis Echeverria Alvarez was elected president. His leftist and anti-Yanqui policies antagonized the U.S over such security-related issues as closer relations with Cuba and S alvador Allendes socialist government in Chile, as well as endorsing the Palestine Liberation Organization. Echeverrias successor, Jose Lopez Portillo continued these leftist, anti-U.S. policies by supporting communist elements in El Salvador and Nicaragu a 16 highton, op. cit p. 15 17 James, op. cit p. 62 8 Miguel de la Madrid, who took office in 1982, partially reversed Mexicos extreme leftward trends and attempted to improve U.S.-Mexican ties. Ronald Reagan and de la Madrid met six times and sought agree m ent, though often unsuccessfully, on such security related issues as narcotics control immigration, and political tensions in Central America.18 ELEVEN POINTS TO PROMOTE US.-MEXICAN SECURITY c To protect U.S. security interests and improve U.S.-Mexican bi l ateral relations, the Bush Administration should 1) Schedule an early Bush-Salinas summit. The two leaders should focus on drug interdiction, border control, the turmoil in Central America US.-Mexican trade, and Mexicos debt. Above all, Bush must explore m eans of expanding and improving U.S. ties with the Mexican government. Possibly Salinas will offer suggestions and opportunities for doing so 2) Identifj. leverage by which the U.S. could prod Mexico to cooperate on geopolitical and security matters. Whil e U.S. ability to assist Mexico with its 110 billion debt may be the most obvious lever Washington has to influence the Salinas government, the Bush Administration should not be tempted to use it to gain geopolitical and security concessions. U.S. economic assistance to Mexico should be leveraged solely to prod the Mexican government to introduce free market reforms in the Mexican economy. This alone offers Mexico the way to solve its chronic economic problems. To influence the Salinas government on geopoli t ical and security matters, the Bush Administration must devise non-economic forms of leverage and suasion 3) Create bilateral task forces to focus on key security issues. To identify where cooperation can be increased and bilateral security promoted, the U .S and Mexico should create joint task forces to study policy options. Such task forces, for instance, could address issues like the violence in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and immigration. Bimonthly meetings meanwhile, should be scheduled bet w een U.S. National Security Council and Pentagon personnel and senior Mexican officials from their Secretariats of Foreign Affairs, National Defense, and Attorney Generals Office to discuss security concerns with respect to Mexico and Mexicos concerns with respect to the U.S 4) Expand U.S.-Mexican military cooperation. The Soviet Union already has demonstrated its willingness to expand military relations with Mexico. A Soviet naval task force, for example, had been scheduled to call at the Mexican port of V e racruz in 1985; it took considerable U.S. pressure to cancel the visit. To counter a possible expansion in Soviet influence within the Mexican armed forces, the U.S. should seek to take advantage of the 18 For more information, see, Esther Wilson Hannon, A Review of 150 Years of U.S Mexican Relations Heritage Foundation Buckpunder No. 679, October 31,1988 9 Mexican militarys determination to modernize. Traditionally, the Mexican armed forces have been very nationalist and inward looking, making bilateral m ilitary cooperation problematic. Salinas, however, has stated that one of his goals is to build a more modem, better equipped Mexican military.

The U.S. could be helpful. Since World War II, the Mexican armed forces have exchanged small numbers of military officers with the U.S. for training and education. Currently, there are 72 Mexican military students studying and training in the U.S. at places such as Ft. Benning, Georgia and the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In the past two years, Mexic o also has purchased a limited amount of U.S.-manufactured F-5 fighter jets, C-130 transports, howitzers, and jeeps. Last year, Mexico was allocated $225,000 worth of U.S.-sponsored International Military Education and Training IMET) assistance, a U.S. gov e rnment grant program that provides technical training and personal contact between U.S. and Latin American military professionals. While the Salinas government likely will be hesitant to accept significant increases in U.S.-Mexican military cooperation, t h e Bush Administration should make the offer. Washington should propose joint military maneuvers, expanded education and training programs for Mexican military officers, and increased arms sales. At the very least, Washington should seek to expand border p a trol, narcotics interdiction, and anti-terrorism training with the Mexican military 5) Press the Mexican Government to deny Soviet bloc requests for more consulates and trade missions in Mexico. The Mexican government has allowed the Soviet, Cuban, and Ea s t European embassies, consulates, and trade missions in Mexico to coordinate and support communist parties and guerrilla activities in the Caribbean Basin. These diplomatic missions also coordinate espionage activities against the U.S.19 Currently there a r e dozens of Soviet bloc embassies, consulates, and trade missions in Mexico; by contrast, the U.S. has only nine consulates in Mexico plus its Mexico City embassy. Soviet bloc nations have been seeking permission to open new consulates in Mexican cities b o rdering the U.S such as Matamoros and Ciudad Juarez. U.S. pressure so far has convinced the Mexican government to deny these requests. Limiting the number of Eastern bloc consulates and trade missions in Mexico would impede Soviet access to U.S. border ar e as and hinder clandestine capabilities throughout the Caribbean 6) Continue to support anti-communist forces in Central America. U.S backing of the Democratic Resistance (the Contras) in Nicaragua helps block the spread of insurgent activity northward tow a rds Mexico and the U.S border. What most threatens Mexicanand U.S. hemispheric security indeed is the growing turmoil in Central America. For Mexico, this could lead to a massive influx of Central American refugees and to increased leftist political agita t ion and violence at home. It thus serves Mexicos interests, as those of the U.S for the gains made by the fledgling democracies in El Salvador 19 Howard J. Wiarda and Mark Falcoff, The Communist Challenge in the Caribbean and Centrcrl America Washington, D .C American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1987 p. 110 10 Guatemala, and Honduras to be consolidated and defended against communist aggression. Washington must make it clear to Mexico that the key threat to these governments is Nicaragua and the guerrilla movements which it supports in other Central American countries 7) Encourage the Salinas government to continue President de la Madrids policy of distancing Mexico from El Salvadors communist guerrillas. Over the past decade, Mexico has g iven money to Salvadors Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR) and the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN allowed an FDR-FMLN government in exile to operate out of Mexico, and attempted to mediate in behalf of the communist alliance. This backing, howev e r, was muted somewhat by de la Madrid. A general desire by the Salinas government to improve its image in Washington and relafions with the U.S. should be incentive to embrace de la Madrids greater caution in supporting radicals in Central America. The ap p ointment of Fernando Solana, a moderate, as Mexicos new Foreign Secretary may already have set the tone for greater restraint in the region 8) Attempt to steer Mexico away from its close relations with Cuba. For three decades, Mexicos policy toward Cuba h a s been cordial, while Washington has sought to isolate the Castro regime. At times, it has appeared that Mexico even has been crafting its foreign policy to satisfy Havana. The U.S. should work with its democratic allies in Latin America to encourage Mexi c o to rethink relations with Castro. As a start, the U.S. could encourage Mexico and its neighbors to focus more on Cubas human rights record. The U.S. ambassador to Mexico should meet with Salinas specifically to discuss this issue 9) Seek Mexican coopera t ion in bringing democracy to Panama. The U.S and Mexico could work together to help bring democracy to Panama. The only way Panamanian dictator General Manuel Antonio Noriega can be forced from power, short of military intervention, is for him to be confr o nted by strong multinational diplomatic and economic pressure. At the very least the U.S. should encourage the Salinas government to withdraw its economic and rhetorical support from the Noriega regime 10) Increase U.S.-Mexican cooperation in drug eradica t ion and interdiction. Washington should applaud publicly Mexicos efforts in drug interdiction, while continuing to demonstrate concern over the corruption and violence that permeates Mexicos anti-drug efforts. The U.S. should seek to improve U.S.-Mexican a nti-narcotics capabilities by increasing and expanding the financial and technical assistance given to the Mexican government. To combat drug dealers and cultivators effectively, Mexico needs materiel such as helicopters, airplanes, radar equipment, herbi c ides and patrol boats. Washington then should ask Mexico for U.S. overflight and hot pursuit rights, expanded port-call privileges for U.S. ships, and streamlined extradition procedures 11 4 11) Expand U.S. immigration and border patrol capabilities. The U.S.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 is designed to stop illegal immigration and penalize those who employ illegal immigrants. This law should be strictly enforced. These efforts also should be combined with an increase in the number of border p atrol personnel from about 5,000 currently to 7,500, deployment of greater numbers of patrol aircraft, and an increase in funding for surveillance materiel such as radars and night vision equipment CONCLUSION Mexico will continue to pose an important secu rity challenge to the U.S.

