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Cablegate: Ecuador Completes Cabinet Re-Shuffle

VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #0017 0042129
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 042129Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8268
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7213
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2812
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN LIMA 2252
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3182
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

UNCLAS QUITO 000017

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EPET EFIN EC
SUBJECT: ECUADOR COMPLETES CABINET RE-SHUFFLE

REF: A. 07 QUITO 2651

B. 07 QUITO 2622

1. (SBU) Summary: President Correa completed his end of year
cabinet reorganization, highlighted by Gustavo Larrea's
return to government as Coordinating Minister for Internal
and External Security, essentially switching portfolios with
Fernando Bustamante, who became Minister of Government.
Combined with earlier moves, Correa has restored the core
group of senior political advisors that helped him win the
presidency to the key political positions of his inner circle.

REARRANGING THE CABINET
-----------------------

2. (SBU) On January 3, President Correa announced yet more
changes to his cabinet (Ref A). Most notably, he decided to
bring back former Minister of Government Gustavo Larrea,
whose resignation he accepted after differences emerged a few
weeks ago between the two on the Orellana province protests
(Ref B). Larrea replaced Fernando Bustamante as Coordinating
Minister of Internal and External Security. Bustamante, in
turn, was appointed to the important position of Minister of
Government.

3. (SBU) Correa upgraded Derlis Palacios Guerrero from
Secretary for Institutional Coordination to the new position

SIPDIS
of Coordinating Minister for Strategic Sectors. This
ministry's area of influence includes mines, petroleum,
transport, and public works. Palacios will be one of seven
Coordinating Ministers. The former Ministry of Economy and
Finance will now handle only finance. Correa also named the
director of the government's Competitiveness Council,
Veronica Sion, to be the new Minister of Tourism.

COORDINATING MINISTERS NOW MORE POWERFUL
----------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The seven Coordinating Ministers are now members of
a super cabinet structure, the "strategic cabinet."
President Correa announced in his late December radio
addresses that he plans to base much of his work on the
Coordinating Ministers, each of whom organizes the work of
ministries in specifics areas of government. The seven areas
covered by the Coordinating Ministries are: production,
social development, security, economic policy, politics,
cultural and national patrimony, and strategic sectors.

5. (SBU) Local press is reporting that the National Secretary
of Administration (akin to Chief of Staff), Vinicio Alvarado,
will also be a member of the strategic cabinet. Alvarado,
who has the President's trust, will acquire more power,
including presiding over the strategic cabinet meetings in
Correa's absence. Alvarado was Correa's campaign manager and
has been intimately involved in message and image
coordination. Ratifying that role, he now also supervises
the new office of the Under Secretary for Image, Publicity,
and Promotion. Two other long-time Correa confidants,
Secretary for National Planning and Development Fander

SIPDIS
Falconi and recently designated Coordinating Minister for
Politics Ricardo Patino, round out the inner circle.

COMMENT
-------

6. (SBU) With Alberto Acosta presiding over the Constituent
Assembly, and Patino and Larrea alongside Alvarado and
Bustamante in the inner circle of senior political
strategists, the original team that adroitly helped get
Correa elected is back in the saddle. This will help Correa
navigate what will yet again be a year filled with electoral
challenges, starting with the referendum on the Constituent
Assembly results later in 2008.

BROWN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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