(*La Jornada*, 9/15/96)
[Abbreviated translation by Conspiracy Nation]
The Clinton administration  seems  at  present to lack high-level
personnel able to evaluate  and  define  political  responses  to
current challenges in Mexican relations.
"Our  question  is,  'Who is in charge?  Who is monitoring policy
(toward Mexico) at the highest levels?'" said a frustrated member
of the U.S. government interviewed  by *La Jornada*.  The answer,
according to various  bureaucrats  and  analysts  consulted  this
week, is "no one."
The  foreign policy of the United States is frequently the result
of a  chaotic  equilibrium  amongst  bureaucratic interests which
only reach consensus at the highest levels at  a  time  of  sharp
crisis,  and  whose  dynamic  is  especially  present  during  an
election year.
"What  we  question,"  commented  a  U.S. government official who
requested anonymity, "is who  is  offering general leadership and
asking the hard questions?"
Another source added, "I simply  don't  believe  that  anyone  is
paying attention."  Various legislators already have begun to ask
the White House who is in charge of policy toward Mexico.
The  Wall  Street  Journal,  in  an  article on the EPR [Ejercito
Popular Revolucionario, Army  of  the  Popular Revolution] at the
beginning of September, commented that,  "the  United  States  is
singularly  ill-prepared  to  give  to  this  latest  crisis  the
attention it deserves."
Robert Pastor, Director for Latin America at the Carter Center in
Atlanta,  pointed out that in an election year the focus of White
House personnel gets distracted by politics.
In fact, the only sustained  focus regarding Mexico at the moment
is the effort to assure that it,  or  any  other  of  the  themes
connected  to the bilateral relation, does not get converted into
an election issue.  With this in mind, the highest levels of U.S.
government are working  all-out  to  ensure  that Mexico does not
default on what it owes the U.S.
The Wall Street Journal  has  pointed  out  that,  "none  of  the
high-level foreign policy team of the Clinton administration have
focussed  their  attention  on  Mexico,  while many of the senior
experts on Latin America have  recently left the State Department
and the intelligence services."
Therefore, according to some experts on bilateral relations,  "no
one  is  minding  the  store"  regarding  Mexico  at this moment.
Others limit  themselves  to  hoping  that  nothing important, or
worse, difficult for the Clinton campaign, will occur  in  Mexico
until after November 5th.