Cable 194442

Se cuenta la reunión del entonces canciller Fander Falconí con la
embajadora Heather Hodges del día anterior. Ecuador esperaba la
aprobación durante la cumbre del G-7 (las economías más ricas del
planeta) de un préstamo del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo por $
600 millones.

id:

194442

date:

2/27/2009 17:35

refid:

09QUITO145

origin:

Embassy Quito

classification:

SECRET//NOFORN

destination:

09QUITO103|09QUITO113|09QUITO126|09STATE14726|09STATE17841

header:

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S E C R E T QUITO 000145 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2019 
TAGS: PREL, SNAR, EFIN, EC 
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER ON REBUILDING BILATERAL RELATIONS 
AND LAW ENFORCEMENT COOPERATION, WITH AN IDB SIDE NOTE 
 
REF: A. STATE 17841 
     B. BOWEN-HODGES E-MAIL 2/25/09 
     C. STATE 14726 
     D. QUITO 126 
     E. QUITO 113 
     F. QUITO 103 
 
Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Heather Hodges.  Reason: 1.4 b 
and d. 
 
1.  (S/NF) Summary.  Foreign Minister Falconi told the 
Ambassador on February 26 that Ecuador wanted to move beyond 
the difficulties created by expelling two U.S. diplomats and 
continue counternarcotics cooperation.  He said that the GOE 
is developing ideas on how the two countries can continue to 
work through vetted law enforcement units.  The Ambassador 
formally protested President Correa's public announcement 
that one of the expelled diplomats was the CIA station chief. 
 She expressed willingness to explore how we can continue to 
support special law enforcement units, but stressed that 
there are certain necessary conditions.  Falconi briefly 
touched on Ecuador's hope for G-7 support for several pending 
loans from the InterAmerican Development Bank, to which the 
Ambassador did not reply.  End summary. 
 
2.  (C) The Ambassador was invited to meet with Foreign 
Minister Fander Falconi on February 26.  The initial reason 
for the meeting was that Falconi was having a series of 
individual meetings with G-7 Ambassadors to discuss financing 
from the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) (reftel a). 
However, the morning of the meeting the Foreign Ministry 
informed the Embassy that bilateral issues would also be 
discussed in the meeting.  Falconi invited U/S for Bilateral 
Affairs Jorge Orbe to join.  EconCouns attended as note-taker. 
 
Bilateral Relations 
------------------- 
 
3.  (C) Falconi, who spoke in a measured, almost somber tone 
throughout the meeting, opened by saying that the past 2-3 
weeks had been difficult and that fissures had opened in the 
bilateral relationship, an implicit reference to the 
expulsion of two U.S. diplomats (reftel d-f) and President 
Correa's public statement on February 21 that the second of 
the expelled officers was the CIA station chief.  Falconi 
said that the Government of Ecuador wanted to overcome these 
issues and move the relationship forward.  He said that the 
government had several proposals that it would like the 
United States to analyze.  But before moving on, Falconi 
asked the Ambassador whether she wished to say anything. 
 
Formal U.S. Protest 
------------------- 
 
4.  (S/NF) The Ambassador responded that recent developments 
had been difficult and surprising, and just when we had 
thought the problems were behind us, there were more 
surprises.  She continued that she had instructions from 
Washington to lodge a strong formal protest (ref b) regarding 
Correa's announcement that Mark Sullivan had been the CIA 
station chief.  She said that the announcement violated 
worldwide diplomatic practice and broke our confidence in our 
ability to cooperate bilaterally.  She said Ecuador would 
have to work to restore confidence.  Falconi said he would 
give our message to Correa that afternoon. 
 
IDB Projects 
------------ 
 
5.  (SBU) Falconi then raised several areas of cooperation 
for the U.S. to consider.  The first was the international 
economic crisis, which Falconi said had hit Ecuador through 
three channels:  declining international financial liquidity 
for Ecuador, falling exports which were pushing up 
unemployment, and reduced remittances.  He asserted that this 
was creating liquidity problems for Ecuador (i.e., cash flow 
 
management) but that Ecuador remained solvent.  He said that 
the GOE was looking for IDB financing, and that two of the 
loans ($100 million competitiveness program and $500 million 
liquidity fund) would require an IMF assessment, with which 
Correa was willing to cooperate.  He added that there were 
investment projects which did not require an IMF assessment 
($40 million Petroecuador project, $80 million road project, 
and $70 million hydroelectric project).  He said that Ecuador 
hoped that these projects have the approval of the G-7 
nations, given the important role those countries play in the 
IDB.  The Ambassador made no comment. 
 
Counternarcotics Cooperation 
---------------------------- 
 
6.   (C) Falconi then said that Ecuador intended to continue 
cooperating with the United States on combating narcotics 
trafficking.  He said that there was no doubt that there will 
be cooperation, and that the only question was the exact form 
of the cooperation.  He said that it was essential to have a 
clear counternarcotics policy working through appropriate 
channels.  He continued that there would be a ministerial 
meeting that afternoon to consider how to structure the 
cooperation and that he hoped to have more details on the 
GOE's proposal soon. 
 