The security interests of both nations are increasingly threatened by such problems as the turmoil in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and illegal immigration. The accession of Carlos Salinas de Gortari to Mexicos presiden cy, however, may provide the Bush Administration with an opportunity to improve bilateral relations -and generate agreement on security issues.

Linked by a porous 1,933-mile border, Mexico and the U.S. are separated by distinct political systems, cultures , languages, and wide disparities in wealth and population. These differences, combined with a difficult historical relationship, have strained relations between the two governments. Mexicos misunderstanding of Washingtons actions and foreign policy goals in the Americas have led to Mexican mistrust and resentment of the U.S Giving Salinas a Chance. To counter this, the Bush Administration must work together with the Salinas government to establish a basis for long-term agreement on regional objectives and security interests. Consensus and coordination on narcotics and migration issues need to be explored. The U.S also should maintain strong support for elements fighting pro-Soviet insurgencies in the countries neighboring Mexico.

While Mexico probably will continue to pursue anti-U.S. policies if it feels them to be in its best interest, Salinas should be taken up on his expressed willingness to improve and expand U.S.-Mexican relations. Whether he follows through, remains to be seen. Bush should give it a chance.

Michael G. Wilson Policy Analyst 12 No. 688 I The Heritage Foundation 21 4 Massachusetts Avenue N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 546-4400 January26,1989 a THE SECURlTY COMPONENT OF U.S.-1MExICO RELATIONS INTRODUCTION America faces an important se curity challenge on its southern border.

Mexico, with its 1,933-mile porous frontier with the United States, is second only to the Soviet Union in strategic importance to Washington. This is why George Bush's'first post-election meeting with a foreign lea der was with Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari in late November 1988.

For almost this entire century, the U.S. has been able to take for granted the security of its southern border. It has required nearly no military resources to protect. This c ould change. Instability in Mexico, or Mexican cooperation with such U.S. adversaries as the USSR, could force Washington to shift substantial economic and military resources from Western Europe and other regions to this hemisphere, and possibly require t h e presence of up to half a million U.S. troops to secure the southern border. Recent Mexican presidents have at times pursued policies inimical to U.S. security. These include support of leftist groups in Latin America, weak restrictions on Soviet bloc es p ionage activities, and ineffective efforts at combatting international narcotics trafficking and migration problems. Future potential U.S. security This is the tenth in a series of Heritage studies on Mexico. It was preceded by Buckgrounder No. 679;"A Rev i ew of 150 Years of U.S.-Mexican Relations October 31,1988 Buckgrounder No. 638 Evoludon of Mexican Foreign Policf (March 11,1988 Buckgrounder No. 611 Privatization in Mexico: Robust Rhetoric Anemic Reality October 22,1987 Buckgrounder No. 595 Keys to Unde r standing Mexico: The PAN'S Growth as a Real Opposition July 29,1987 Euckpunder No. 588 Deju Vu of Policy Failure: The New $14 Billion Mexican Debt Bailout June 25,1987 Buckgmunder No. 583 For Mexico's Ailing Economy, Time Runs Short June 4,1987 Buckground e r No. 581 Mexico's Many Faces" (May 19,1987 Buckgrounder No 575 Mexico: The Key Players April 4,1987 and Euc&grounder No. 573 Keys to Understanding Mexico Challenges to the Ruling PRI April 7,1987 Future papers will examine other aspects of Mexican policy and development Note: Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before Congress.r I concerns include the possibility for rising domestic political instability in the wake of Mexicos 1988 presidential elections and U.S. access to Mexican oil exports.

Mexico would pose a strategic threat to the U.S for example if a hostile or pro-Soviet government were to assume power, or if the country were besieged by leftist insurgents. In such a case, experts estimate that at least 10 million refugees could flee no r thward into the U.S.l Straining the Relationship. Since.World War II, Mexico has been transformed from a rural agricultural country into the worlds thirteenth largest economy. Mexico also has begun be increasingly active in international politics. This tr a nsformation, however, has been accompanied by a continuing spirit of Mexican anti-Yanquism and by an affirmation of specific views that are at odds with the U.S. This is straining the bilateral U.S.-Mexican relationship. If relations do not improve, Mexic o likely will continue supporting anti-U.S. causes, specifically in Central America and the Caribbean. As a result, U.S. security interests could be jeopardized To protect U.S. security interests and help strengthen U.S.-Mexican ties the Bush Administratio n should Schedule an early Bush-Salinas summit Create bilateral task forces to focus on such key security issues as leftist violence in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and immigration Expand U.S-Mexican military cooperation on such matters as borde r control, narcotics interdiction, and anti-terrorism training Discourage any increase in the number of Soviet bloc consulates in Mexico Continue to support anti-communist forces in Central and South America and encourage Mexico to work for democracy in Ni c aragua Attempt to steer Mexico away from its close relations with Cuba Encourage Salinas to continue his predecessors policy of distancing Mexico from-the communist guerrillas (FMLN) in El Salvador and its political arm, the Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR Seek Mexican assistance in helping bring democracy to Panama 1 Marian Lighton, Moscows Courtship of Mexico, Heritage Foundation Buckgrounder No. 660, July 5,1988 p. 15 2 Increase U.S.-Mexican cooperation in drug eradication and Expand the resources a vailable to the U.S. immigration authorities and aI interdiction programs a I border patrol US.-MEXICAN SECURITY CONCERNS Washingtons global strategy is based upon a secure southern flank.

Mexico with its population of 83 million, is the most crucial secto r of that flank. A stable and positive relationship with the Mexican government means that the U.S. can allocate its security resources elsewhere If Mexico were to suffer serious political turmoil or violence, U.S adversaries within and outside of Mexico c ould take advantage of it. This would require the U.S. to shift troops to its southern border from other crucial areas of the world. In jeopardy, moreover, could be the major Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean sea lanes through which move 55 percent of the crud e oil consumed by the U.S. and 45 percent of U.S. exports and imports. Equally important, these sea lanes would be needed for the resupply of Americas North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies in the event of a military crisis in Europe.

During a po litical crisis in Mexico, millions of refugees could flee towards the U.S. Under these conditions or if U.S. adversaries controlled Mexico, the U.S. likely would be faced with serious problems in impeding an increased flow of drugs, an escalation in crime , substantially increased costs for security and for social services, and stepped up Soviet bloc espionage activities.

Tire Soviet Unions Courtship of Mexico Mexicos proximity to the U.S. and its traditional policy of demonstrating its independence from the U.S. have made Mexico a target of Soviet interest.

Under Moscows two-track foreign policy strategy for dealing with key non-communist Third World countries, Moscow has political and economic links to Mexico but simultaneously encourages clandestine subversive activity against the Mexican government?

While Moscow has conducted normal diplomatic relation with the Mexican government, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union maintained close relations with the Mexican Communist Party (PCM), founded in 1919.

For the Kremlin, one of the functions of the Mexican communists now largely incorporated into and camouflaged by the Mexican Socialist Party PMS) and the pro-Moscow Socialist Peoples Party (PPS is to assist the Soviet espionage and propaganda apparatus op erating out of Mexico City 2 Michael G. Wilson, A Ten-Point Program to Block Soviet Advances in South America, Heritage Foundation Buckgrounder No. 658, June 22,1988 3 Training Terrorists. On occasion, however, Moscow has exploited other targets of opport u nity including violence. In the late 1960s and early 1970s for example, the Mexican government accused the Sozets of trsiiing and assisting factions of the Mexican extreme left engaging in subversive and terrorist activities. 3 Today, the Mexican Socialis t parties play an important policy making and ideological role in the National Democratic Front (FDN), a coalition of left-wing parties led by socialist Cuahtemoc Cardenas Solorzano. He is the son of Lazar0 Cardenas, Mexicos president in the 1930s who push e d for the full collectivism of the Mexican economy. The younger Cardenas has accepted many of the PMSs and PPSs key planks. Among them: providing political safe haven to revolutionary Marxist activists from other countries, a moratorium on Mexicos foreign debt repayments, opposing the privatization of state-owned enterprises, reducing oil exports to the U.S and encouraging a Mexican class ~truggle In last Julys Mexican presidential elections, Cardenas received 3 1 percent of the vote, seriously challenging the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in a presidential election for the first time since the PRIs establishment as the National Revolutionary Party in 19

