Posts Tagged ‘Patricia Espinosa’

Beginning with a brief history of U.S. Latin American policy from the Cold War to the current administration, Hillary

A.  Cites Clinton administration initiatives:

  1. The first Summit of the Americas in 1994,
  2. The successful anti-narcotrafficking and anti-guerrilla Plan Colombia,
  3. The restoration of the democratically elected Bertrand Aristede to his post in Haiti;

B. Credits the George W. Bush administration for the Merida (anti-drug) initiative and continued support of Plan Colombia, but cites left v. right wing point of view of that  prevented that administration from broadening cooperation with our neighbors to the south;

C. Cites President Obama’s promise, in his April 2009 Summit of the Americas speech, of a new “equal partnership” relationship with the region and a fairer Cuba policy.

She does not mention this encounter with Hugo Chavez at that summit, but the picture is priceless.


She choose Mexico as her starting point to implement the new policy.  She was familiar with the border area from her 1972 campaign experiences there. She and her then campaign colleague Bill Clinton had gone south of the border to a beach on a recovery vacation  after the election.


She had fond memories of Mexico, but attacks on consulates in 2008 and 2010, the last with murders involved, indicated the dangers civil servants faced. Her first trip to Mexico as secretary of state was in March 2009.  Patricia Espinosa is one of several strong Latin American women leaders with whom she formed a strong bond.

Hillary Clinton in Mexico with Women Leaders and Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa

She doesn’t mention this but I shall.  She surprised the rector at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe with an unscheduled visit the morning of her second day there.  He was delighted.  That day she also held a round table with indigenous students from community colleges, visited an industrial plant, and then gave the speech in Monterrey at TecMilenio University that she does refer to in her book.  It was a spectacular two days that we celebrated here.

Hillary Clinton in Mexico Day 2

This was the Mexico visit she refers to when President Calderon was furious over the wikileaks and demanded that Ambassador Pascual be replaced – said he could no longer work with him.  She states that Pascual resigned in March 2011.  If anyone tries to tell you that wikileaks caused no damage, be skeptical.  This was only the tip of a very large and damaging iceberg.  Thank heaven Hillary had a great relationship with Patricia Espinosa and with the Mexican people.

Hillary Clinton in Mexico

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa

Secretary Clinton’s Interview With Denise Maerker of Televisa

Secretary Clinton’s Interview With Rossana Fuentes of CNN en Espanol


As a model for Mexico, she suggests Colombia and reviews the Clinton administration effort called Plan Colombia, a joint effort of her husband’s administration with then President Pastrana.  The initiative continued and expanded under the Bush administration, but human rights issues arose.  The Obama administration continued the plan but with additional work on governance, education, and development.

Her first visit to Colombia as secretary of state happened to coincide with a visit Bill Clinton was making there.  It was the first time they were together on foreign soil since she had assumed her post.  They actually managed a dinner date and a peaceful evening walk through Bogota.  She remarks on the contrast with the violence of the past.

Bill and Hillary Clinton: The Tryst

In her meeting with President Uribe the following day he also comments upon the dramatic security progress in the capital.

Secretary Clinton’s Joint Press Availability with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe

This morning, I was saying to some members of the media that were here (inaudible) that the best PR for confidence in Colombia is that last night, the Madam Secretary of State of the United States and the president, Bill Clinton, were in a restaurant in Bogota with complete peace of mind enjoying this beautiful city and its good restaurants. Some years ago, because of terrorism, this would have been unthinkable. Your visit, the fact that you spent the night in Bogota, the frequent visits by President Clinton, those are a great show of confidence in Colombia and the fact that one can have confidence in Colombia.


Uribe was near the end of his term at this point.  His successor, Juan Manuel Santos continued the progress and improvement continues, she states.

Hillary attended the presidential inauguration in El Salvador in June 2009 that dovetailed with the Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial Summit.



Hillary Clinton at the Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial in El Salvador

Hillary Clinton Op-Ed: New Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas

A model  she suggests for conquering poverty in Latin America is Brazil’s conditional cash tranfer programs.  Dating back to the 1990s under President Cardoso and expanded by President Lula da Silva, it transfers cash to parents as a reward for keeping children in school and under proper pediatric supervision.  Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff was inaugurated on January 1, 2011, and Hillary was happy to be there there.

Secretary Clinton at the Inauguration of Dilma Rousseff

She encountered Chavez there again.

She departed El Salvador for Honduras where she attended CARICOM and the OAS Summit.

Hillary Clinton at CARICOM Breakfast

There was suspense and high drama at the June 2009 OAS summit.  Several members intended to put forth a resolution to readmit Cuba.  The proponents were the predictable suspects, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, and Mel Zelaya of Honduras was also leaning that way.  More moderate countries like Chile and Brazil were considering approval.  Cuba was not represented at the summit and had expressed no interest.  The concern was that if a vote was called a simple 2/3 majority could and might approve since Cuba was originally excluded based on outdated Cold War standards.

The U.S. strategy involved updating the standards to focus on democracy and human rights and to require that the petition be presented by the Cuban government rather than by proxy.  There was also a timing issue since Hillary was scheduled to fly to Cairo to attend the much-anticipated speech Obama was to deliver there.

The vote was not called before Hillary had to leave, but the U.S. compromise plan did prevail.  Castro reacted by refusing to petition for readmission.