7.  (C) The Ambassador replied that so many things had 
happened in recent weeks that perhaps the relationship needed 
a period without things happening.  She continued that before 
Sullivan was expelled, her demarche instructions called for 
both sides to step back and reflect on the direction we want 
for our bilateral relations. 
 
Law Enforcement Units 
--------------------- 
 
8.  (S/NF) The Ambassador said that the United States valued 
all that it has accomplished with the current and prior 
Ecuadorian administrations in combating narcotics 
trafficking.  She said that the nature of the law enforcement 
units that the USG has supported allowed them to work as part 
of a worldwide network.  She said she was pleased that the 
GOE wanted to work things out, but that the GOE needed to 
understand that there would be conditions for continued USG 
support, since there are certain standards that are applied 
worldwide.  She asked where things stood with Minister of 
Government Jalkh providing a proposal on how the U.S. could 
continue to work with the special law enforcement units.  U/S 
Orbe said that Minister Jalkh would soon present his 
proposal. 
 
9.  (S/NF) Falconi said that Correa would evaluate any such 
proposal, which would require transparency.  However, they 
needed to know from the U.S. what our requirements were and 
they would look at them.  (Comment:  In this part of the 
conversation Falconi,s language was quite different from 
language used on February 8 when "sovereignty" was a major 
theme.  Falconi now seemed open to our concerns.  End 
comment.)  Mentioning polygraphs, Falconi turned to Orbe, who 
said that Coordinating Minister for Security Carvajal had 
suggested, for example, that the U.S. could train Ecuadorian 
or third country specialists to conduct the polygraphs. 
Falconi stepped in to say that he was not a specialist on 
such matters, and that experts from both countries should get 
together, and no doubt they would be able to reach an 
agreement. The Ambassador commented that that she knew the 
Drug Enforcement Administration had been discussing with its 
counterparts ways in which polygraphing could be carried out 
to the satisfaction of both sides.  She cautioned, however, 
that depending on the agencies involved with vetted units 
that standards might vary and the GOE would have to accept 
that. 
 
10.  (C) The Ambassador repeated that there would be 
conditions on U.S. assistance.  Falconi seemed willing to 
accept conditions as long as the GOE knew what they were. 
 
The Ambassador also made clear that some of our conditions 
could be in written agreements, but not necessarily all of 
them.  Falconi said nothing.  The Ambassador noted that in 
November 2008 the Drug Enforcement Administration office in 
Quito had proposed to General Jaime Hurtado, head of the 
National Police, a written agreement on U.S. support for its 
vetted units and that Hurtado had not moved forward that 
agreement.  The Ambassador suggested that we may want 
initially to focus on that agreement, but cautioned that each 
agency that supports law enforcement units will have its own 
specific requirements.  The Ambassador asked who would 
coordinate this effort for the GOE, and Falconi said that 
Carvajal would be the appropriate interlocutor.  The 
Ambassador said she would consult with the agencies involved 
and look for ways for the representatives of the agencies to 
meet with designated GOE officials to discuss ways forwards. 
She again cautioned that each agency might have different 
standards for collaboration.  Falconi appeared to understand. 
 
Inform the Foreign Ministry 
--------------------------- 
 
11.  (C) In closing, Falconi said that he would like to 
prevent a reoccurrence of what transpired when the USG 
withdrew support from the police unit that handles contraband 
and human trafficking and the letter which provoked Correa's 
ire.  He asked that the Embassy transmit important 
developments through him. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
12.  (C) Falconi's message was clear:  Ecuador wants to get 
beyond the problems raised by Correa's outbursts about the 
USG role in two vetted law enforcement units.  At one point 
Falconi commented that he himself had written the national 
development plan's social program and in it was a firm 
commitment to fighting narcotics trafficking for the good of 
the country.  They wanted to get back on track.  The 
Ambassador was firm that the GOE's behavior had caused 
serious diplomatic problems and that these will require time 
and effort to overcome but she was willing to work with 
Falconi on a way forward. 
 
13.  (C) Correa's outbursts and the subsequent expulsions 
were driven by various factors:  his hypersensitivity to 
perceived slights to Ecuador's sovereignty, electoral 
concerns, and a desire to distract attention from the 
unfolding "narco-politics" scandal (Ref f).  Another 
contributing factor was that he did not fully understand what 
was happening with the units, due to poor internal GOE 
communications and what we believe were deliberate efforts to 
provide him partial information calculated to rile him. 
Falconi's push to find ways the United States and Ecuador can 
continue cooperating on counternarcotics efforts may provide 
an avenue to test the GOE's commitment and explore whether 
they truly understand the issues involved even now.  DEA's 
draft written agreement, which contains clear provisions for 
vetting, should be a good starting point to see whether the 
GOE is serious. 
HODGES 
 
=======================CABLE ENDS============================