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Cablegate: Change of Government Affecting Tip Progress

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





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) Summary: President Palacio is appointing new heads,
subsecretaries, and directors of all ministries, and the
turnover will slow down progress on key issues including
trafficking in persons (TIP). Changes in the ministry of
government, which heads the GOE's fight against TIP, are
ongoing. On April 28, the Ambassador met with the First Lady
and encouraged her to cooperate with us to combat TIP
(reftel). President of Congress Wilfredo Lucero said he
would prioritize pending TIP legislation, but first he must
deal with other key legislation. CONAMU (the National's
Commission on Women) recently signed an agreement with UNICEF
to establish a network of services for victims of sexual
exploitation in underserved areas. With ongoing changes in
the Government, we are redoubling our advocacy efforts. End

Large Turnover in All Government Ministries

2. (U) In the aftermath of former President Lucio
Gutierrez's removal, President Palacio will replace all
ministers (three remain to be named), subsecretaries, and
most other political appointees in all ministries. The GOE
is currently functioning at partial capacity while
replacements are named. GOE work on TIP and other mission
priorities is on hold while the GOE reconfigures itself.

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3. (U) Palacio and his advisors are in the process of
appointing new government officials, including the players
who will influence the government's fight against
trafficking. The new Minister of Government Mauricio
Gandara, head of the inter-institutional TIP committee, is
choosing his staff and setting his priorities. He has
appointed one vice minister, Juan Carlos Guzman, but has not
yet engaged with us on TIP issues. specified whether he or
someone else will handle TIP.

4. (U) Changes in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the
police will have less effect on TIP. A human rights officer
at the MFA told PolOff on April 26 that she did not expect
new FM Antonio Parra to make changes in her office, which
handles TIP. A new national director of DINAPEN (the police
that protect children and adolescents) was named just before
the change in government. It is unknown whether this
position will change again.

Ambassador Discusses TIP with First Lady

5. (U) The Ambassador met with First Lady Maria Paret de
Palacio on April 28 emphasizing the importance of combating
TIP (reftel). Paret agreed, but is still in the initial
stages of taking over INNFA, the national children's
organization and a member of the GOE's inter-institutional
trafficking committee. The Ambassador provided her with
background materials on the subjects and emphasized the
Embassy's desire to collaborate with INNFA.

Congress to Prioritize TIP but Many Urgent Issues
--------------------------------------------- ----

6. (SBU) On May 2, PolChief and PolOff met with President of
Congress Wilfredo Lucero, who said he personally was
concerned about child prostitution and the effect of TIP on
children. He will prioritize pending legislation to
criminalize TIP and related crimes, he said, but first
Congress must resolve several critical issues: the
re-composition of the courts and congressional committees and
the election of a vice president and a second vice president
to Congress. Lucero said he hoped Cynthia Viteri would be
president of the Commission on Civil and Criminal
Legislation. (Comment: If true, this could be good news.
Viteri presided over the committee through December 2004 and
actively participated in the first version of the TIP
legislation that Congress reviewed.)

CONAMU Forges Ahead Against Trafficking

7. (SBU) In contrast to the personnel shifts in government
ministries, Director of the independent agency CONAMU (the
National Commission on Women) Rocio Rosero on April 29, who
said there would be no changes in her organization. She
emphasized that CONAMU has continuing working behind the
scenes to fight TIP. She met with Minister of Government
Gandara on April 28 and briefed him on trafficking and
commercial sexual exploitation. Rosero described Gandara as
open and knowledgeable about these topics. She considered
him an improvement over previous ministers.

8. (U) CONAMU has moved forward against trafficking, Rosero
said. CONAMU recently signed a $40,000 agreement with UNICEF
to develop networks of services for victims of sexual
exploitation and expects to receive funds next weeks. The
networks will operate in the oil town Lago Agrio, Manta, and
Atacames (a beach resort in Esmeraldas province). CONAMU
also received funds from the International Labor Organization
to hire a full-time expert to advise and assist the GOE's
inter-institutional TIP committee through the end of the year.

9. (U) Rosero said she is committed to increased public
awareness of TIP. She spoke on a radio show on April 28
about the implications of trafficking, alien smuggling, and
sexual exploitation for families. She will advocate legal
reform to combat TIP in other media.

Education Process Critical

10. (U) Comment: With the changes in government across all
ministries, we are largely starting over with the new
government's leaders, educating them about trafficking and
U.S. policy. The new majority in Congress seems intent on
making progress on various fronts; we will continue to
advocate early attention to legislative reforms.

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