Press Statement: OAS Resolution

 In December 2009 the Castro regime arrested USAID worker Alan Grossman.  Hillary says one of her biggest regrets is that she was not able to bring him home.  Before leaving office she recommended reassessing the Cuba embargo and shifting the onus to the Cuban government.

In mid-June, (she does not mention this, but I will)  Hillary slipped in the State Department parking garage and fractured her elbow.   I add this because a subsequent  press briefing refers to it.

Hillary’s Fractured Elbow

In late June 2009, just weeks after Hillary had been at OAS in San Pedro Sula, the democratically-elected president of Honduras, Mel Zelaya,  was arrested and put, in his pajamas, on a plane to Costa Rica.  His wife and daughters requested refuge at our embassy residence and Hillary ordered that they be kept safe.  The President of the National Congress Roberto Micheletti, assumed power.  U.S. aid was suspended (by law) as was OAS membership.

Hillary Clinton: Situation in Honduras

Here she spoke at length about the coup in Honduras.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is seen in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington

Hillary Clinton’s Press Briefing After Breaking Her Elbow

On July 7, Zelaya made his way to D.C. and visited Hillary at the State Department.  She had recruited Costa Rica’s President Óscar Arias to mediate.  Zeleya accepted mediation and from that point all that came before was wiped clean.  It was a new playing field.  Hillary stipulates that she made the announcement alone so as not to appear to Micheletti as if Zelaya was being favored.


Hillary Clinton: Remarks at the Top of the Daily Press Briefing

Zelaya remained in exile.  Arias was encountering a hard line on both sides and was in favor of restoring Zelaya to power based on principles.   Allowing the de facto government to stay would, he said,  have a domino effect across the region.

In September, Zelaya returned to the State Department.  There were no remarks or press briefings, only this photo.  Immediately afterwards he turned up at the Brazilian Embassy in San Pedro Sula.

At the end of October a unity agreement was in place.  The Honduran Congress voted not to restore Zelaya.  He went to the Dominican Republic.  November elections were held and Porfirio Lobo was elected.  Many OAS countries disagreed with this solution, but in May 2011 Honduras was readmitted.

Hillary Clinton Hails Return of Honduras to OAS


It was, Hillary notes, the first time in Central American history that a coup was resolved democratically.  She concludes that the trend in Latin American is toward democracy, shared opportunities, positive partnerships, and innovation.


Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>


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For four years we have watched her in bilaterals, ministerials, summits, and conferences with her former Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinosa.  Here they were on Mme. Secretary’s first trip to Mexico as Secretary of State in March 2009.

US Secretary of State Clinton shakes hands with Mexican Foreign Secretary Espinosa after a news conference at the foreign ministry in Mexico City

Today, on her penultimate day at the State Department, she welcomed Patricia’s successor.  As of Friday, the ladies will both have turned the reins of State and the secretariat over to the gents.  Here she was today with Mexico’s new Foreign Secretary,  Jose Antonio Meade.

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Remarks With Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
The Treaty Room
Washington, DC
January 30, 2013

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is such a treat for me to welcome the new Foreign Secretary of Mexico. Secretary Meade is no stranger to Washington having served previously as finance minister and been very active on many issues that are of mutual concern to our two countries. But this is my last official bilateral meeting, and I cannot even imagine a better opportunity than to meet with you and to have a chance to discuss some of the issues that will be worked on and carried on by my successor and by you.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MEADES: Thank you. It’s a great pleasure for me to meet you here. Basically we’re wanting in this meeting to convey all the gratitude that we have for all the good things that Secretary Clinton has constructed for Mexico for the relationship. It’s a good time to take stock, it’s a good time to look where we are and what we can construct with her successor. But we basically wanted to thank her for what she has done for Mexico. She is very important and well loved, and I am sure that that will continue to be the case with her successor.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Secretary Meade. Thank you all. Thank you.


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Mme. Secretary  began the  month on foreign travel,  most of it her typical country-a-day routine, to countries engaged in disputes over rights in the South China Sea.  It was a particularly hectic trip with a lot of bilaterals that would have been less necessary had the Law of the Sea Convention not been killed by the Tea Party members of Congress.

September is always a heavy month for a secretary of state with the U.N. General Assembly convening at the New York headquarters.  For this particular SOS it has always been even busier since her husband simultaneously runs his Clinton Global Initiative in NYC,  and she always makes an appearance.   This year was altogether heavier than in the past since it was an election year and the president stayed only a short time and left her in charge in his wake.  She acted as head-of-state through most of UNGA this year.

Punctuating all of this were demonstrations and riots at embassies in the Middle East and North Africa.  The American School in Tunis was destroyed, and of course there was the deadly attack on the consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Here are some pictures from September starting with her visit to the Cook Islands.


On the third she was in Indonesia.

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On the fourth she left Indonesia for China following a stop at Embassy Jakarta and a visit to the ASEAN Secretariat.


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She remained in china through the fifth.

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She was in Timor-Leste on the sixth when her husband addressed the Democratic Convention in Charlotte.  Somehow they managed to find an internet connection for her to be able to watch.

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The same day she arrived in Brunei, the first top U.S. diplomat to visit all 10 ASEAN countries.


From there she traveled to Vladivostok, Russia (birthplace of Yul Brynner) where she and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov signed a cooperation agreement.

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She attended and spoke at an APEC conference.

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She left Russia on the ninth for D.C. and although she had no public events on the 11th, we later learned from State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland that she was indeed at her office late into that night when the attack on the consulate occurred.  The next day the sad aftermath rolled out from the Rose Garden of the White House to the State Department where devastated colleagues mourned the dead.