29. The.PRI won with just over 50 percent Diplomatic Spies. Moscow has set up in Mex ico City one of the worlds largest and most active residencies of the KGB, the Soviet intelligence and espionage agency. The Mexico City embassy, one of Moscows largest outside of the Soviet bloc, is believed to house more than 200 Soviet diplomatic perso n nel. Of these, approximately 40 percent are affiliated with either the KGB or the Soviet militaty intelligence service (GRU). Assisted by their counterparts in the Cuban Intelligence service (DGI), the KGB ha developed a formidable potential for subvertin g the whole region.)Moscow also operates a consulate out of the Mexican port city of Veracruz and has in the past pressed the Mexican government to allow Soviet consulates in cities bordering the U.S. like Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Tijuana. Such pos t s would greatly bolster the KGBs intelligence gathering and infiltration of agents into the U.S Soviet trade with Mexico has risen from approximately $10 billion a year in the mid-1970s to near $30 billion annually in the mid-1980s. Indeed, in 1975 Mexico signed an agreement with the Soviet-controlled Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON becoming the first Latin American nation to do so. In 1983, the two nations established a Joint Commission for 3 For more information, see Sol W. Sanders, Maco: Chaos on Our Dmntep (London: Madison Books, 1986 pp. 121-122 4 Daniel James, Mexico-United States Report, Mexicos Democratic Revolution Begins, July 1988, p. 3 5 Leighton, op. cit p. 3 4 Economic Trade and Coordination. Under its auspices, the USSR has ag r eed to build two textile factories in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, near the U.S border. In return, Mexico has expressed interest in the joint manufacture of tractors, plans to send workers to the Soviet Union for technical training, and will sell pipes , steel products, and oil drilling equipment to the Soviets to be used in their petroleum industry!

Mexicos Ties to Cuba Just before leaving office, Mexican president Miguel de la Madrid visited Cuba in early November 19

88. This highlights Mexicos role a s one of Cubas closest friends in the Western Hemisphere. During his visit, de la Madrid awarded Fidel Castro the Aztec Eagle Medal, Mexicos highest civilian decoration. Mexicos relations with the Cuban dictator have been cooperative and cordial since the early days of the Cuban Revolution. In 1962, when the Organization of Ameri,can States (OAS) voted to expel Cuba for supporting subversive activities in the Americas, only Mexico refused to support the measure.

Close ties between Mexico City and Havana seem to have been formalized during Castros first visit to Mexico in 19

79. During meetings with Mexican President Lopez Portillo, the two leaders reached an understanding that their countries would work to establish closer bilateral relations and work for a new international economic order. Many observers believe that a secret deal was made between Castro and Portillo whereby Castro promised to refrain from sponsoring leftist revolutionary action within Mexico in return for a Mexican government pledge to l imit cooperation with the U.S?

Mexicos Support for Anti-U.S. Forces in Cenbnl America Mexican territory and provided them with materiel, diplomatic, and moral assistance. In the early days after the revolution, Mexico provided the Sandinista leadership wit h much-needed oil products, advisors, and technical and financial assistance. Without these, the Sandinistas might not have become the dominant faction in Nicaragua after the overthrow of Pre ident Anastasio Somozas forces by a broad antiSomoza coalition i n 1979 7 In the late 1970s, Mexico granted Nicaraguan Sandinista rebels refuge on 18 Buying Time for Managua. Mexico has assumed a leadership role in the Contadora Group of eight Latin American nations seeking to end the fighting in Central America. Conta d ora policies, which Mexico helped shape, bought Propaganda, 1986-87, August 1987, p. 65 7 James R. Whelan and Franklin A. Jaeckle, The Soviet Assault on Americas Southern Flank (Washington D.C Regnery Gateway, Inc, 1988 p. 225 8 James, op. cit p. 66 9 Lei ghton, op. cit 10 Jorge Salaveny, Evolution of Mexican Foreign Policy, Heritage Foundation Bac&punder No. 638, March 11,1988, p. 10 5time in which the Sandinistas built up their Soviet-equipped armed forces and aided the regions communist insurgencies.

In 1984, Mexico played a pivotal role in trying to persuade the Central American states to accept a draft Contadora treaty which could have disarmed the regions anti-communist groups, but which imposed no enforceable mechanism to monitor and halt Cuban, S o viet, and other communist bloc aid to the Sandinistas. The result: todays 120,000-man Sandinista military On the El Salvador situation, in 1981, Mexico declared support for the Cuban-backed Salvadoran guerrillas known as the Farabundo Marti Liberation Fro n t (FMLN) and its political arm, the Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR This was at a time when the proSoviet guerrillas were very close to toppling the Salvadoran government. Today Mexico City remains a major center for FMLN propaganda, espionage, and fu n d raising, although the Mexican government formally withdrew its backing of the F.MLN in 1984 Bailing Out Noriega. Regarding Panama, Mexico also raises U.S. security concerns. For over a year, Washington has been seeking ways to force Panamanian military strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega out of power.

However, in mid-April 1988, Mexico announced that it would guarantee oil supplies to Noriegas beleaguered regime despite U.S. attempts to put financial pressure on the dictator. Mexico agreed to waive immediat e payment on the oil, lower interest rates on the credit lines underpinning the transaction, and pospjone indefinitely collection of an overdue $23 million Panamanian oil bill removal of Noriega, viewing it as an act of Yanqui intervention Mexico has oppo s ed Washingtons efforts to ease the Outgoing Mexican President de la Madrid, however, did begin a retreat from his predecessors enthusiastic espousal of revolutionary and anti-American foreign policy causes in Central America. He not only cooled Mexicos su p port for the Sandinista regime in Managua, but also patched up diplomatic relations with the governments of President Jose Napoleon Duarte in El. Salvador and Vinicio Cerezo in Guatemala. By diminishing the level of Mexicos anti4J.S. rhetoric and reducing Mexican support for revolutionary groups in Central America, the de la Madrid administration hoped to obtain assistance from the U.S. in easing Mexicos $110 billion debt burden. Mexico also has been seeking greater access to U.S. markets for its products.

The Waron Narcotics TFfficking needless death in the U.S. and Mexico, but also threatens many of Latin Americas fragile democracies with its links to leftist guerrilla groups and The narcotics trade not only generates crime, corruption, terrorism, and 11 Sanders, op. cit p. 97 12 David Gardner, Mexico offers Panama a helping hanc Financial limes, April 27,1988, p. 4 6 4 sponsorship of corruption. And it causes bilateral U.S.-Mexican political tensions.

For Washington, Mexico is the most important country in the war on drugs.

The tremendous movement of people, legally and illegally, across the U.S.-Mexican frontier makes successful interdiction programs problematic.

Last year, over one-third of the marijuana, heroin, and cocaine entering the U.S. either o riginated in or was shipped through Mexico. In its 1987 report to Congress on the global narcotics situation, the Department of State declares that: Mexico continues to be the major single source country for the production, processing and traffkking of he r oin and marijuana entering the U.S Charges and Countercharges. The Mexicah government contends that it is not to blame for Americas drug problem. It charges that Washington is unwilling to take the measures to reduce greatly the U.S. domestic demand for i llegal drugs. The U.S however, blames Mexican internal corruption indifference, and a lack of cooperation in narcotics matters.

The harsh reality is that for segments of the Mexican population, as for much of Latin America, producing drugs is enormously pr ofitable: it earns foreign exchange, it adds to the gross national product, it is labor- rather than capital-intensive, it is produced with low-level technology, and it involves high-level political and military officials who often cannot be brought to tr ial.

