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Cablegate: Ecuadorians Support Correa but Want Farc Out

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #0219/01 0642111
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 042111Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8584
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7399
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 2445
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR BRASILIA 3852
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2926
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3367
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

id: 144243
date: 3/4/2008 21:11
refid: 08QUITO219
origin: Embassy Quito
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination:
header:
VZCZCXYZ0198
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #0219/01 0642111
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 042111Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8584
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7399
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 2445
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR BRASILIA 3852
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2926
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3367
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL


----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L QUITO 000219

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2014
TAGS: PREL PTER MOPS EC CO
SUBJECT: ECUADORIANS SUPPORT CORREA BUT WANT FARC OUT


Classified By: DCM Jefferson Brown for Reasons 1.4 (b&d)

1. (SBU) Summary. A day after President Correa announced
that Ecuador cut diplomatic relations with Colombia, the
Constituent Assembly suspended its normal business to discuss
the Colombian incursion. The Assembly is expected to adopt a
resolution condemning the Colombian incursion. The text is
also expected to rebuke the United States for allegedly
assisting Colombia in the operation. Amidst much nationalist
rhetoric in favor of Correa's position of protesting the
violation of Ecuadorian sovereignty, some opposition members
of the Assembly and other commentators called for the GOE to
focus on expelling the FARC, and others called for an
investigation into the Colombian accusations of GOE ties with
the FARC. End Summary.
2. (SBU) With President Correa traveling in the region and
FM Salvador at the OAS on March 4, attention shifted to the
Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly put aside its
constitutional drafting on March 4 to discuss the Colombian
incursion, and has announced that it would adopt a resolution
criticizing the GOC. Minister of Internal and External
Security Gustavo Larrea visited the Assembly the morning of
March 4 to explain the details of the incursion, which
included charts and lasted over two hours.

3. (C) According to a statement by Cesar Rodriguez,
President of the legislative committee, the resolution will
include two main components: an exhortation to Latin American
countries and to the world to respect peace, and a
repudiation of the violation of national sovereignty.
Patriotic Society Party (PSP) Assembly member Fausto Lupero
told us that the resolution also includes language critical
of U.S. assistance to the Colombian military operation.

4. (SBU) Alberto Acosta, President of the Assembly, appeared
to express the opinion of the majority of Assembly members.
He called the Colombian action "unacceptable" but added that
this is also true of the presence of any "irregular force" in
Ecuador. Proud and Sovereign Fatherland (PAIS) bloc members
backed the GOE's statement denying any inappropriate ties
between the Executive branch and the FARC.

5. (SBU) The opposition blocs demanded further explanation
of interaction between the GOE and the FARC. Galo Lara of
the PSP questioned, "How can the Assembly say no to an
American base (sic) but have armed insurgents sleep in their
pajamas in Ecuador as if it were their home?" Cesar Rohon of
the Social Christian Party (PSC) and Mae Montano of the New
Option movement (UNO) insisted that the Colombian accusations
warrant investigation and that the GOE not only direct its
criticism at the Colombian military but also at the FARC.
Rafael Esteves, ex-PSP member, provided a letter to Acosta
requesting the replacement of Minister of Defense, Wellington
Sandoval, declaring that "Intelligence and the Armed Forces
should have known about and provided a warning about the
presence of the FARC."

6. (SBU) During the Assembly discussion, members also
questioned the U.S. role in the Colombian military operation.
Eduardo Zambrano asked why "information supplied via
satellite is used for an attack on Ecuadorian soil, but can't
be used to locate and eradicate coca fields," and said that
it is time to rid Ecuador of the presence of foreign troops
at Manta. Pedro de la Cruz was among those calling for an
investigation of the U.S. "base" in Manta.

7. (SBU) Before departing Ecuador, President Correa spoke in
a national broadcast on the evening of March 3 to explain to
the Ecuadorian people why the GOE had cut diplomatic
relations with Colombian and to calm concerns about travel
between the two countries. He asserted that the incursion
occurred at a time when the GOE was negotiating the released
of FARC-held hostages, and that Uribe was aware of this.
Minister Larrea called Colombian accusations about FARC links
a "smoke screen" attempt by the GOC to divert attention from
its incursion into Ecuadorian sovereignty.

8. (U) A poll taken on March 3 in Ecuador by Cedatos Gallup
International and the National Consulting Center of Colombia,
showed that 80 percent of respondents support President
Correa's position, when asked about the incursion, the
resulting deaths of Reyes and other FARC members, as well as
Correa's protest regarding the lack of respect to Ecuadorian
sovereignty.
BROWN

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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