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On the 14th, the coffins came home.  She and President Obama were at the transfer  ceremony.

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The 18th was “Ladies’ Day”  at the State Department.  She welcomed  Aung San Suu Kyi and held a signing ceremony with her Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinosa.

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As world leaders began to arrive in the U.S. for UNGA, there were events in D.C.


And on the 23rd it was off to UNGA and CGI in New York where her September ended.

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When the General Assembly convened, it was clear how much she would be missed on the world stage.

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Here is the archive for September 2012.

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Remarks With Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Patricia Espinosa After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
September 18, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone. And it is such a pleasure for me to welcome my friend and colleague, Secretary Espinosa, along with a very distinguished delegation of officials from the Mexican Government for this continuation of consultation at the highest levels of each of our governments.Before I turn to the matters discussed today, let me give a brief update on the ongoing U.S. response to the protests in the Middle East and elsewhere. I’m sure as you know already, we are taking aggressive steps to protect our staffs in embassies and consulates worldwide. That includes reviewing our security posture at every post and augmenting it where necessary. And we are working closely with the Libyan Government in our efforts to bring to justice those who murdered our four American colleagues in Benghazi.

The FBI is now in Tripoli to join the investigation with Libyan officials, and there is nothing more important to us than ensuring the safety of our American representatives worldwide. At the same time, as I have said to State Department employees, the incidents of the past week highlight how important our work is. The United States must and will remain strongly engaged in the world. Our men and women risk their lives in service to our country and our values, because they know that the United States must be a force for peace and progress. That is worth striving and sacrificing for, and nothing that happened last week changes this fundamental fact.

Now, turning to our friends and partners in Mexico, we are always pleased to have a chance to discuss matters of mutual interest and concern between us. Mexico is one of our closest friends as well as partner on dozens of critical issues. So we talk about every kind of issue you can imagine, from education and healthcare to poverty alleviation to the environment. But today, we focused on a top priority for us both – security.

We just co-chaired the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Mexico Merida High-Level Consultative Group. This is the last one we will hold during the Calderon Administration. And I want to offer my personal appreciation to President Calderon and to Foreign Secretary Espinosa for their leadership and commitment to this partnership and to all on both sides of the border in our governments who have been deeply engaged and committed to it. The Merida Initiative represents an unprecedented level of security cooperation between Mexico and the United States.

As our countries continue to deal with the serious challenge of transnational criminal organizations, including drug traffickers, illegal arms traffickers, money launderers, and violent gangs that threaten people on both sides of the border, we well know there is no quick and easy way to stop these criminals and bring them to justice. But nevertheless, during the past now nearly four years, our countries have collaborated to an extraordinary and unprecedented degree. We have brought together policy makers and experts from across our governments and societies who have worked hand in hand to keep our people safe. And I think the habits of cooperation we have built are among our most important achievements, and we will rely on them for a long time to come.

Today, our delegations reviewed the gains we’ve made on key priorities, including improving law enforcement coordination, reducing the demand for drugs, modernizing our border infrastructure, strengthening the rule of law, and building more resilient and empowered communities. We also discussed the lessons we’ve learned and the work that lies ahead in these and other areas, which our joint statement will reflect. I want to underscore how important our security relationship with Mexico is to the United States.

The Government of Mexico and the Mexican people have faced the threat posed by these criminals with courage and resolve, and we remain committed to doing everything we can to support Mexico as it continues to work to bring those criminals to justice. This is a transnational problem, and it calls for a transnational solution, and the United States believes this is a matter of shared responsibility. That was the first message I brought as Secretary of State when I came to Mexico, and it continues to be the hallmark of our efforts together. Making sure our people are safe and our neighbors are safe is of the utmost importance to us.

Now, our two countries share many other priorities, and one of them, empowering women and girls, was also addressed today. We took the opportunity, the Foreign Secretary and I, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between our countries to work together to advance gender equality, empower girls and women, promote their human rights, and enhance their security.

So again, Secretary Espinosa, let me thank you for years of work and effort, for our productive conversations in many places around the world and again today, and for being such a valuable colleague and partner. The United States deeply, deeply values our relationship with Mexico and the ties of family and friendship that connect so many millions of our people.

And we look forward to the future. We believe strongly that presidential administrations may change, elections will come and go, but we have established a firm foundation for cooperation that has already benefited both our countries and which will continue to benefit both of our countries for many years ahead. So thank you very much.


MS. NULAND: We’ll take (inaudible), Margaret Brennan, CBS News.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thanks for your time. Are you any closer to finding who killed Ambassador Chris Stevens? Libya’s President says this attack was planned for months. Are you confident he’s wrong and that security measures were appropriate? And will you leave justice to the Libyans?

SECRETARY CLINTON: As I said at the outset, we are taking aggressive steps to protect our people and our consulates and embassies around the world. We are reviewing our security posture at every post and working with host governments to be sure they know what our security needs are wherever necessary. We are also working closely with the Libyan Government to bring the perpetrators to justice so that we can be assured that we have found who murdered our four colleagues and under what circumstances. As I said, the FBI has joined the investigation inside Libya, and we will not rest until the people who orchestrated this attack are found and punished.

It is also important to look at this strategically and understand what is going on across the region. In a number of places where protests have turned violent, we are seeing the hand of extremists who are trying to exploit people’s inflamed passions for their own agendas. But overwhelmingly, we have found that the people of Egypt, of Libya, of Yemen and Tunisia are not prepared to trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. They want to turn their attention to the future to provide better opportunities for themselves and their children, and they want a strong partnership with the United States and the American people based on mutual interests and mutual respect.