Even so, Mexico has been taking action against drug traffickers. Mexicos Attorney Generals office spends approximately half of its budget combatting drug trafficking. Mexico has the largest eradication aviation fleet in the Third World, with 94 aircra ft.14 Yet even though one-quarter of Mexicos 125,000 active soldiers combat drug traffickers, the battle against drugs is hampered by payoffs, intimidation, and apathy. Observes a U.S. Drug Enforcement agent: corruption has penetrated all levels of the Me x ican government. Its lateral, its horizontal, and its total.15 Immigmtion As a Possible Threat to U.S. Security Of the nearly 4 million undocumented aliens living or working in the U.S approximately 2.5 million are Mexican. Traditionally, Mexican migratio n northward represented what Mexico City saw as a solution to Mexicos rapid population expansion and growing unemployment rate. Today, by contrast the Mexican government views it as a mixed blessing. While Mexico benefits from the remittances that Mexican w orkers in the U.S. send home and from the lessened strain on the Mexican economy, Mexico suffers from the loss of skilled labor. This is prompting Mexico to seek discussions with Washington on the migration problem 13 Jon Thomas, Mexico and Natcotics: A M u st- Wn Situation (Tempe: INCAMEX, 1988 pp. 2-3 14 M. Delal Baer, Mexico and the United States: Leadership and the Unfinished Agenda (Washington, D.C The Center For Strategic and International Studies, 1988 p. 43 15 Elaine Shannon Why Were Facing a World o f Noriegas, 77ae Wushington Post, October 23,1988, p. C4 7 For the U.S immigration stirs some controversy. The U.S. benefits, of course, from the infusion of skilled, cheap, and industrious labor. Yet some experts complain that illegal immigrants add to th e Southwests rapid population growth, crime, violence, and other problems. Whatever the validity of these arguments, the migration from Mexico has been manageable for the U.S.

This could change Flooding the U.S. If unrest in Mexico were to increase dramati cally, or if the Sandinistas in Nicaragua were to spread their revolution northward, the fears and uncertainties could spur, it is estimated, over 10 million Mexicans to seek refuge north of the porofis U.S.-Mexican border. This would create serious probl e ms for the U.S. Millions of new illegal immigrants could increase the flow of narcotics crossing the Rio Grande; could make it easier for Soviet bloc spies to enter the U.S. and gather intelligence; could provide cover for terrorists entering the U.S coul d overwhelm the ability of American communities near the border to provide housing, health, hygiene and other services; and could add significantly to crime.

Sealing the border would cost the U.S. billions perhaps tens of billions of dollars for barriers a nd sophisticated electronics and would take approximately half of the U.S. Armys divisions or around 500,000 troops.16 U.S.-MEXICAN SECURITY CONCERNS: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTNE Since Mexicos earliest days as a fledgling republic, its foreign policy has been based upon establishing and maintaining its independence from its giant neighbor to the north. What Mexico regards as its past traumas regarding relations with Washington still adversely affect U.S.-Mexican relations today.17 These, from the perspective w i dely accepted in Mexico, include the U.S.-Mexico war of 1846-1848, culminating with a U.S. victory that cost Mexico over 50 percent of its territory including what is now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of California, Colorado, and Utah A cordial U. S .-Mexican relationship developed during World War I1 and lasted through the 1960s. However in 1970, Luis Echeverria Alvarez was elected president. His leftist and anti-Yanqui policies antagonized the U.S over such security-related issues as closer relatio n s with Cuba and Salvador Allendes socialist government in Chile, as well as endorsing the Palestine Liberation Organization. Echeverrias successor, Jose Lopez Portillo continued these leftist, anti-U.S. policies by supporting communist elements in El Salv a dor and Nicaragua 16 Leighton, op. cit p. 15 17 James, op. cit p. 62 8 ELEVEN Miguel de la Madrid, who took office in 1982, partially reversed Mexico's extreme leftward trends and attempted to improve U.S.-Mexican ties. Ronald Reagan and de la Madrid met s ix times and sought agreement, though often unsuccessfully on such security related issues as narcotics control immigration, and political tensions in Central America.18 OINTS TO PROMOTE US.-MEXICAN SECURITY To protect U.S. security interests and improve U .S.-Mexican bilateral relations the Bush Administration should 1) Schedule an early Bush-Salinas summit. The two leaders should focus on drug interdiction, border control, the turmoil in Central America U.S.-Mexican trade, and Mexico's debt. Above all, Bu s h must explore means of expanding and improving U.S. ties with the Mexican government. Possibly Salinas will offer suggestions and opportunities for doing so 2) Identify leverage by which the U.S. could prod Mexico to cooperate on geopolitical and securit y matters. While U.S. ability to assist Mexico with its 110 billion debt may be the most obvious lever Washington has to influence the Salinas government, the Bush Administration should not be tempted to use it to gain geopolitical and security concessions . U.S. economic assistance to Mexico should be leveraged solely to prod the Mexican government to introduce free market reforms in the Mexican economy. This alone offers Mexico the way to solve its chronic economic problems. To influence the Salinas govern m ent on geopolitical and security matters, the Bush Administration must devise non-economic forms of leverage and suasion 3) Create bilateral task forces to focus on key security issues To identify where cooperation can be increased and bilateral security p romoted, the U.S and Mexico should create joint task forces to study policy options. Such task forces, for instance, could address issues like the violence in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and immigration. Bimonthly meetings meanwhile, should be scheduled between U.S. National Security Council and Pentagon personnel and senior Mexican officials from their Secretariats of Foreign Affairs, National Defense, and Attorney General's Office to discuss security concerns with respect to Mexico and Mexico ' s concerns with respect to the U.S 4) Expand U.S.-Mexican military cooperation. The Soviet Union already has demonstrated its willingness to expand military relations with Mexico. A Soviet naval task force, for example, had been scheduled to call at the M e xican port of Veracruz in 1985; it took consi erable U.S. pressure to the Mexican armed forces, the U.S. should seek to take advantage of the cancel the visit. To counter a possible expansio d in Soviet influence within 18 For more information, see, Esthe r Wilson Hannon A Review of 150 Years of U.S Mexidn Relations,"

Heritage Foundation Backpunder No. 679, October 31,1988 9 Mexican militarys determination to modernize. Traditionally, the Mexican armed forces have been very nationalist and inward looking, m aking bilateral military cooperation problematic. Salinas, however, has stated that one of his goals is to build a more modem, better equipped Mexican military.

