Cable 194460

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.

id:

194460

date:

2/27/2009 18:47

refid:

09STATE18632

origin:

Secretary of State

classification:

CONFIDENTIAL

destination:

09QUITO100

header:

O R 271847Z FEB 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY QUITO IMMEDIATE 
INFO AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 

 
----------------- header ends ----------------
 
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 
the issue. 
 
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. 
 
 
CLINTON 
 
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