This is part of a larger debate that is going on inside these societies. In Libya, for example, in their first free elections, moderates were successful at the polls. But look, there are extremists in all of these societies and on the outside who are working to take advantage of broad outrage in order to incite violence and specifically incite violence against Americans and American facilities.

And as I have said to many of the leaders I have spoken to over the past week, these extremist efforts are a threat to the people of the societies and the governments of those societies as well as to the region and the United States. And I think it’s important at this moment for leaders to put themselves on the right side of this debate – to speak out clearly and unequivocally against violence, whoever incites it or conducts it.

And in a struggle like this, there can be no doubt where the United States must stand. We support those who are fighting for the same values and rights that we believe in – in democracy, in freedom, in universal rights for men and women, for justice and accountability. And I want to underscore that the United States will continue to work with partners and allies in the region and around the world to help bring security to these nations so that the promise of the revolutions that they experienced can be realized.

And finally, on your specific point about Benghazi, we obviously never talk publicly about security at any of our missions for obvious reasons. But that said, let me assure you that our security in Benghazi included a unit of host government security forces, as well as a local guard force of the kind that we rely on in many places around the world. In addition to the security outside the compound, we relied on a wall and a robust security presence inside the compound. And with all of our missions overseas, in advance of September 11th, as is done every year, we did an evaluation on threat streams. And the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has said we had no actionable intelligence that an attack on our post in Benghazi was planned or imminent.
But let me state the obvious again. Our diplomats engage in dangerous work, and it’s the nature of diplomacy in fragile societies and conflict zones to be aware of the necessity for security but to also continue the important diplomatic work that has to go on. There is risk inherent in what we do and what these brave men and women representing the United States are up against every single day, and we do our very best to limit that risk by ensuring that our security protocols reflect the environments in which diplomats work and the threats that they are presented with.

Thank you.

MS. NULAND: Last one today, Santiago (inaudible) from (inaudible), please.

QUESTION: Yes. For both of you, thank you for your time. As both governments are reaching their end, which is a bigger challenge that incoming government have to deal with regarding bilateral security issues? And also, if you can give us an update of the Tres Marias incident, what kind of measure are you taking to prevent these kinds of incidents and to promote more trust, more confidence, and more law enforcement in both sides of the border?

FOREIGN SECRETARY ESPINOSA: (Via interpreter) As we said, we’ve undertaken a review of the cooperation that has taken place under the framework of the Merida Initiative, and we have reached an agreement that we need to continue this broad cooperation based on the principles of shared responsibility, mutual trust, and justice for both countries and the respect for the sovereignty of both countries. And we’ve also agreed on the fact that this cooperation scheme that has yielded great benefits domestically for both countries, which has in turn made us more effective in the fight against transnational organized crime.

And so we’ve agreed, in this sense, to conduct a review of the progress that we’ve achieved in all areas and also to develop a roadmap that will guide our work into the future, which Mexico – this current Administration and Mexico will present to the incoming administration as a suggestion/recommendation for their work.

As to the issue of Tres Marias, you are all aware – well aware of the fact that Mexico, from the very first moment, and its government has pointed out that we deeply regret this incident. At the same time, we have reiterated our willingness and our interest to – on behalf of the Government of Mexico – to conduct an exhaustive investigation, an investigation that will shed light on the facts and that will allow us to apply punishment to those responsible and bring them before the law.

We have also expressed our willingness to undertake ongoing engagement and dialogue with U.S. authorities in this case, and in all cases under the purview of our law enforcement authorities.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me emphasize how much progress has occurred in the last three and a half-plus years with the Merida Initiative and enhanced cooperation regarding security between our two countries. The United States has invested more than $1 billion in equipment training and capacity building since the Merida Initiative began. And the Mexican Government has brought even more of its resources to bear on combating drug trafficking, criminal cartels, as well as improving judicial and correction institutions. And we expect that this high level of cooperation and this belief in shared responsibility will continue in the next Mexican administration.

And we regret any incident of violence wherever it occurs – inside Mexico, on our borders, or inside our own country. And we will continue to work closely to investigate these tragic incidents and try to come to conclusions about who is responsible and use our legal systems to hold them accountable.

Thank you all very much.

FOREIGN SECRETARY ESPINOSA: (Via interpreter) Thank you.

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Remarks at the Signing of the U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Agreement


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Los Cabos, Mexico
February 20, 2012

Good morning. It’s a great pleasure to be here for the signing of this groundbreaking agreement. And I am honored that President Calderon is here with us. Thank you, sir, for being here. It is under your leadership and the leadership of President Obama that we pursue this important agreement. And I want to thank my friend and colleague, Secretary Espinosa, with whom I have worked very closely over the last years, for all of her important participation. And thanks, too, to Secretary Herrera and Secretary Salazar and all of our teams who worked tirelessly to achieve this.

I often say that foreign policy must deliver concrete results for the people of our countries, and today we are doing just that – following through on the commitment that Presidents Calderon and Obama made in 2010 to improve energy security for both countries and to ensure a safe, efficient, responsible exploration of the oil and gas reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico.

At a time when we are working hard to both secure energy supplies and shift to more environmentally appropriate means of extracting fossil fuels, but also adding immeasurably to our search for renewable energy, this agreement is a win-win. These reservoirs could hold considerable reserves that would benefit the United States and Mexico alike.