The U.S. could be helpful. Since World War n, the Mexican armed forces have exchanged small nu mbers of military officers with the U.S. for training and education. Currently, there are 72 Mexican military students studying and training in the U.S. at places such as Ft. Benning, Georgia and the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In the past two years, Mexico also has purchased a limited amount of U.S.-manufactured F-5 fighter jets, C-130 transports, howitzers, and jeeps. Last year, Mexico was allocated $225,000 worth of U.S.-sponsored International Military Education and Training IMET) assis t ance, a U.S. government grant program that provides technical training and personal contact between U.S. and Latin American military professionals. While the Salinas government likely will be hesitant to accept significant increases in U.S.-Mexican milita r y cooperation, the Bush Administration should make the offer. Washington should propose joint military maneuvers, expanded education and training programs for Mexican military officers, and increased arms sales. At the very least, Washington should seek t o expand border patrol, narcotics interdiction, and anti-terrorism training with the Mexican military 5) Press the Mexican Government to deny Soviet bloc requests for more consulates and trade missions in Mexico. The Mexican government has allowed the Sovi e t, Cuban, and East European embassies, consulates, and trade missions in Mexico to coordinate and support communist parties and guerrilla activities in the Caribbean Basin. These diplomatic missions also coordinate espionage activities against the U.S.19 C urrently there are dozens of Soviet bloc embassies, consulates, and trade missions in Mexico; by contrast, the U.S. has only nine consulates in Mexico plus its Mexico City embassy. Soviet bloc nations have been seeking permission to open new consulates in Mexican cities bordering the U.S such as Matamoros and Ciudad Juarez. U.S. pressure so far has convinced the Mexican government to deny these requests. Limiting the number of Eastern bloc consulates and trade missions in Mexico would impede Soviet access t o U.S. border areas and hinder clandestine capabilities throughout the Caribbean 6) Continue to support anti-communist forces in Central America. U.S backing of the Democratic Resistance (the Contra) in Nicaragua helps block the spread of insurgent activi t y northward towards Mexico and the U.S border. What most threatens Mexican and US. hemispheric security indeed is the growing turmoil in Central America. For Mexico, this could lead to a massive influx of Central American refugees and to increased leftist political agitation and violence at home. It thus serves Mexicos interests, as those of the U.S for the gains made by the fledgling democracies in El Salvador 19 Howard J. Wiarda and Mark Falcoff, The Communist Challenge in the Coribbean and Central Ameri c a Washington, D.C American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1987 p. 110 10 Guatemala, and Honduras to be consolidated and defended against communist aggression. Washington must make it clear to Mexico that the key threat to these governmen t s is Nicaragua and the guerrilla movements which it supports in other Central American countries 7) Encourage the Salinas government to continue President de la Madrids policy of distancing Mexico from El Salvadors communist guerrillas. Over the past deca d e, Mexico has given money to Salvadors Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR) and the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN allowed an FDR-FMLN government in exile to operate out of Mexico, and attempted to mediate in behalf of the communist alliance. This backing, however, was muted somewhat by de la Madrid. A general desire by the Salinas government to improve its image in Washington and relations with the U.S. should be incentive to embrace de la Madrids greater caution in supporting radicals in Central A merica. The appointment of Fernando Solana, a moderate, as Mexicos new Foreign Secretary may already have set the tone for greater restraint in the region 8) Attempt to steer Mexico away from its close relations with Cuba. For three decades, Mexicos polic y toward Cuba has been cordial, while Washington has sought to isolate the Castro regime. At times, it has appeared that Mexico even has been crafting its foreign policy to satisfy Havana. The U.S. should work with its democratic allies in Latin America to encourage Mexico to rethink relations with Castro. As a start, the U.S. could encourage Mexico and its neighbors to focus more on Cubas human rights record. The U.S. ambassador to Mexico should meet with Salinas specifically to discuss this issue 9) Seek M exican cooperation in bringing democracy to Panama. The U.S and Mexico could work together to help bring democracy to Panama. The only way Panamanian dictator General Manuel Antonio Noriega can be forced from power, short of military intervention, is for h im to be confronted by strong multinational diplomatic and economic pressure. At the very least the U.S. should encourage the Salinas government to withdraw its economic and rhetorical support from the Noriega regime 10) Increase U.S.-Mexican cooperation i n drug eradication and interdiction. Washington should applaud publicly Mexicos efforts in drug interdiction, while continuing to demonstrate concern over the corruption and violence that permeates Mexicos anti-drug efforts. The U.S. should seek to improv e U.S.-Mexican anti-narcotics capabilities by increasing and expanding the financial and technical assistance given to the Mexican government. To combat drug dealers and cultivators effectively, Mexico needs materiel such as helicopters, airplanes, radar e q uipment, herbicides and patrol boats. Washington then should ask Mexico for U.S. overflight and hot pursuit rights, expanded port-call privileges for U.S. ships, and streamlined extradition procedures 11 I i 11) Expand U.S. immigration and border patrol c apabilities. The U.S.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 is designed to stop illegal immigration and penalize those who employ illegal immigrants. This law should be strictly enforced. These efforts also should be combined with an increase in the n umber of border patrol personnel from about 5,000 currently to 7,500, deployment of greater numbers of patrol aircraft, and an increase in funding for surveillance materiel such as radars and night vision equipment CONCLUSION Mexico will continue to pose an important security challenge to the U.S.

The security interests of both nations are increasingly threatened by such problems as the turmoil in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and illegal immigration. The accession of Carlos Salinas de Gortari to Mexico's presidency, however, may provide the Bush Administration with an opportunity to improve bilateral relati.ons and generate agreement on security issues.

Linked by a porous 1,933-mile border, Mexico and the U.S. are separated by distinct political systems, cultures, languages, and wide disp arities in wealth and population. These differences, combined with a difficult historical relationship, have strained relations between the two governments. Mexico's misunderstanding of Washington's actions and foreign policy goals in the Americas have le d to Mexican mistrust and resentment of the U.S Giving Salinas a Chance. To counter this, the Bush Administration must work together with the Salinas government to establish a basis for long-term agreement on regional objectives and security interests. Con sensus and coordination on narcotics and migration issues need to be explored. The U.S also should maintain strong support for elements fighting pro-Soviet insurgencies in the countries neighboring Mexico.

While Mexico probably will continue to pursue anti -U.S. policies if it feels them to be in its best interest, Salinas should be taken up on his expressed willingness to improve and expand U.S.-Mexican relations. Whether he follows through, remains to be seen. Bush should give it a chance.

Michael G. Wilson Policy Analyst 12 688 I January 26,1989 INTRODUCTION THE SEcuRlTyC0lMpo"T OF UoSo-lMExICO RELATIONS America faces an important security challenge on its southern border.

Mexico, with its 1,933-mile porous frontier with the United States, is second only to the Soviet Union in strategic importance to Washington. This is why George Bush's first post-election meeting with a foreign leader was with Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari in late November 1988.

For almost this entire century, the U.S. ha s been able to take for granted the security of its southern border. It has required nearly no military resources to protect. This could change. Instability in Mexico, or Mexican cooperation with such U.S. adversaries as the USSR, could force Washington t o shift substantial economic and military resources from Western Europe and other regions to this hemisphere, and possibly require the presence of up to half a million U.S. troops to secure the southern border. Recent Mexican presidents have at times pursu e d policies inimical to U.S. security. These include support of leftist groups in Latin America, weak restrictions on Soviet bloc espionage activities, and ineffective efforts at combatting international narcotics trafficking and migration problems. Future potential U.S. security This is the tenth in a series of Heritage studies on Mexico. It was preceded by Bac& /p>

under No. 679 A Review of 150 Years of U.S.-Mexican Relations October 31,1988 Buc&grounder No. 638 Evolution of Mexican Foreign Policy March 11,19 88 Backgrounder No. 611 Privatization in Mexico: Robust Rhetoric Anemic Reality October 22,1987 Buckgrounder No. 595 Keys to Understanding Mexico: The PAN'S Growth as a Real Opposition July 29,1987 Buc&grounder No. 588 Deju Vu of Policy Failure: The New $ 1 4 Billion Mexican Debt Bailout June 25,1987 Buckgrounder No. 583 For Mexico's Ailing Economy, Time Runs Short June 4,1987 Buckgrounder No. 581 Mexico's Many Faces" (May 19,1987 Backgrounder No 575 Mexico: The Key Players April 4,1987 and Buckgrounder No. 573 Keys to Understanding Mexico Challenges to the Ruling PRI April 7,1987 Future papers will examine other aspects of Mexican policy and development.

No. 688 I The Heritage Foundation 214 Massachusetts Avenue N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002-4999 (202) 546-4400 January 26,1989 THESEcuRFI'yCOMPO"I'0F UoSo-MEXKO RELATIONS INTRODUCTION America faces an important security challenge on its southern border.

Mexico, with its 1,933-mile porous frontier with the United States, is second only to the Soviet Union in stra tegic importance to Washington. This is why George Bush's first post-election meeting with a foreign leader was with Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari in late November 1988.

For almost this entire century the U.S. has been able to take for grant ed the security of its southern border. It has required nearly no military resources to protect This could change. Instability in Mexico, or Mexican cooperation with such U.S. adversaries as the USSR, could force Washington to shift substantial economic a n d military resources from Western Europe and other regions to this hemisphere, and possibly require the presence of up to half a million U.S. troops to secure the southern border. Recent Mexican presidents have at times pursued policies inimical to U.S. s e curity. These include support of leftist groups in Latin America, weak restrictions on Soviet bloc espionage activities, and ineffective efforts at combatting international narcotics trafficking and migration problems. Future potential U.S. security This i s the tenth in a series of Heritage studies on Mexico. It was preceded by Backpounder No. 679 A Review of 150 Years of US.-Mexican Relations October 31,1988 Ba&punder No. 638 Evolution of Mexican Foreign Policy March 11,1988 Backgmunder No. 611, "Privatiz a tion in Mexico: Robust Rhetoric Anemic Reality October 22,1987 Bac&g?vunder No. 595 Keys to Understanding Mexico: The PAN'S Growth as a Real Opposition July 29,1987 Backgmunder No. 588 Deju Vu of Policy Failure: The New $14 Billion Mexican Debt Bailout Ju n e 25,1987 Backgmunder No. 583 For Mexico's Ailing Economy, Time Runs Short" (June 4,1987 Backgmunder No. 581, "Mexico's Many Faces May 19,1987 Backpounder No 575 Mexico: The Key Players April 4,1987); and Backpunder No. 573 Keys to Understanding Mexico Ch a llenges to the Ruling PRI April 7,1987 Future papers will examine other aspects of Mexican policy and development Note: Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation or as an attempt to aid or hinde r the passage of any bill before Congress. concerns include the possibility for rising domestic political instability in the wake of Mexicos 1988 presidential elections and U.S. access to Mexican oil exports.

