Cable 209243

 El cable, clasificado como confidencial, relata la visita de cinco asambleístas ecuatorianos al FOL de Manta y de los intentos de presentar reportes incriminatorios relacionados, entre otros, a hundimientos de barcos en la zona.

id:

209243

date:

5/29/2009 12:15

refid:

09QUITO391

origin:

Embassy Quito

classification:

CONFIDENTIAL

destination:

09QUITO389

header:

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB
 
DE RUEHQT #0391/01 1491215
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 291215Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0410
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 8158
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 4183
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3557
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAY LIMA 3214
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 4340
RHMFISS/USSOUTHAF DAVIS MONTHAN AFB AZ
RUEAHQA/OSAF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 2281
RUCOWCA/COGARD TISCOM ALEXANDRIA VA
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFISS/DIRJIATF SOUTH J2

 
----------------- header ends ----------------
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L QUITO 000391 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: TWENTY YEARS 
TAGS: PREL, SNAR, MARR, EC, CO 
SUBJECT: LEGISLATORS VISIT U.S. FORWARD OPERATING LOCATION 
 
REF: A. QUITO 389 
     B. HOTR IIR 6 828 0364 09 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Heather Hodges for reason 1.4 (D) 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  Five Ecuadorian legislators, determined to 
dig up dirt against the U.S. Forward Operating Location (FOL) 
before it closes, visited the city of Manta on May 21-22 to 
meet with "aggrieved" local citizens.  On May 22, the 
delegation visited the Eloy Alfaro Air Base and FOL. 
Ecuadorian military officers ably defended the FOL's 
activities in a lengthy session covered by the press.  In a 
separate USG briefing in the FOL facility, USG personnel 
asked that requests for information on specific incidents be 
sent by diplomatic note.  (See Ref A for a report on a GOE 
delegation that visited the FOL one week earlier as part of 
the turnover planning process.)  End Summary. 
 
2.  (SBU) Five of the seven members of the interim 
Legislative Commission's International Relations 
sub-commission participated in the Manta visit on May 21-22: 
sub-commission president Marcos Martinez, vice president 
Pilar Nunez, Edison Narvaez, and Gabriel Rivera (all four are 
members of President Correa's Proud and Sovereign Fatherland, 
or PAIS, movement), plus opposition Patriotic Society Party 
member Hector Gomez.  Approximately 25 staffers and press 
accompanied them. 
 
3.  (C) In an effort to turn up incriminating reports, the 
legislators ran radio ads inviting those who wanted to file 
complaints to join meetings in the city of Manta on May 21 
with the local fishermen's association and fishermen's 
widows, sex workers, and other local citizens. 
 
4.  (C) The next day on the Eloy Alfaro Air Base (where the 
FOL is located), the legislators grilled Ecuadorian Air Force 
and Navy officials, who defended the FOL's activities at 
length in front of TV cameras.  The legislators raised 
questions about the areas overflown by FOL aircraft, 
verification that the FOL flights followed the USG-provided 
monthly plan, whether the planes could fly undeclared 
operations, and the role of Ecuadorian and Colombian host 
nation riders.  They also asked about the FOL's role in 
interdiction and sinking of boats and who would determine the 
Manta airport's future status.  The legislators termed the 
FOL an "affront to national dignity."  They criticized the 
Ecuadorian military for its failure to demand all the 
information gathered by FOL planes and to carry out an 
evaluation of FOL activities prior to its closure. 
 
5.  (C) Air Force Operations Commander Gen. Alonso Espinoza, 
Air Base commander Col. Mauricio Campuzano, and Navy officers 
answered all the questions thoroughly.  They stressed that 
radar could track all flights to 1000 km, that visual 
confirmation could determine that FOL planes were unarmed, 
and that they were only the implementers of the former 
government's decisions.  They said that information from FOL 
surveillance flights was not useful until JIATF-S correlated 
it with other information and that Ecuadorian Navy actions in 
regard to a specific vessel were aimed at rescuing the 
passengers from a boat that was inadequate to carry them. 
The Ecuadorian military officers punted on only two 
questions:  sub-commission president Martinez's inquiry about 
flights and host nation riders on February 28, 2008, the day 
before the Colombian attack on a FARC camp in northern 
Ecuador (they promised to get back to the legislators with 
the information, and did so that same day), and a question 
about the quantity of drugs captured (they suggested asking 
the USG). 
 
6.  (C) For the USG briefing on the FOL itself, the U.S. 
officials asked that cameras and recording devices not be 
allowed.  We explained that the alternative would be for the 
USG to provide access to the FOL, but the Ecuadorian Air 
Force would have to conduct the tour and answer any 
questions.  After some discussion, the legislators agreed to 
 
leave cameras and recording devices outside.  FOL commander 
Lt. Col. Jared Curtis's presentation reinforced many points 
the Ecuadorian military had made.  In response to questions, 
Defense Attache COL Michael Schodowski and Political 
Counselor Nan Fife stated that the USG was willing to 
cooperate, but that requests on specific alleged incidents be 
submitted through the Foreign Ministry. 
 
7.  (C) COMMENT:  While claiming that the local population 
was unhappy about the FOL's presence, sub-commission 
president Martinez acknowledged that they did not find 
problems with abandoned children and said that his group 
would focus primarily on the (alleged) U.S. role in sinking 
fishing boats.  The legislators' visit to the FOL ran much 
shorter than their session with the Ecuadorian military, 
likely a result of our refusal to allow them to posture for 
the cameras and our insistence on receiving queries about 
specific incidents via diplomatic note.  The Embassy will 
respond to any diplomatic notes received in coordination with 
Washington and SouthCom. 
 
HODGES 
 
=======================CABLE ENDS============================