But they don’t necessarily stop neatly at either of our maritime boundaries, which could lead to disputes that would then interfere with our countries and companies doing the hard work of discovering what is available to us. If a reservoir straddles the boundary, then there would be disputes over who should do the extraction and how much they should extract. The agreement we sign today helps prevent such disputes. It also helps promote the safe, efficient, and equitable exploration and production of cross-boundary reservoirs. Each country maintains its own right to develop its own resources.

But this agreement creates new opportunities. And for the first time, American companies will be able to collaborate with PEMEX, their Mexican counterpart. In tough times like these, we need to make the most of every opportunity to create jobs, to foster economic growth and energy security, while managing our resources and our environment responsibly for future generations.

Our actions today are further proof of how Mexico and the United States come together to solve shared challenges. From our earliest days, the Gulf of Mexico has been a source of unity for our peoples and our countries. And the steps we are taking today will help make sure it remains that way for decades to come.

Again, thank you very much to all who helped make this agreement a reality. (Applause.)

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Organized by Mexico’s Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, the inaugural meeting of foreign ministers of G-20 nations and other selected invitees  will not bear the heft and influence of  traditional G-20s,  but will follow a less formal protocol.  No major policy decisions will be made,  no seminal communiques will be issued, and the focus will be on broad non-financial global issues. As outlined by a senior State Department official today,

“This is going to focus on broad non-financial global issues, some of which have been discussed by G-20 leaders in the past, but some of which are new to the G-20 process or at least have not been emphasized to any great degree, including some broad economic governance issues, some environmental issues, development policy, and green growth….”

Secretary Clinton is expected to address a number of themes about which she has spoken in depth over that past year including include protections, regulations, subsidies to either state-owned or state-supported companies, and intellectual property piracy.

The official went on to state:

“… this, really, is designed to say look, in the 21st century, a lot of the barriers to trade, a lot of the distortions to trade, are not the ones that we’re focused on largely in the 20thcentury, which were at the border. Many of these are behind the border measures that tend to distort trade, tend to distort investment, work to the disadvantage not only of American companies but of other private sector companies around the world. So we’re not saying we’re forcing you or encouraging you to play by rules that we come up with, that we dictate. What we’re simply saying is that there are global rules. These global rules and norms have been established for years, and it’s very important for players in the global system to play by global rules and adhere to global norms. So this is one of the major themes that she’s going to talk about in terms of economic governance and will focus on in her initial comments.

Then, there are going to be other sessions in which she’s going to highlight the following subjects. One, the fight against climate change, specifically the initiative on short-term pollutants that she launched yesterday, and she’ll emphasize the importance of a positive outcome to the Rio+20 summit, which all of you know is something we’ve been working very hard on here in the Department and other agencies of government also. She’ll also address the need to ensure freedom of navigation and maritime security to promote a well-functioning global economy. And she’ll also address some governance issues like fight against corruption and bribery.”

He went on to note that Mme. Secretary will be leaving the conference prior to the final session because she must get back to Washington because

“… the next day she has the first-ever Global Business Conference that she is going to be hosting, where we have representatives, business leaders, business facilitators from over a hundred countries coming to Washington to discuss global business issues, trade, investment, and the global rules for improving the global system to enhance business opportunities for American companies, and indeed, the global system as a whole. So, that’s another event.”

Yes, it is, and it is another week without a weekend to rest. (Just sayin’.) HRC’s diligence is simply amazing. I did see an unsubstantiated report from a foreign source that she will be traveling next weekend as well to attend a conference on Syria. She works so hard. The senior spokesperson did make this point in his remarks.

“… the reason the Mexicans called this is to have the opportunity for these ministers to reflect on important challenges facing the global community. And as you see, the kinds of things she’ll be discussing are challenges that face the global community, and her leadership in this process is very important at this meeting and it will strengthen our voice in various fora going forward on these types of issues.”

I simply cannot see who is going to fill those little kitten heels when she leaves!

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Remarks With Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 29, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, this is a particular delight for me to welcome back a friend and a colleague of great distinction. The minister and I have closely collaborated together for the entire time that I have been Secretary of State. And I want to thank her and thank the Government of Mexico for the very important work we are doing together between our two countries and also for Mexico’s leadership on so many regional and global issues. So welcome again.

FOREIGN MINISTER ESPINOSA: Thank you. Thank you, Secretary. I want to say I’m delighted to be back here. Today, we’re having a very important meeting. I have come with a big group of the members of the cabinet in Mexico. We will review our cooperation in many areas, and particularly the areas of security. And this is an area where we have been given clear instructions by the presidents to work together. This is the only way that we will be able to face the challenges in this area. So thank you very much, my friend, and I want to say also I appreciate enormously Mrs. Clinton’s friendship and the way she has supported our work together, not only bilaterally, but also in regional and global matters. Thank you.

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Public Schedule for April 29, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
April 29, 2011

9:30 a.m.  Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, at the Department of State.

10:40 a.m.  Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, at the Department of State.

11:00 a.m.  Secretary Clinton participates in the U.S.-Mexico Merida High Level Consultative Group meeting with Mexican Foreign Minister Espinosa, at the Department of State.

12:50 p.m.  Secretary Clinton hosts a working lunch for the U.S.-Mexico Merida High Level Consultative Group with Mexican Foreign Minister Espinosa, at the Department of State.

