Cable 201261

Revela la tensión por esta reunión y la preocupación que seguía
despertando Cao Lay Muñoz, detenido en enero del 2008 acusado de
intentar comprar a asambleístas constituyentes del Movimiento PAIS para
formar nueva mayoría a favor de Sociedad Patriótica.

id:

201261

date:

4/7/2009 20:03

refid:

09QUITO246

origin:

Embassy Quito

classification:

SECRET//NOFORN

destination:

09QUITO103

header:

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB
 
DE RUEHQT #0246/01 0972003
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 072003Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0240
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 8087
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 4139
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3492
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ APR LIMA 3143
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 4252
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

 
----------------- header ends ----------------
 
S E C R E T QUITO 000246 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: TWENTY YEARS 
TAGS: PREL, SNAR, PINR, MARR, KCOR, EC, CO 
SUBJECT: GOE EXPLAINS HIGH LEVEL TRIP TO WASHINGTON 
 
REF: QUITO 103 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Heather Hodges for reason 1.4 (D) 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  FM Falconi and Government Minister Jalkh on 
April 6 expressed concern to the Ambassador about an Embassy 
official's meeting with unsavory characters, and said that 
President Correa had asked a delegation to go to Washington 
to express GOE concern.  The Ambassador made clear that the 
meeting in question was one of many that Embassy officers 
conduct and that we had not initiated it.  She suggested the 
meeting was possibly an attempt to frame the Embassy official 
by someone wanting to create distance between our 
governments, and urged the GOE to investigate further.  The 
GOE officials appeared willing to accept the Ambassador's 
version of events.  Jalkh reported the Ecuadorians were well 
received in Washington.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (SBU) The Ambassador met with FM Fander Falconi, 
Government Minister Gustavo Jalkh, Coordinating Minister for 
Internal and External Security Miguel Carvajal, Vice FM 
Lautaro Pozo, and MFA Under Secretary Jorge Orbe on April 6 
at the MFA's request.  DCM and PolCouns also attended. 
 
FOREIGN MINISTER'S EXPLANATION OF TRIP 
 
3.  (C) FM Falconi prefaced his remarks by stressing the 
GOE's interest in a constructive dialogue with the U.S. on 
political, environmental, migration, and other matters.  He 
conveyed President Correa's "affectionate greetings" to the 
Ambassador.  Falconi then turned to what he called the 
delicate subject of intelligence indicating that an Embassy 
official had been involved in questionable meetings, which 
was a matter of grave concern for the GOE.  He said President 
Correa decided to send a delegation, consisting of Government 
Minister Jalkh, Vice FM Pozo, and Ecuador's three ambassadors 
in the U.S., to discuss the matter directly with Washington. 
The GOE delegation's objective was to stress that the 
Ecuadorian individuals were not appropriate people for the 
Embassy to see, and to request an in-depth investigation. 
Falconi described the delegation's meetings with WHA A/S 
Shannon, the NSC, and various Members and staffers in 
Congress as positive, saying the interlocutors indicated that 
Washington also wanted a climate of confidence between the 
two governments. 
 
AMBASSADOR EXPLAINS EMBASSY ACTIONS 
 
4.  (C) The Ambassador responded that she accepted that 
Correa had decided to conduct this diplomacy in Washington, 
but considered it unfortunate that the GOE had not spoken 
with her first.  She emphasized that neither she nor any 
official of the Embassy had an interest in overthrowing the 
government or interfering in the election.  To the contrary, 
we want stability under the elected government.  The 
Ambassador noted that she had been very careful in her 
dealings with the opposition. 
 
5.  (S) The Ambassador acknowledged that some Embassy 
officials speak with disreputable individuals, explaining 
that this happens here in Quito and in our other embassies, 
because these are the people who can provide information 
about drug trafficking, human smuggling, or other subjects. 
When we obtain useful information, our law enforcement 
agencies share it with the GOE, for instance the Ecuadorian 
police, and with the Manta Forward Operating Location if it 
is a case where aerial surveillance could locate the vessel. 
Coast Guard attache Heath Brown had received information with 
some validity in the past from one of the individuals in the 
photographs the GOE presented in Washington, Camilo Rodas. 
This time Rodas called to suggest a meeting with his cousin, 
Cao Lay Munoz. 
 
6.  (S) In this instance, Brown misunderstood Cao Lay Munoz's 
name and wrote it as Caoli Munoz, thus embassy checks on the 
name prior to the meeting revealed nothing.  The Ambassador 
showed Falconi the internal Embassy entry request form where 
Brown had misspelled the name.  She added that if Brown had 
nefarious ends in mind, he would not have met at the Embassy 
where Rodas and Munoz could easily be observed entering.  She 
emphasized that even though Munoz was well known to the GOE, 
there were many people at the U.S. Embassy who would not have 
recognized the name. 
 