Mexico would pose a strategic threat to the U.S for example, if a hostile or pro-Soviet government were to assume power, or if the country were besieged by leftist insurgents. In such a case, experts estimate that at least 10 million refugees could flee northward into the U.S.l Straining the Relations h ip. Since World War lI, Mexico has been transformed from a rural agricultural country into the worlds thirteenth largest economy. Mexico also has begun be increasingly active in international politics. This transformation, however, has been accompanied by a continuing spirit of Mexican anti-Yanquismand by an affirmation of specific views that are at odds with the U.S. This is straining the bilateral U.S.-Mexican relationship. If relations do not improve, Mexico likely will continue supporting anti-U.S. cau s es, specifically in Central America and the Caribbean. As a result, U.S. security interests could be jeopardized To protect U.S. security interests and help strengthen U.S.-Mexican ties the Bush Administration should Schedule an early Bush-Salinas summit C reate bilateral task forces to focus on such key security issues as leftist violence in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and immigration Expand U.S-Mexican military cooperation on such matters as border control, narcotics interdiction, and anti-ter r orism training Discourage any increase in the number of Soviet bloc consulates in Mexico Continue to support anti-communist forces in Central and South America and encourage Mexico to work for democracy in Nicaragua Attempt to steer Mexico away from its c l ose relations with Cuba Encourage Salinas to continue his predecessors policy of distancing Mexico from the communist guerrillas (FMLN) in El Salvador and its political arm, the Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR Seek Mexican assistance in helping bring d emocracy to Panama 1 Marian highton, Moscows Courtship of Mexico, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 660, July 5,1988 p. 15 2 Increase U.S.-Mexican cooperation in drug eradication and Expand the resources available to the U.S. immigration authorities an d interdiction programs border patrol U.S.-MEXICAN SECURITY CONCERNS Washington's global strategy is based upon a secure southern flank.

Mexico with its population of 83 million, is the most crucial sector of that flank. A stable and positive relationship with the Mexican government means that the U.S. can allocate its security resources elsewhere If Mexico were to suffer serious political turmoil or violence, U.S adversaries within and outside of Mexico could take advantage of it. This would require the U . S. to shift troops to its southern border from other crucial areas of the world. In jeopardy, moreover, could be the major Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean sea lanes through which move 55 percent of the crude oil consumed by the U.S. and 45 percent of U.S. ex p orts and imports. Equally important, these sea lanes would be needed for the resupply of America's North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies in the event of a military crisis in Europe During a political crisis in Mexico, millions of refugees could flee towards the U.S. Under these conditions or if U.S. adversaries controlled Mexico, the U.S. likely would be faced with serious problems in impeding an increased flow of drugs, an escalation in crime, substantially increased costs for security and for s ocial services, and stepped up Soviet bloc espionage activities TIre Soviet Union's Courtship of Mexico Mexico's proximity to the U.S. and its traditional policy of demonstrating its independence from the U.S. have made Mexico a target of Soviet interest.

Under Moscow's two-track foreign policy strategy for dealing with key non-Communist Third World countries, Moscow has political and economic links to Mexico but simultaneously encourages clandestine subversive activity against the Mexican government?

While Moscow has conducted normal diplomatic relation with the Mexican government, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union maintained close relations with the Mexican Communist Party (PCM founded in 1919.

For the Kremlin, one of the functions of the Mexic an communists now largely incorporated into and camouflaged by the Mexican Socialist Party PMS) and the pro-Moscow Socialist People's Party (PPS is to assist the Soviet espionage and propaganda apparatus operating out of Mexico City 2 Michael G. Wilson A T en-Point Program to Block Soviet Advances in South America Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 658, June 22,1988 3 Training Terrorists. On occasion, however, Moscow has exploited.other targets of opportunity, including violence In the late 1960s and earl y 1970s for example, the Mexican government accused the Soviets of training and assisting factions of the Mexican extreme left engaging in subversive and terrorist activities 3 Today, the Mexican Socialist parties play an important policy making and ideolo g ical role in the National Democratic Front (FDN a coalition of left-wing parties led by socialist Cuahtemoc Cardenas Solorzano. He is the son of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexicos president in the 1930s who pushed for the full collectivism of the Mexican economy. T h e younger Cardenas has a accepted many of the PMSs and PPSs key planks. Among them: providing political safe haven to revolutionary Marxist activists from other countries, a moratorium on Mexicos foreign debt repayments, opposing the privatization of stat e -owned enterprises, reducing oil exports to the U.S., and encouraging a Mexican class struggle.A In last Julys Mexican presidential elections, Cardenas received 3 1 percent of the vote, seriously challenging the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in a presidential election for the first time since the PRIs establishment as the National Revolutionary Party in 19

29. The PRI won with just over 50 percent.

Diplomatic Spies. Moscow has set up in Mexico City one of the worlds largest and most ac tive residencies of the KGB, the Soviet intelligence and espionage agency. The Mexico City embassy, one of Moscows largest outside of the Soviet bloc, is believed to house more than 200 Soviet diplomatic personnel. Of these, approximately 40 percent are a f filiated with either the KGB or the Soviet military intelligence service (GRU). Assisted by their counterparts in the Cuban Intelligence service (DGI), the KGB hy developed a formidable potential for subverting the whole region. Moscow also operates a con s ulate out of the Mexican port city of Veracruz and has in the past pressed the Mexican government to allow Soviet consulates in cities bordering the U.S. like Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Tijuana. Such posts would greatly bolster the KGBs intelligence gathering and infiltration of agents into the U.S Soviet trade with Mexico has risen from approximately $10 billion a year in the mid-1970s to near $30 billion annually in the mid-1980s. Indeed, in 1975 Mexico signed an agreement with the Soviet-controlle d Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), becoming the first Latin American nation to do so. In 1983, the two nations established a Joint Commission for pp. 121-122 4 Daniel James, Mexico-United States Report, Mexicos Democratic Revolution Begins , July 1988, p. 3 5 Leighton, op. cir p. 3 4 Economic Trade and Coordination. Under its auspices, the USSR has agreed to build two textile factories in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, near the U.S border. In return, Mexico has expressed interest in the joi n t manufacture of tractors, plans to send workers to the Soviet Union for technical training, and will sell pipes, steel products, and oil drilling equipment to the Soviets to be used in their petroleum industry Mexicos Ties to Cuba Just before leaving off ice, Mexican president Miguel de la Madrid visited Cuba in early November 19

88. This highlights Mexicos role as one of Cubas closest friends in the Western Hemisphere. During his visit, de la Madrid awarded Fidel Castro the Aztec Eagle Medal, Mexicos high est civilian decoration. Mexicos relations with the Cuban dictator have been cooperative and cordial since the early days of the Cuban Revolution. In 1962, when the Organization of American States (OAS) voted to expel Cuba for supporting subve ive activit ies in the Americas, only Mexico refused to support the measure 7 Close ties between Mexico City and Havana seem to have been formalized during Castros fist visit to Mexico in 19

79. During meetings with Mexican President Lopez Portillo, the two leaders re ached an understanding that their countries would work to establish closer bilateral relations and work for a new international economic order. Many observers believe that a secret deal was made between Castro and Portillo whereby Castro promised to refra i n from sponsoring leftist revolutionary action within Mexico in return for a Mexican government pledge to limit cooperation with the U.S Mexicos Support for Anti4J.S. Forces in Cenkal America In the late 197Os, Mexico granted Nicaraguan Sandinista rebels r efuge on Mexican territory and provided them with materiel, diplomatic, and moral assistance. In the early days after the revolution, Mexico provided the Sandinista leadership with much-needed oil products, advisors, and technical and financial assistance . Without these, the Sandinistas might not have become the dominant faction in Nicaragua after the overthrow of President Anastasio Somozas forces by a broad anti-Somoza coalition in 1979.1 Buying Time for Managua. Mexico has assumed a leadership role in t h e Contadora Group of eight Latin American nations seeking to end the fighting in Central America. Contadora policies, which Mexico helped shape, bought 6 United States Department of State, Soviet Influence Activities: A Report on Actiw Measures and Propag a nda, 1986-87, August 1987, p. 65 7 James R. Whelm and Franklin A. Jaeckle, The Soviet Assault on Americas Southern Flank (Washington D.C Regnery Gateway, Inc., 1988 p. 225 8 James, op. cit p. 66 9 Leighton, op. cir 10 Jorge Salaverry, Evolution of Me%ican Foreign Policy, Heritage Foundation Backpnder No. 638, March 11,1988, p. 10 5 time in which the Sandinistas built up their Soviet-equipped armed forces and aided the regions communist insurgencies In 1984, Mexico played a pivotal role in trying to persuad e the Central American states to accept a draft Contadora treaty which could have disarmed the regions anti-communist groups, but which imposed no enforceable mechanism to monitor and#ilt Cuban, Soviet, and other communist bloc aid to the Sandinistas. The result: todays 120,000-man Sandinista military.