3:00 p.m.  Secretary Clinton attends a meeting at the White House.

5:30 p.m.  Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto, at the Department of State.

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Readers here know that it is rare for me to post news about Secretary Clinton from sources other than the State Department. I like to be certain and take the information from the primary source. Rarer still, in fact possibly never before here, is a post about a blog entry. Whether the author is a big name or, like me, small change hiding behind a screen name, many bloggers offer not news, but opinion.

Tonight I am making a rare exception. Greta Van Susteren has stuck her neck out big time, and I want to recognize and support her courage in doing so. Her blog post popped up on one of my news feeds, and it deserves attention.  Here is an excerpt.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is 100 % right and President Obama and President Calderone are both 100 % wrong

…Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has traveled to Mexico (we / ON THE RECORD at 10pm went with her once to Mexico or maybe twice) and knows what is going on there as well as any US official.   I wish the President would listen to what she has to say.  She has seen with her own eyes.  Secretary Clinton, after a trip to Mexico, said something like Mexico is like Columbia of 20 years ago and BOTH President Obama and President Calderone rebuked her for that statement.  She is 100 % right — the two Presidents are trying to sugar coat the situation. The two Presidents are 100 % wrong – Mexico IS like Columbia of 20 years ago (or maybe worse.)

I have read attacks on Greta by Hillary followers, but I have to say that I have never heard or read an unfair statement about Hillary from her. I appreciate that she has stepped up to the plate for Hillary on this issue. What she says is true.

Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State has been to Mexico at least four times that I can think of. The only approaches to the border that President Obama has made have been campaign stops.  The speech he recently made in Tucson amounted to a campaign speech also. It is his Secretary of State who has been involved with this issue deeply along with her Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinosa and the task forces they have from their departments studying this problem.

So thank you, Greta, for standing up for Hillary’s statement and for providing the evidence that she is indeed correct!

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Remarks With Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa

Press Availability

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Alhondiga de Granaditas, Guanajuato, Mexico
January 24, 2011

MODERATOR: (In Spanish.)


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very, very much, Secretary Espinosa. And it is a great pleasure and an honor to be here for this bilateral meeting. I very much looked forward to this visit and I learned that you, yourself, personally, have a connection to Guanajuato in a way that makes it even more special to me. So thank you for inviting me and our delegation to have this important meeting here, and I want to also thank the governor and the mayor who welcomed me at the airport.

Before I begin, I want to express a very strong condemnation of today’s terrorist attacks at the Moscow Airport. We stand with the people of Russia in this moment of sorrow and grief, and we offer both our condolences and our very strong solidarity as they continue the struggle that so many of us face in combating and eliminating this international terror threat.

Closer to Mexico, and especially here, I just learned that Bishop Samuel Ruiz, a native son, has passed away. And I was told by my colleagues that he was a tireless mediator who sought reconciliation and justice through dialogue, and that is exactly the legacy that should be honored and the example that should be followed.

We have just had a very productive meeting, as we always do. I have to publicly thank the secretary for the excellent cooperation, partnership, and friendship that she and I have developed during my two years as Secretary of State. I think it reflects the commitment by our two presidents. Both President Obama and President Calderon, are very committed to this relationship, which we consider one of the most important in the world. And both President Obama and I have been very impressed by President Calderon’s courage and leadership, and we are very heartened by his commitment to a stronger U.S.-Mexico relationship and partnership. And it is because of our commitment at the highest levels of our government that we are here today discussing in a very open way all of the issues between us and working on enhancing our cooperation to produce results that will benefit both the people of Mexico and the people of the United States.

Mexico is not only an important bilateral partner. Mexico is a regional and global leader. We see that every single day. We saw it most especially at the recent Cancun climate talks. Our two nations worked together not only as neighbors but as partners in meeting the global climate challenge. And thanks in large part to President Calderon’s leadership and Secretary Espinosa’s chairmanship, Mexico played the central role in achieving a consensus agreement that proved the skeptics wrong and broke important new ground on the path toward a cleaner, more secure energy future.

Mexico is also playing an important role here in the region. We spoke at length about Haiti. We are jointly urging the Haitian Government to honor the recommendations of the Organization of American States as Haiti prepares to hold a second round of elections. We also spoke about how we can do more bilaterally to enhance clean energy and deal with climate change. We are working to extend our efforts against transnational crime into Central America to give the people of Central America more support and security.

We are deepening our economic ties. We are enhancing the global competitiveness of our two countries. Now, I know it doesn’t make the headlines, but in the last two years we’ve had so many positive developments between the United States and Mexico: three new border crossings – two in Texas, one in Arizona – that are enhancing the more than $1 billion worth of trade that cross our border every day. We are working to make sure that we are going to be positioned to play a very big role in North America in the 21st century economy. Mexico will be hosting the G-20 in 2012. Mexico played a very important role, under President Calderon’s leadership, in helping to guide the global economy through very difficult times over the last two years.

We are committed to this relationship on every single level. And we are following through on the declaration by both of our presidents on 21st century border management. We’re exploring ways to inspect and clear legitimate goods away from border stations. We are trying to do more on our side of the border to prevent money laundering and illegal arms coming in to Mexico. We are working with our counterparts in each of our governments to create trucking policies that reduce transit costs and enhance safety on our roads. We discussed ways to use the $1 billion in available financing from Ex-Im Bank to Banobras to build Mexican infrastructure and create jobs in both countries. We also have new ideas, using both of our governments to create more small businesses, to work on projects together in high tech, green jobs, and clean energy technology.