7.  (S) The Ambassador read an account of the meeting, which 
also included an assistant Embassy security officer.  She 
cautioned that she in no way intended to say that the 
statements by Munoz were accurate.  Munoz described himself 
to the Embassy officials as having assisted past governments, 
and more recently former president Lucio Gutierrez, by paying 
people off.  Munoz stated that he was thrown in jail last 
year after he refused to assist the government in framing 
Gutierrez without payment, and was warned by presidential 
security to keep quiet after his release this year.  Munoz 
claimed he approached the Embassy because he thought the U.S. 
did not want Correa to win the April 26 election.  He 
referred to Chavez as the "big rat" and Correa as the "little 
rat," urging the U.S. to take care or the continent would be 
full of rats.  (This caused Falconi to flinch; he later 
called the "bad rats" language inconsistent with the GOE's 
commitment and achievements.)  Munoz claimed to have 
 
additional information against Correa, and asked protection 
and safe travel to the U.S. if he went to the press. 
 
8.  (S) The Ambassador explained that Brown told Rodas and 
Munoz that he would call them if he was interested in the 
information.  She described how Brown escorted Rodas and 
Munoz out of the Embassy building, where Rodas told Brown 
that someone else who claimed to have information on the 
Ostaiza brothers (reftel) wanted to talk to him on Rodas' 
cell phone.  This likely allowed Brown to be photographed. 
Since then, Brown has twice told Rodas that he had no 
interest in his information. 
 
DIFFERENT PERCEPTIONS 
 
9.  (C) Government Minister Jalkh jumped in to say that the 
Ambassador might see such meetings as a daily event, but in 
the context of actions that caused the GOE to expel two 
Embassy officers and the upcoming election, it was of grave 
concern to the GOE.  He noted that Ecuador appreciated A/S 
Shannon's promise to investigate.  Vice FM Pozo insisted that 
the Embassy should have known Munoz's background.  The 
Ambassador made clear that she herself would not have known, 
since there was nothing in the press since her arrival, and 
neither did Brown. 
 
10.  (C) Coordinating Minister Carvajal said that the Embassy 
version of the incident was completely different than the GOE 
understanding.  He said he was told Munoz had planned to 
publicize the information on CNN.  Carvajal suggested that 
"certain interests" might want to create a provocation.  He 
said it would be prudent when the Embassy received 
information of this type for it to tell the GOE directly to 
protect them from the interests of third parties.  The 
Ambassador emphasized that it would not be worth passing all 
information, but that we do inform the police of the 
information we consider useful and credible. 
 
11.  (S) The Ambassador inquired if the GOE had audio of 
Brown speaking with Munoz and Rodas.  Both Carvajal and Jalkh 
admitted they did not.  Carvajal explained that the 
Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington's original request for DVD 
equipment was an erroneous assumption on its part.  The 
Ambassador reiterated that she had no way to investigate 
further since she had already explained the extent of the 
Embassy's involvement.  If indeed the operation was a setup, 
then it would appear the GOE needed to do more investigation. 
 Those Ecuadorians present appeared to agree.  The Ambassador 
requested that the facts she had shared be conveyed to 
President Correa.  Jalkh said Correa had already been 
informed. 
 
12.  (C) Jalkh suggested that an opportunity could be made 
out of this crisis.  While recognizing the value of USG 
cooperation on counternarcotics, he urged a better balance 
between U.S. relations with Colombia and with Ecuador, 
complaining that the U.S. saw Colombia as fighting against 
the drug trade despite continued extensive cultivation of 
drug crops, but did not appreciate Ecuador's efforts. 
However, many of the U.S. interlocutors in Washington had 
made an effort to learn about the situation and recognized 
GOE efforts. 
 
COMMENT 
13.  (S/NF) Part one of this meeting focused on Falconi 
laying out that Correa had ordered the delegation to 
Washington.  This struck us as a quasi-apology/explanation of 
why they did not come to the Embassy first.  It looks as if 
the GOE wanted us to see why they viewed the meeting as 
"inappropriate" and "serious," but they also seemed to 
acknowledge that our perception could be different.  Whether 
it is an excuse, we do not know, but they also seemed ready 
to believe this was a deliberate setup by someone (perhaps 
the opposition, although they did not say so) to provoke 
President Correa to expel another diplomat and drive the 
bilateral relationship to a crisis. 
 
HODGES 
 
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