Se cita el encuentro entre Thomas Shannon, secretario adjunto del
Departamento de Estado, con el embajador de Ecuador en Washington, Luis
Gallegos, para conversar sobre la expulsión del funcionario
estadounidense Armando Astorga.
Secretary of State
O R 271847Z FEB 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY QUITO IMMEDIATE
INFO AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL
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C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 018632
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2019
TAGS: PREL, SNAR, EC
SUBJECT: A/S SHANNON'S MEETING WITH ECUADORIAN AMBASSADOR
TO DISCUSS PRESIDENT CORREA'S CALL TO EXPEL DHS ATTACHE
REF: QUITO 100
Classified By: A/S SHANNON, REASONS 1.4 (B) and (D).
1. (C) A/S Shannon met Ecuadorian Ambassador Luis Gallegos
for a discussion of President Correa's February 7 call to
expel DHS Attache Armando Astorga from Embassy Quito.
Gallegos was focused on finding a diplomatic solution to the
matter. He attempted to explain Correa's sharp response to a
letter Astorga sent to the head of the Ecuadorian National
Police as based partially on GOE misunderstanding of the
vetting process. He suggested that the USG endeavor to
explain vetting more fully to the GOE--and to highlight that
this is a common practice used in many countries. A/S
Shannon emphasized that the USG continues to seek cooperation
with the GOE based on common interests. However, he stressed
that the GOE's recent "diplomacy by megaphone" was unhelpful.
Ambassador Gallegos urged high level engagement by the Obama
administration and pushed hard for A/S Shannon to visit
Ecuador as soon as possible. End Summary.
2. (C) Joined by his DCM and Political Counselor, Ambassador
Gallegos met with A/S Shannon on February 7 to discuss recent
acerbic comments by President Correa in response to a DHS
letter that withdrew U.S. support for a DHS ICE vetted
anti-smuggling unit (reftel). WHA/AND Officer Director and
Desk Officer also participated. A/S Shannon opened the
meeting by noting the profound common interests that Ecuador
and the United States share, including the fight against
drugs and terrorism. He stated that we need to reflect upon
the bilateral relationship, examine our approaches, and work
to construct a base for durable cooperation.
3. (C) Ambassador Gallegos responded by asserting that many
GOE officials do not understand the vetting process. He
noted that the Spanish translation of the word "vet" into a
word that means "veto" in Spanish created problems.
According to Gallegos, vetting per se (the establishment of
the bona fides of individuals working in law enforcement
networks) is not objectionable. He suggested that the
vetting procedures which are currently conducted based on
verbal agreements between the USG and the GOE should be
codified into written procedures that would be clear to all
parties. A/S Shannon responded that we need to cooperate on
vital law enforcement issues and agreed that "vetting is not
a veto." He pointed out the U.S. officials working in
similar units are vetted as well, including background checks
and polygraph tests. He added that throughout the vetting
process if the USG finds prejudicial information, we share it
with the GOE--which then makes final decisions.
4. (C) Ambassador Gallegos suggested the USG endeavor to
explain in detail to GOE officials the "how and why of the
vetting process," emphasizing in particular that this is an
international practice that occurs in other countries. He
also highlighted Coordinating Minister for Internal and
External Security Carvajal's public declaration on February 9
that emphasized GOE hopes to find a way forward and resolve
5. (C) A/S Shannon observed that we are seeking a solution.
However, he pointed out that this "diplomacy by megaphone"
was not helpful, and it was particularly surprising that the
GOE would take such a harsh public tone at the start of the
Obama administration. A/S Shannon stressed that President
Correa's suggestion that funding for the vetted unit be
donated for the rehabilitation of those who have suffered
torture at the U.S. base in Guantanamo, Cuba, was gratuitous
and mean-spirited. Nonetheless, A/S Shannon said that both
governments should focus on common interests and on what can
be done to save the good work of the vetted units in Ecuador.
Ambassador Gallegos agreed with these observations, and
commented that this issue presented an opportunity to advance
bilateral communication and understanding. He urged A/S
Shannon to visit Ecuador as soon as possible to take
advantage of this opportunity.