Now, we also cooperate not only in the economic realm, but in the education realm, the health realm, and so much else. And certainly, when it comes to security, we have shared interests. We are taking decisive steps to address our common security challenges. President Obama and I, from my very first visit to Mexico, have been frank about the fact that our countries share responsibility. The United States has been willing, under President Obama, to admit that we have a responsibility for some of the very difficult transnational organized crime challenges that Mexico is dealing with. That is why it is important for us to work closely together to halt the stream of illegal weapons and cash coming in one direction and drugs going in the other direction.

Beginning with the Merida Initiative, moving into the beyond Merida phase, our two countries have redoubled our efforts to stop drug trafficking and organized crime. This year, we have committed to deliver $500 million in equipment and capacity building to the Government of Mexico. That includes $60 million for nonintrusive inspection equipment that will help law enforcement and customs agents to detect illegal arms and money moving into and within Mexico. Through Merida, we are working to help Mexico strengthen court systems, build resilient communities, and offer constructive alternatives for young people.

And we are seeing real results on both sides of the border. On the Mexican side, thanks to improved intelligence and targeting, nearly two dozen high-level traffickers have been captured or killed just in the past year. On the U.S. side, the FBI just arrested the largest number of mafia members in history this month. And our Treasury has designated nearly 800 businesses and individuals associated with drug kingpins. In both countries, we continue to confront organized crime within our borders and across them. We still have work to do. I’m not going to deny that. But we are making progress. And President Calderon’s very courageous leadership is one of the reasons why we are making some gains that are important.

Now, all of these efforts are grounded in the strong personal ties between our people. We have agreed to extend, as the secretary said, the Fulbright-Garcia program, which brings scholarship students, researchers, and teachers of both countries together. More than 4,000 Mexicans and Americans have benefited from this program, including Mexico’s current ambassador to the United States and my friend, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is making such a remarkable healing from the terrible violent crime that she and other innocent people suffered from.

Madam Secretary, the contributions that Mexicans and Mexican Americans are a fundamental part of the fabric of the United States. Across the United States, we join with you in celebrating 200 years of Mexican independence and 100 years since the Mexican Revolution. And when the Mexican national team played New Zealand in a friendly soccer game in Los Angeles last summer, the Rose Bowl filled to capacity 90,000 strong with a sea of green shirts and tricolored flags.

As I said when I came to Mexico in 2009, we are part of the same family; we share the same land as our common home, and our children will inherit a common future. No other country-to-country relationship has such a direct and daily bearing on our people. And I look forward to continuing our work together to make sure that that future is as strong and peaceful and prosperous as our children deserve.

Thank you very much, Madam Secretary.

MODERATOR: (In Spanish.)

QUESTION: (In Spanish.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as a matter of policy, the Department of State and the United States Government does not comment on any alleged leaked documents. I can tell you that the bilateral relationship between the United States and Mexico has never been stronger. We have never been working more closely together on so many issues that will make a difference to our people.

We are working everything from a bi-national park to a furthering of education exchanges to a modern 21st century border, and so much else. In fact, the secretary and I decided today we needed to create a master list, because there are so many ongoing dialogues and working groups that we’re going to have to try to keep track of. Our countries have a tremendous amount in common, and we want to enhance and improve our relationship.

And the United States remains committed to helping the Mexican Government go after the cartels and organized crime and the corruption they generate. And we know how difficult that is. We are trying to be a helpful partner. And we cannot, in any way, put ourselves into the shoes of those who are on the front lines here in Mexico doing the hard work. So what our goal is is to provide support and help to enable our Mexican friends and partners to be as successful as they are seeking to be. And we will continue, through the Merida Initiative, to provide significant support.

Now, at the same time, we are aware from the work we’ve done all over the world that what the Mexican Government is doing to improve the judicial system, the detention and corrections system, is essential to the ultimate success of the war against the drug cartels. So we support those efforts. And included in our dialogues is a dialogue on human rights, because we believe that it is important and there are also legislative requirements in our laws that we see very clear adherence to human rights norms and to the careful protection of the rights of citizens.

And we think that the Mexican Government is also making progress here as well. We do know that they are working more that needs to be done. There needs to be more legislation passed, which the Calderon government is hoping to achieve. We need to make sure that any human rights violators committed by the military against civilians are tried in civilian courts. And we know that the Mexican Government is working on that. We also know that a well-equipped, well-trained judicial system is essential.

So there is a lot of work going on, and we stand ready to assist in that work. But I would just close by saying that this is very hard. And what President Calderon has done is absolutely necessary. If it were easy, it would have been done before. It is not easy. It is hard. It carries all kinds of costs. But there is no alternative. And the United States knows that because we have worked with countries around the world as they have struggled against organized crimes or other threats to their security. And I think that what Mexican law enforcement is doing to both reform at the same time that they take on the drug traffickers is essential and a commitment that we stand ready to help them carry out. And I also believe that the very successful efforts by the Mexican military deserve support as well, and we have offered any support that they would be interested in pursuing.

But this is hard. And it’s easy for us in this beautiful setting to come up with all kinds of reasons and criticisms, but we know how hard this is. I mean, I’ve represented the State of New York, and a lot of people remember there was a time 20 or 30 years ago when people thought New York was going to be lost to gangs and drugs and crime. And innocent people couldn’t walk down the street. They couldn’t take their children to a park. And through hard work by law enforcement and a lot of support and a lot of reform, we’ve seen a real change. And what we want is for the people of Mexico to have the same level of security throughout the country that they have in most of the country.

