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Cablegate: Ambassador Responds to Correa's Harsh Criticism Of

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DE RUEHQT #0327 0991923
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 081923Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8713
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7497
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 3881
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2977
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ APR LIMA 2543
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3484
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

id: 149068
date: 4/8/2008 19:23
refid: 08QUITO327
origin: Embassy Quito
classification: SECRET
destination: 08QUITO288
header:
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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #0327 0991923
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 081923Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8713
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7497
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 3881
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2977
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ APR LIMA 2543
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3484
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL


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S E C R E T QUITO 000327

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: TEN YEARS
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR PTER MOPS EC CO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RESPONDS TO CORREA'S HARSH CRITICISM OF
CIA

REF: QUITO 288

Classified By: Ambassador Linda Jewell for Reasons 1.4 (b&d)

1. (SBU) President Rafael Correa, in an April 4 television
interview in Loja and again in his April 5 weekly radio
address, stated that the GOE would take severe measures to
address what he termed Ecuador's intelligence services'
failure to provide him complete, timely and accurate
information. Correa claimed that Ecuador's intelligence
services had been taken over by the "CIA," which had passed
vital information from and about Ecuador to the Colombian
government. Insinuating that he could become a victim of an
attack at any moment, the President warned in his radio
address: "Do not believe in aerial accidents, helicopters
falling down, or airplanes crashing.... I do not want to die
yet. Enough of (Ecuadorian) intelligence services that are
financed by the Embassy of the United States.... We will end
that and have intelligence services that belong to
Ecuadorians and for Ecuadorians, not to serve foreign powers."

2. (C) What apparently set Correa off was that he learned
about military intelligence information on Ecuadorian citizen
Franklin Aisalla's ties to the FARC from the press rather
than from the military commanders. Aisalla was killed
(reftel) in the March 1 Colombian attack on a FARC camp in
Ecuador.

3. (S/NF) The Ambassador communicated her strong objections
to Correa's remarks in conversations with the GOE leadership
on April 7. She spoke separately by phone with Correa and
Government and Police Minister Fernando Bustamante, and in
person with Vice Foreign Minister Jose Valencia, Defense
Minister Wellington Sandoval, and Principal Under Secretary
of Defense Miguel Carvajal. The Ambassador called President
Correa's comments unhelpful and said they needed to be toned
down and any concerns put into proper channels. She stressed
that the GOE leadership knew perfectly well about the
relationship that USG had with various GOE intelligence
services and that it was similar to that in many countries
worldwide. The Ambassador emphasized that these activities
were in no way directed against Correa or his government.
She asked why the GOE had not spoken directly with her before
Correa made public comments directed against us and said we
were available to discuss any questions or concerns.

4. (S/NF) President Correa returned the Ambassador's call
quickly and was very cordial. He conceded that he knew the
USG was not acting against him but insisted that his
intelligence services were not serving him well and would be
investigated. The Ambassador said we would be willing to
provide a full briefing on our assistance to the intelligence
services to him or any member of his staff he chose to
delegate. Clearly disturbed by the President's statements,
Sandoval commented that he was not sure where the President
received his information, but speculated that he reacted to
news he read every morning. Joint Command Chief of Staff
General Fabian Varela, who participated in the meeting with
Sandoval, made clear that the GOE would be "blind" without
information and cooperation it received from the USG. Even
Defense Principal Under Secretary Carvajal, who is closely
tied to the left, admitted that what the USG was doing was
normal and accepted.
Jewell

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

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