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Cablegate: March 4 Visit to Ecuador of Adolfo Franco, Aa/Lac

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 QUITO 000553

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR LAC/SPO, STATE DESK, LAC/SA, G/HPN, LAC/AA, WHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EC ECON EFIS ETRD PGOV PREL SENV
SUBJECT: MARCH 4 VISIT TO ECUADOR OF ADOLFO FRANCO, AA/LAC
AND MARGARITA GUERRRA, AA/LAC SPECIAL ASSISTANT


1. SUMMARY: ADOLFO FRANCO, USAID ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR
FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN, AND MARGARITA GUERRA,
SPECIAL ASSISTANT, VISITED QUITO ON MARCH 4 TO MEET WITH
U.S. MISSION MANAGEMENT TO DISCUSS LAC PRIORITIES AND
USAIDS PROGRAM IN ECUADOR. HIS VISIT INCLUDED EVENTS
WITH PARTNERS, MEETINGS WITH SENIOR MISSION STAFF, AND A
RADIO INTERVIEW. MR. FRANCO AND AMBASSADOR KENNEY WERE
PLEASED WITH THE OUTCOME OF HIS VISIT AND LAUDED
USAID/ECUADOR FOR ITS EXCELLENT MANAGEMENT OF THE PROGRAM
IN THESE CHALLENGING TIMES. END SUMMARY

2. THE DAYS EVENTS INCLUDED IN-DEPTH BRIEFINGS BY SENIOR
R
MISSION STAFF OF NEAR TERM ISSUES AFFECTING PROGRAM
HORIZONS. THESE INCLUDED HEARING ABOUT POSSIBLE
CONSEQUENCES AND IMPLEMENTATION OF NETHERCUTT AMENDMENT IN
FY05, POTENTIAL TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS SANCTIONS IN FY06,
FULFILLMENT OF FUNDING OF THE SOUTHERN BORDER PROGRAM,
RECENTLY ANNOUNCED OE AND ACI BUDGET REDUCTIONS AS WELL AS
FSN RETIREMENT CONCERNS. THE BALANCE OF THE DISCUSSIONS
FOCUSED ON SITUATION UPDATES IN THE GALAPAGOS AND GROWING
CONCERNS ON THREATS TO POLITICAL STABILITY IN ECUADOR.
THROUGH THE COURSE OF THE DAY, AMBASSADOR KENNEY AND
COUNTRY TEAM SECTION CHIEFS EMPHASIZED THE EXCELLENT
COORDINATION AND INTEGRATION OF USAID ACTIVITIES WITH THE
REST OF THE COUNTRY TEAM.

3. U.S. MISSION OUTLINED ITS MAJOR TOPICS OF CONCERN
AFFECTING ITS DEVELOPMENT AGENDA. OUR MESSAGE CONTINUES
TO BE SUPPORT FOR ECUADORS DEMOCRACY. WE FOCUS ON
INSTITUTIONS, DEMOCRATIC VALUES AND PROCESSES NOT
PERSONS. MISSION ALSO COMMENTED ON ITS CONCERN ABOUT THE
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SUPREME COURT. A THOROUGH DISCUSSION
ENSUED ON ARTICLE 98. MR. FRANCO STRESSED THE IMPORTANCE
OF SPEAKING WITH A SINGLE USG VOICE ON ALL FOREIGN POLICY
PRIORITY AREAS. HE NOTED THAT NETHERCUTT SANCTIONS COULD
DIMINISH THE EFFECTIVENESS OF OUR EFFORTS, BUT IT IS CLEAR
THE USG POSITION CONTINUES TO BE THAT THE GOE SHOULD SIGN
ARTICLE 98. THE MISSION PROVIDED AN OUTLINE OF ITS
PROPOSED APPROACH FOR FY05 WHEREIN ESF WOULD BE DISBURSED
THROUGH OUR CURRENT AGREEMENTS AND CONTRACTS, TO THE
BENEFIT OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR, CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS
AND THE GENERAL POPULATION.

4. CONCERNING ONE WAY FREE TRADE AGREEMENT DISCUSSIONS,
NEGOTIATION ROUNDS HAVE SHOWN PROGRESS. WHILE NEARING THE
FINAL ROUNDS,THE ECUADORIAN AND USG TEAMS ARE GETTING DOWN
TO THE THORNIER ISSUES (INCLUDING LABOR, AGRICULTURE, AND
ENVIRONMENT ETC.)

5. MR. FRANCO, THE AMBASSADOR AND THE ACTING AID DIRECTOR
PARTICIPATED IN THE DELIVERY OF MICRO-CREDIT LOANS TO
TWENTY WOMEN-OWNED MICRO-ENTERPRISES IN QUITO BY FINCA, A
REGULATED FINANCE COMPANY THAT WAS FORMERLY FINANCED BY
USAID. THE BENEFICIARIES GAVE STRONG TESTIMONIALS ON THE
BENEFITS OF THE LOANS AND EXCELLENT VIDEO FOOTAGE WAS
CAPTURED OF THE EVENT. FRANCOS VISIT DEMONSTRATED THE
DESIRE AND THE INTEREST OF THE USG TO CONTINUE COOPERATING
WITH THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY.
IN ADDITION, USAID/ECUADOR WILL ASSESS THE OPTION OF
PROVIDING A DCA TO GUARANTEE THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS IN THE
CAPITAL MARKET TO SUPPORT FINCAS EXPANSION.