MODERATOR: (In Spanish.)

QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary Clinton, the ATF is seeking emergency authority to require gun dealers near the border to report multiple purchases of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines. The ATF had asked to have this permission by January 5th. Do you – is that something the Administration is pushing for? Is there any sign they’re going to get that?

And as a second question, I was just wondering if you could talk a little more about the challenges. As you mentioned, the Mexican Government has been doing a big reform of their judicial system, but there seems to be a lot of difficulties in terms of getting convictions – the jails and so on. What’s your message to the authorities on that? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the second question is an easy one. Just stay with it. It is hard. And they’re changing they’re system. They’re going from an inquisitorial system to an open system, and that’s a sea change. And that takes a lot of training and a lot of effort. But there’s no alternative. And the Mexican Government recognizes that and is moving forward.

With respect to the ATF’s request, the Administration is working that request and is very committed to doing what can be done in an appropriate regulatory framework so that it isn’t challenged and it is sustainable. And we hope that we’ll have some available additional tools for the ATF in a short period of time.

MODERATOR: (In Spanish.)

QUESTION: (In Spanish.)

FOREIGN SECRETARY ESPINOSA: Did you get all those questions?

SECRETARY CLINTON: All they all for me? (Laughter.)

FOREIGN SECRETARY ESPINOSA: Yes. I think so. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: First, let me emphasize how important we think the struggle against the drug traffickers is for Mexico and the Mexican people, first and foremost. If you are the leader of any country or you’re the leader of a state or a city, your first obligation is to the security of your people. And I would go back to my New York example. You had a series of mayors and presidents, because it’s something my husband my worked on when he was president, who said what we’re doing is not working. So they changed the way we policed. They moved toward something called community policing. They did a lot of examination of what would actually get people to feel safer in reporting crime. So I come to this from the position that security has to be the highest priority of any leader.

And I know Mexico’s this big, wonderful country and there are many parts of it that are not feeling the intensity of the struggle against the drug traffickers, and some places which are really right in the guns sights, if you will, of the drug traffickers. Well, it would be easy if you lived in one of the beautiful places where that wasn’t happening to say, “Why is President Calderon spending so much time and effort trying to capture and kill these drug traffickers?” Well, if you lived where they were operating and providing so much death and destruction, you wouldn’t ask that question. So I think it really is important to emphasize that President Calderon is doing what a leader should do. And that is why President Obama and I and our government and country support him.

Secondly, in the two years that I have been working with Secretary Espinosa and our two presidents have been working together, we have seen significant steps taken. Now, the drug traffickers are not going to give up without a terrible fight. And when they do things that are just barbaric, like beheading people, it is meant to intimidate. It is meant to have the public say, “Oh, just leave them alone and they won’t bother me.” But a president cannot do that. And what President Calderon has done is to tackle not just the drug traffickers but some of the systemic issues that will strengthen Mexico’s institutions to be able to take on the threats posed by the drug traffickers.

So I am – I mean, I think you can gather, I’m a fan. I believe and greatly admire what President Calderon is doing. And I used to be in politics so I know how hard it is. I know that what he is doing cannot be, is not universally popular, because it is messy. And it causes lots of terrible things to be on the news. And so you wonder, well, what more could be done? But there’s a plan. President Calderon is following through on his plan. We are providing help as best we can to carry through on that plan. And it’s just a question of staying the course, staying after those who are trying to intimidate innocent people into letting them make enormous amounts of money from sending drugs north or trying to enlist more Mexican young people in these crimes, turn more Mexican people into drug addicts. I mean, these are horrible things that they do, and therefore they cannot be left unaddressed. And that’s what the president is trying to do.

MODERATOR: (In Spanish.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, (inaudible) reports are showing the Palestinians made significant concessions in peace talks with Israelis in 2008. A couple of questions about that: Having refused the negotiating record of previous administrations, so you think that these reports are accurate? Will they, if they are accurate, change the U.S. approach to brokering the talks?

And finally, given Israel’s continued settlements building, do you feel that one major problem of the peace talks has been their stubbornness about continuing that building?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, these reports about documents are ones that I cannot comment on. They are not even, so far as has been reported, U.S. documents. We don’t comment on our own documents; I can’t comment on somebody else’s documents. I don’t know anything about their authenticity or their accuracy. So put that to one side. I will not and cannot comment on whatever is being dumped into the internet.

But what I can say is I don’t see it comes as any surprise what the issues are between the Palestinians and the Israelis. They have been well known for 20 years or more. They are difficult issues. They do not lend themselves easily to compromise because both sides have very strong interests and concerns at work. But just because, again, it’s hard doesn’t mean you stop trying. And the United States continues, along with international partners, to urge the parties to engage on each of these difficult issues, with the full knowledge that neither party is going to be happy with whatever the outcome is because you can’t get there unless you compromise in some area.

And as I’ve said many times, the settlements in this context are not helpful, and we have made very clear our position on them. But I don’t think anyone believes that by walking away or throwing one’s hands in the air, you can create a better situation. That is not going to happen. So therefore, we will continue to work hard. We will work hard with both parties. We will work hard with international partners who care about achieving a sustainable peace that produces a two-state solution. And I think that it is in everyone’s interest that we keep our eye on what we’re trying to achieve, which is that goal.

MODERATOR: (In Spanish.)

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