On the El Salvador situation, in 1981, Mexico declared support for the Cuban-backed Salvadoran guerrillas known as the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN) and its political arm, the Democratic Revolutiona ry Front (FDR This was at a time when the pro-Soviet guerrillas were very close to toppling the Salvadoran government. Today Mexico City remains a major center for FMLN propaganda, espionage, and fund raising, although the Mexican government formally with drew its backing of the FMLN in 1984 Bailing Out Noriega. Regarding Panama, Mexico also raises U.S. security concerns. For over a year, Washington has been seeking ways to force Panamanian military strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega out of power.

However, in mid-April 1988, Mexico announced that it would guarantee oil supplies to Noriegas beleaguered regime despite U.S. attempts to put financial pressure on the dictator. Mexico agreed to waive immediate payment on the oil, lower interest rates on the credit lines underpinning the transaction, and pos one indefinitely collection of an overdue $23 million Panamanian oil bill removal of Noriega, viewing it as an act of Yanqui intervention.

B Mexico has opposed Washingtons efforts to ease the Outgoing Mexican Pre sident de la Madrid, however, did begin a retreat from his predecessors enthusiastic espousal of revolutionary and anti-American foreign policy causes in Central America. He not only cooled Mexicos support for the Sandinista regime in Managua, but also pa t ched up diplomatic relations with the governments of President Jose Napoleon Duarte in El Salvador and Vinicio Cerezo in Guatemala. By diminishing the level of Mexicos anti-U.S. rhetoric and reducing Mexican support for revolutionary groups in Central Ame rica, the de la Madrid administration hoped to obtain assistance from the U.S. in easing Mexicos $110 billion debt burden. Mexico also has been seeking greater access to U.S. markets for its products.

The Wtuon Nmoties Twfiking needless death in the U.S. a nd Mexico, but also threatens many of Latin Americas fragile democracies with its links to leftist guerrilla groups and The narcotics trade not only generates crime, corruption, terrorism, and 11 Sanders, op. cif p. 97 12 David Gardner, Mexico offers Pana ma a helping hand, FinunciuZ 7imes, April 27,1988, p. 4 6 sponsorship of corruption. And it causes bilateral U.S.-Mexican political tensions.

For Washington, Mexico is the most important country in the war on drugs.

The tremendous movement of people, legally and illegally, across the U.S.-Mexican frontier makes successful interdiction programs problematic.

Last year, over one-third of the marijuana, heroin, and cocaine entering the U.S. either originated in or was shipped through Mexico. In its 1987 repor t to Congress on the global narcotics situation, the Department of State declares that: Mexico continues to be the major single source country for the production, processing and trafficking of heroin and marijuana entering the U.S Charges and Countercharg e s. The Mexican government contends that it is not to blame for Americas drug problem. It charges that Washington is unwilling to take the measures to reduce greatly the U.S. domestic demand for illegal drugs. The U.S however, blames Mexican internal corru ption indifference, and a lack of cooperation in narcotics matters.

The harsh reality is that for segments of the Mexican population, as for much of Latin America, producing drugs is enormously profitable: it earns foreign exchange, it adds to the gross national product, it is labor- rather than capital-intensive, it is p r oduced with low-level technology, and it involves high-level political and military officials who often cannot be brought to trial Even so, Mexico has been taking action against drug traffickers. Mexicos Attorney Generals office spends approximately half o f its budget combatting drug trafficking. Mexico has the largest eradication aviation fleet in the Third World, with 94 aircraft.14 Yet even though one-quarter of Mexicos 125,000 active soldiers combat drug traffickers, the battle against drugs is hampere d by payoffs, intimidation, and apathy. Observes a U.S. Drug Enforcement agent: corruption has penetrated all lev 1s of the Mexican government. Its lateral, its horizontal, and its total.

Immigrdon As a Possible TIrreat to U.S. Security Of the nearly 4 mil lion undocumented aliens living or working in the U.S approximately 2.5 million are Mexican. Traditionally, Mexican migration northward represented what Mexico City saw as a solution to Mexicos rapid population expansion and growing unemployment rate. Tod a y, by contrast the Mexican government views it as a mixed blessing. While Mexico benefits from the remittances that Mexican workers in the U.S. send home and from the lessened strain on the Mexican economy, Mexico suffers from the loss of skilled labor. T h is is prompting Mexico to seek discussions with Washington on the migration problem lf 13 Jon Thomas, Merico and Narrotics: A Must-Wn Situation (Tempe: INCAMEX, 1988 pp. 2-3 14 M. Delal Baer, Mako and the United States: Leadership and the Unfinished Agend a (Washington, D.C The Center For Strategic and International Studies, 1988 p. 43 15 Elaine Shannon Why Were Facing a World of Noriegas, The Washington Post, October 23,1988, p. C4 7 For the U.S immigration stirs some controversy. The U.S. benefits, of cou r se from the infusion of skilled, cheap, and industrious labor. Yet some experts complain that illegal immigrants add to the Southwests rapid population growth, crime, violence, and other problems. Whatever the validity of these arguments, the migration fr om Mexico has been manageable for the U.S.

This could change Flooding the U.S. If unrest in Mexico were to increase dramatically, or if the Sandinistas in Nicaragua were to spread their revolution northward, the fears and uncertainties could spur, it is es timated, over 10 million Mexicans to seek refuge north of the porous U.S.-Mexican border. This would create serious problems for the U.S. Millions of new illegal immigrants could increase the flow of narcotics crossing the Rio Grande; could make it easier for Soviet bloc spies to enter the U.S. and gather intelligence; could provide cover for terrorists entering the U.S could overwhelm the ability of American communities near the border to provide housing, health, hygiene and other services; and could add s ignificantly to crime Sealing the border would cost the U.S. billions perhaps tens of billions of dollars for barriers and sophisticated electronics and would take approximately half of the U.S. Armys divisions or around 500,000 troops?6 U.S.-MEXICAN SECU R ITY CONCERNS: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Since Mexicos earliest days as a fledgling republic, its foreign policy has been based upon establishing and maintaining its independence from its giant neighbor to the north. What Mexico regards as its past traumas r egarding relations with Washington still adversely affect U.S.-Mexican relations today.17 These from the perspective widely accepted in Mexico, include the U.S.-Mexico war of 1846-1848, culminating with a U.S. victory that cost Mexico over 50 percent of i t s territory including what is now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of California, Colorado, and Utah A cordial U.S.-Mexican relationship developed during World War II and lasted through the 1960s. However in 1970, Luis Echeverria Alvarez was elected p resident. His leftist and anti-Yanqui policies antagonized the U.S over such security-related issues as closer relations with Cuba and Salvador Allendes socialist government in Chile, as well as endorsing the Palestine Liberation Organization. Echeverrias successor, Jose Lopez Portillo continued these leftist, anti-U.S. policies by supporting communist elements in El Salvador and Nicaragua 16 Leighton, op. eit p. 15 17 James, op. eit p. 62 8 Miguel de la Madrid, who took office in 1982, partially reversed M exicos extreme leftward trends and attempted to improve U.S.-Mexican ties. Ronald Reagan and de la Madrid met six times and sought agreement, though often unsuccessfully on such security related issues as narcotics control immigration, and political tensi o ns in Central America.18 To protect U.S. security interests and improve U.S.-Mexican bilateral 1) Schedule an early Bush-Salinas summit. The two leaders should focus on drug interdiction, border control, the turmoil in Central America U.S.-Mexican trade, a nd Mexicos debt. Above all, Bush must explore means of expanding and improving U.S. ties with the Mexican government. Possibly Salinas will offer suggestions and opportunities for doing so relations, the Bush Administration should i 2) Identie leverage by which the U.S. could prod Mexico to cooperate on geopolitical and security matters. While U.S. ability to assist Mexico with its 110 billion debt may be the most obvious lever Washington has to influence the Salinas government, the Bush Administration sho u ld not be tempted to use it to gain geopolitical and security concessions. U.S. economic assistance to Mexico should be leveraged solely to prod the Mexican government to introduce free market reforms in the Mexican economy. This alone offers Mexico the w a y to solve its chronic economic problems. To influence the Salinas government on geopolitical and security matters, the Bush Administration must devise non-economic forms of leverage and suasion ELEVEN POINTS TO PROMOTE US.-MEXICAN SECURITY 3) Create bila t eral task forces to focus on key security issues. To identi where cooperation can be increased and bilateral security promoted, the U.S and Mexico should create joint task forces to study policy options. Such task forces, for instance, could address issue s like the violence in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and immigration. Bimonthly meetings meanwhile, should be scheduled between U.S. National Security Council and Pentagon personnel and senior Mexican officials from their Secretariats of Foreign A ffairs, National Defense, and Attorney Generals Office to discuss security concerns with respect to Mexico and Mexicos concerns with respect to the U.S 4) Expand U.S.-Mexican military cooperation. The Soviet Union already has demonstrated its willingness t o expand military relations with Mexico. A Soviet naval task force, for example, had been scheduled to call at the Mexican port of Veracruz in 1985; it took considerable U.S. pressure to cancel the visit. To counter a possible expansion in Soviet influenc e within the Mexican armed forces, the U.S. should seek to take advantage of the 18 For more information, see, Esther Wilson Hannon, A Review of 150 Years of U.S Mexican Relations Heritage Foundation Bacwunder No. 679, October 31,1988 9 Mexican militarys d e termination to modernize. Traditionally, the Mexican armed forces have been very nationalist and inward looking, making bilateral military cooperation problematic. Salinas, however, has stated that one of his goals is to build a more modem, better equippe d Mexican military.