6. FOLLOWING AN INVITATION FROM MR. FRANCO TO ECUADOR,
AIDS RESPONSIBILITY PROJECT (ARP) REPRESENTATIVES RICH
TAFEL AND MICHAEL ARONOWITZ SUMMARIZED A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL
PROGRAM THAT ARP HAS IN MEXICO. PARTICULAR SUCCESSES IN
ENGAGING UNITED STATES AND MEXICAN CORPORATIONS IN
DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING HIV/AIDS HIRING AND EMPLOYMENT
POLICIES WERE HIGHLIGHTED. THE AMBASSADOR AND MR. FRANCO
ENDORSED THE IDEA OF TAKING A GRADUAL APPROACH OF ARP
P
ENGAGING PRIVATE SECTOR, NGOS AND THE GOE. THE U.S.
MISSIONS FOREIGN COMMERCIAL SERVICE IS TO ARRANGE
MEETINGS WITH THE GUAYAQUIL AND QUITO CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
AS A STARTING POINT. FOLLOWING ASSESSMENT/INTERVIEWS, A
POSSIBLE PROGRAM MAY BE DEVELOPED TO INITIATE AN HIV/AIDS
AWARENESS/EMPLOYMENT POLICY ACTIVITY TOGETHER WITH LOCAL
BUSINESSES. AA/LAC AGREED HE WOULD EXPLORE OTHER LAC
BUREAU RESOURCES TO FUND SUCH AN INITIATIVE. MISSION WILL
COORDINATE FOLLOW ON WITH USAID/MEXICO AND FUTURES GROUP
PROGRAM TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COORDINATING FUTURE ACTIVITY.

7. MR. FRANCO WAS INTERVIEWED BY RADIO QUITO ON USAID
ASSISTANCE TO LATIN AMERICA. HE WAS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE
SITUATION IN LAC AND PUBLICLY NOTED THAT ALL BUT ONE
COUNTRY IN LAC HAVE A FREELY ELECTED GOVERNMENT - CUBA
BEING THE EXCEPTION. MR. FRANCO REITERATED THE USG
CONCERNS FOR THE GOVERNANCE SITUATION IN ECUADOR, BUT SAID
HE IS OPTIMISTIC THAT THE GOE, CIVIL SOCIETY AND PEOPLE
WILL FIND A SOLUTION. AT THE SAME TIME HE CLARIFIED THE
USG SUPPORTS DEMOCRACY, NOT DICTATORS.

8. AT THE TOWN HALL MEETING WITH USAID STAFF AMBASSADOR
KENNEY AND DCM CHACON THANKED MR. FRANCO FOR HIS VISIT AND
PRAISED AGAIN THE MISSIONS OUTSTANDING WORK, PARTICULARLY
ON FTA, GALAPAGOS AND NORTHERN BORDER. RESPONDING TO A
CONCERN RAISED, MR. FRANCO INVITED THE MISSION TO CLEARLY
DEFINE THE STATUS AND EXTENT OF THE ISSUE AFFECTING FSN
RETIREMENT BENEFITS. ACTING AID DIRECTOR CONFIRMED HE
WOULD COMMUNICATE THIS CONCERN DIRECTLY TO MR. FRANCO
UNDER SEPARATE COVER. MR. FRANCO SAID HE WOULD RAISE THIS
ISSUE WITH DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR SCHIECK AS PART OF AN
INTER-AGENCY POLICY GROUP MEETING THIS COMING WEEK.

9. THE DAYS EVENTS CONCLUDED WITH A WIDELY ATTENDED
RECEPTION IN HONOR OF MR. FRANCO. APPROXIMATELY 75
ECUADORIAN OFFICIALS, BUSINESS AND CIVIL SOCIETY LEADERS,
PRESS LEADERS, IMPLEMENTING USAID ORGANIZATION LEADERS,
AND U.S. MISSION OFFICERS WERE PRESENT. THE EVENT WAS SEEN
AS A HUGE SUCCESS AND ENABLED CONTACTS BETWEEN PRIVATE
E
SECTOR AND PUBLIC SECTOR ON A NUMBER OF KEY THEMES THE
MISSION IS WORKING.

COMMENT:

10. MR. FRANCOS VISIT COMES AT A TIME OF ECUADCORIAN
POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY AND A RECENT CHANGE IN USAID MISSION
MANAGEMENT. HIS VISIT RAISED MISSION MORALE, BROADENED
AWARENESS OF USG POSITION ON KEY ISSUES AND FOSTERED
PRODUCTIVE DIALOGUE ON CONCERNS IMMEDIATELY FACING THE
MISSION. KENNEY

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