Cablegate: Former President Jimmy Carter Discusses Galapagos

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12985: N/A

1. Summary: At dinner on August 5, former President Jimmy
Carter discussed with President Lucio Gutierrez the
importance of protection of the Galapagos Islands.
Gutierrez also expressed concern for the issue. Carter
suggested that the Carter Center may host a conference on
the protection of the Galapagos, and Gutierrez promised to
send a high-level delegation to such a conference ready to
discuss in detail the options. End Summary.

2. At the end of his family vacation in the Galapagos,
Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter accepted the invitation of
President Gutierrez to meet for dinner. Ambassador also
attended, as did a variety of GOE officials and Gutierrez
friends and family. Ambassador had briefed Carter before
the dinner on U.S. priorities and efforts in the Galapagos.
Carter used his vacation as an introduction to the Galapagos
issue. He said his visit to the islands had worried him.
Uncontrolled population growth and questions about the
implementation of fishing regulations, together with
complaints about park management and cuts in the budget of
the national park operations raised doubts whether this
important ecological resource was being adequately

3. Gutierrez admitted that he also was worried. The GOE
was taking action, though. A ban on shark fin exports would
soon be in place and would help defend marine resources near
the islands. The GOE would like to retrain fishermen in the
Galapagos and help them find other kinds of work, but funds
were scarce.

4. Carter noted that the Galapagos, of course belonged to
Ecuador. Still, we wanted to help. He expressed concern
that, despite the best of intentions on the part of the GOE,
this incredible ecosystem could disappear in five years. He
suggested that maybe the Carter Center could host a
conference to discuss the alternatives and how to implement
programs that would guarantee the future of the Galapagos.
If the Center did sponsor such a conference, would the GOE
participate? he asked. Gutierrez promised that the GOE
would participate in force. He would send the Minister of
Environment, and high-level officials from the Ministry of
Tourism. He was certain that representatives of the fishing
industry would also want to be concluded.

5. Comment: Jimmy Carter's concern for the protection of
the Galapagos clearly had an impact on Gutierrez' thinking.
We believe such a conference on Galapagos would be
particularly timely now, given the pressure on the islands.


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