The U.S. could be helpful. Since World War II, the Mexican armed forces have exchanged small numbers of military officers with the U.S. for training and education. Currently, there are 72 Mexican military students studying and training in the U.S. at places such as Ft. Benning, Georgia and the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In the past two years, Mexico also has purchased a limited amount of U.S.-manufactured F-5 fighter jets, C-130 transports, howitzers, and jeeps. Last ye a r, Mexico was allocated 225,000 worth of U.S.-sponsored International Military Education and Training IMET) assistance, a U.S. government grant program that provides technical training and personal contact between U.S. and Latin American military professi o nals. While the Salinas government likely will be hesitant to accept significant increases in U.S.-Mexican military cooperation, the Bush Administration should make the offer. Washington should propose joint military maneuvers, expanded education and trai n ing programs for Mexican military officers, and increased arms sales. At the very least, Washington should seek to expand border patrol, narcotics interdiction, and anti-terrorism training with the Mexican military 5) Press the Mexican Government to deny S oviet bloc requests for more consulates and trade missions in Mexico. The Mexican government has allowed the Soviet, Cuban, and East European embassies, consulates, and trade missions in Mexico to coordinate and support communist parties and guerrilla act i vities in the Caribbean Basin. These diplomatic missions also coordinate espionage activities against the U.S.19 Currently there are dozens of Soviet bloc embassies, consulates, and trade missions in Mexico; by contrast, the U.S. has only nine consulates i n Mexico plus its Mexico City embassy. Soviet bloc nations have been seeking permission to open new consulates in Mexican cities bordering the U.S such as Matamoros and Ciudad Juarez. U.S. pressure so far has convinced the Mexican government to deny these requests. Limiting the number of Eastern bloc consulates and trade missions in Mexico would impede Soviet access to U.S. border areas and hinder clandestine capabilities throughout the Caribbean 6) Continue to support anti-communist forces in Central Amer i ca. U.S backing of the Democratic Resistance (the Contras) in Nicaragua helps block the spread of insurgent activity northward towards Mexico and the U.S border. What most threatens Mexican and U.S. hemispheric security indeed is the growing turmoil in Ce n tral America. For Mexico, this could lead to a massive influx of Central American refugees and to increased leftist political agitation and violence at home. It thus serves Mexicos interests, as those of the U.S for the gains made by the fledgling democra c ies in El Salvador I Washington, D.C American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1987 p. 110 10 Guatemala, and Honduras to be consolidated and defended against communist aggression. Washington must make it clear to Mexico that the key threat to these governments is Nicaragua and the guerrilla movements which it supports in other Central American countries 7) Encourage the Salinas government to continue President de la Madrids policy of distancing Mexico from El Salvadors communist guerrillas. Over the past decade, Mexico has given money to Salvadors Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR) and the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN allowed an FDR-FMLN government in exile to operate out of Mexico, and attempted to mediate in behalf of the commu n ist alliance. This backing, however, was muted somewhat by de la Madrid. A general desire by the Salinas government to improve its image in Washington and relations with the U.S. should be incentive to embrace de la Madrids greater caution in supporting r a dicals in Central America. The appointment of Fernando Solana, a moderate, as Mexicos new Foreign Secretary may already have set the tone for greater restraint in the region 8) Attempt to steer Mexico away from its close relations with Cuba. For three dec ades, Mexicos policy toward Cuba has been cordial, while Washington has sought to isolate the Castro regime. At times, it has appeared that Mexico even has been crafting its foreign policy to satis

Havana. The U.S. should work with its democratic allies i n Latin America to encourage Mexico to rethink relations with Castro. As a start, the U.S. could encourage Mexico and its neighbors to focus more on Cubas human rights record. The U.S. ambassador to Mexico should meet with Salinas specifically to discuss t his issue 9) Seek Mexican cooperation in bringing democracy to Panama. The U.S and Mexico could work together to help bring democracy to Panama. The only way Panamanian dictator General Manuel Antonio Noriega can be forced from power, short of military in t ervention, is for him to be confronted by strong multinational diplomatic and economic pressure. At the very least the U.S. should encourage the Salinas government to withdraw its economic and rhetorical support from the Noriega regime 10) Increase U.S.-M e xican cooperation in drug eradication and interdiction. Washington should applaud publicly Mexicos efforts in drug interdiction, while continuing to demonstrate concern over the corruption and violence that permeates Mexicos anti-drug efforts. The U.S. sh o uld seek to improve U.S.-Mexican anti-narcotics capabilities by increasing and expanding the financial and technical assistance given to the Mexican government. To combat drug dealers and cultivators effectively, Mexico needs materiel such as helicopters, airplanes, radar equipment, herbicides and patrol boats. Washington then should ask Mexico for U.S. overflight and hot pursuit rights, expanded port-call privileges for U.S. ships, and streamlined extradition procedures 11 11) Expand U.S. immigration and border patrol capabilities. The U.S.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 is designed to stop illegal immigration and penalize those who employ illegal immigrants. This law should be strictly enforced. These efforts also should be combined with an in crease in the number of border patrol personnel from about 5,000 currently to 7,500, deployment of greater numbers of patrol aircraft, and an increase in funding for surveillance materiel such as radars and night vision equipment CONCLUSION Mexico will co ntinue to pose an important security challenge to the U.S.

The security interests of both nations are increasingly threatened by such problems as the turmoil in Central America, narcotics trafficking, and illegal immigration. The accession of Carlos Salina s de Gortari to Mexicos presidency, however, may provide the Bush Administration with an opportunity to improve bilateral relations and generate agreement on security issues.

Linked by a porous 1,933-mile border, Mexico and the U.S. are separated by disti nct political systems, cultures, languages, and wide disparities in wealth and population. These differences, combined with a difficult historical relationship, have strained relations between the two governments. Mexicos misunderstanding of Washingtons a c tions and foreign policy goals in the Americas have led to Mexican mistrust and resentment of the U.S Giving Salinas a Chance. To counter this, the Bush Administration must work together with the Salinas government to establish a basis for long-term agree m ent on regional objectives and security interests. Consensus and coordination on narcotics and migration issues need to be explored. The U.S also should maintain strong support for elements fighting pro-Soviet insurgencies in the countries neighboring Mex ico.

While Mexico probably will continue to pursue anti-U.S. policies if it feels them to be in its best interest, Salinas should be taken up on his expressed willingness to improve and expand U.S.-Mexican relations. Whether he follows through, remains to be seen. Bush should give it a chance.

Michael G. Wilson Policy Analyst 12

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