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Mexicans disapprove of Fox cabinet members

Mexico City, Jul 3, 2002 (EFE).- None of the key members of Mexican President Vicente Fox's cabinet have received an approval rating above 50 percent, according to poll results published on Wednesday.

Attorney General Rafael Macedo received an approval rating of 41 percent, the highest of all cabinet members, while Foreign Secretary Jorge Castañeda received the lowest rating at 16 percent, the poll by El Universal daily revealed.

The rest of the cabinet members received approval ratings of between 32 percent and 36 percent, with the exception of Labor Secretary Carlos Abascal, whose performance was rated positively by just 23 percent of all respondents.

Furthermore, 39 percent of Mexicans said Abascal should resign, while 52 percent said the same of Castañeda, who has been the focus of recurring controversies this year because of changes in the country's foreign policy.

Despite the low approval ratings, the remaining cabinet members were favored by Mexicans to remain in their posts.

Macedo's rating was helped in large part by recent success in the fight against drug trafficking.

For example, one of the leaders of the notorious Tijuana drug cartel, considered one of the main suppliers of cocaine to the United States, was captured and another killed by authorities.

Meanwhile, disapproval of the country's foreign policy remains high. In previous polls, 47 percent of Mexicans said they disagreed with the country's foreign policy, in particular with the policies toward the United States.

Furthermore, 60 percent disapprove of the country's policy toward Cuba

Mexico-Cuba relations have deteriorated since Cuban President Fidel Castro released a taped transcript of a telephone conversation with Fox in which the Mexican president asked him to cut short his visit to a U.N.-sponsored summit on development in Monterey, Mexico, to avoid tension with U.S. President George W. Bush, who was also scheduled to attend.

The poll, which has a margin of error of 2.8 percent, surveyed 1,000 Mexicans from June 22-27.

EFE mm/av/dc