Cablegate: Further Background On Potential Intending
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 QUITO 001522
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/AND, CA/VO
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS PREL KCOR EC
SUBJECT: FURTHER BACKGROUND ON POTENTIAL INTENDING
REF: QUITO 1391
1. (U) Reftel requested Department concurrence regarding
Embassy-recommended visa revocations. This telegram provides
additional background on the visa holders, all associated
with the administration of former Ecuador President Lucio
Gutierrez. We no longer seek to revoke the visa of one, but
remain confident the others remain flight risks.
2. (SBU) POVEDA ZUNIGA, Jorge Moises Fernando. The Embassy
has determined there is one criminal charge outstanding
against Poveda, yet there are no active police investigations
into his conduct during the tumultuous week before Gutierrez
fell (despite human rights organizations alleging Poveda
orchestrated "repression" against Quito street protesters).
Embassy contacts canvassed indicate the former police chief
appears confident he can weather the storm and evinces no
signs of imminent flight. As such, we retract our request
for Department concurrence in visa revocation.
3. (U) AYERVE ROSAS, Oscar Rene. Ayerve was Gutierrez's
last minister of government (interior minister-equivalent),
with responsibility over the national police. Even before
the government changed, he was in hot water over a harassment
campaign he allegedly ordered against one-time Gutierrez ally
(but current enemy) Patricio Acosta, now an unofficial
advisor to President Alfredo Palacio. Media reported May 21
that Ayerve faces attempted kidnapping charges stemming from
the Acosta incident. He purportedly paid a Quito court
$8,000 in bail, which brought him out of hiding. On June 22,
Quito's El Comercio newspaper reported that a judge in Azuay
province will commence July 13 formal investigations against
Ayerve for bribery. This action will attempt to prove
widespread rumors that Ayerve bought national legislators'
votes in the November 2004 presidential impeachment effort.
Guayaquil's El Telegrafo reported June 11 that the Fiscalia
(Attorney General's office) is investigating Ayerve's (and
Gutierrez's) responsibility in the April 19 death of street
protester Julio Garcia. Last, Embassy law enforcement
contacts June 24 prepared us a summary of legal proceedings
opened against Reftel subjects. The printout showed seven
(7) active cases against Ayerve.
4. (U) ARBOLEDA HEREDIA, Carlos Rafael. Arboleda was
minister of energy and head of the depositors' guarantee
agency (AGD) during the Gutierrez administration. A favorite
professor of then-cadet Gutierrez, the two have remained
close for 20 years, and Arboleda reportedly enjoyed excellent
access to the president until the latter's final hours.
Guayaquil daily El Universo reports the Fiscalia has begun
initial investigations over accusations Arboleda "incited
rebellion" in recruiting counter-protesters to combat
anti-Gutierrez forces. The newspaper also claims the former
minister is fighting accusations by Ecuador's Anti-Corruption
Commission that he diverted AGD funds to cover the
counter-protests' costs. The legal proceedings summary shows
five active cases against Arboleda.
5. (SBU) VILLA BARRAGAN, Gualberto Napoleon. El Universo
reports that Villa, married to presidential sister Janeth
Gutierrez (see below), fled Ecuador for Colombia May 16 using
a false name. A founding member of the former president's
Patriotic Society party, Villa was rewarded with a series of
government positions, yet his spotty resume and dubious
ethics caused each to be short-lived, the president demanding
and obtaining his resignations under heavy media/opposition
pressure. Villa also was linked to Cesar Fernandez, a former
provincial governor-turned-druglord currently serving a long
prison term, although no formal charges materialized.
Considered perhaps the president's most-corrupt crony,
Villa's livelihood depended upon his ties to an in-power
Gutierrez. Law enforcement contacts here reveal a fraud
charge exists against him; initial Fiscalia investigations
commenced in September 2004.
6. (SBU) GUTIERREZ BORBUA DE VILLA, Janeth Alicia. The
Gutierrez administration's "tandem couple," presidential
older sister Janeth Gutierrez provided the brains to Villa's
brawn. She, too, dined with drug-dealer Fernandez and his
Mexican moneymen/clients, as reported by various Quito media.
That there are no criminal charges nor media indignation
against her says more about Ecuadorian male chauvinism than
her culpability. Gutierrez joined husband Villa in the May
16 escape to Colombia.
7. (SBU) BORBUA ESPINEL, Anibal Renan (believed to be in the
United States). The president's cousin and boyhood pal,
Borbua won election to Congress in 2002, yet was forced to
resign amidst corruption allegations in 2004. As Gutierrez's
chief ally on the coast, critics tab Borbua the architect of
the president's campaign to utilize Guayaquil-sourced party
faithful to confront street protesters who sought Gutierrez's
resignation. Like Arboleda, media report he faces criminal
charges in Quito for inciting riots (confirmed by our
8. (SBU) GONZALEZ ARGUELLO, Bolivar Napoleon (believed to be
in Russia). Bolivar Gonzalez, a wealthy attorney who once
represented failed banks' defrauded depositors, labored as
Gutierrez's deputy social welfare minister. Critics and
allies alike credit him for masterminding the president's
divide-and-conquer strategy toward Ecuador's indigenous,
necessary after they left the governing alliance in 2003.
Gonzalez's ministry became the final redoubt of pro-Gutierrez
forces April 20; there occurred one of the three fatal
incidents of the tumultuous turnover. He disappeared that
day, and despite televised, "Cops"-like searches of his homes
and offices, remains alight (perhaps holing up with relatives
of his Russian-born wife). Criminal charges (our printout
shows two) against Gonzalez allege he contracted known
"hitmen" to guard his ministry.
9. (SBU) ZUQUILANDA DUQUE, Jose Patricio (believed to be in
Colombia). Zuquilanda was minister of foreign affairs during
most of President Gutierrez's tenure. Perceived as arrogant
and pursuing personal, not national interests, the former FM
was (and is) fiercely unpopular with Congress and the media.
He departed Quito for Bogota during Gutierrez's dying throes
and has remained there since, technically on a leave of
absence. El Universo reports that MFA sources claim
Zuquilanda wishes to remain a diplomat, but serving only
overseas. Congress June 7 initiated censure proceedings
against the ex-FM, as he purportedly failed to protect
national sovereignty in his "tepid, kowtowing" response to
accusations that U.S. warships had sunk Ecuadorian merchant
and fishing vessels. If the censure uncovers criminal
violations, Congress can recommend the Fiscalia commence
formal investigations. Without naming targeted individuals,
current FM Antonio Parra revealed June 23 two internal
investigations, one into allegations the former
administration inappropriately secured embassy jobs for
Gutierrez family members, the other (with Fiscalia
involvement) concerning the alleged sale of over 6000
Ecuadorian visas to unqualified Chinese applicants. Media
link Zuquilanda to both. Our proceedings summary shows no
active cases yet initiated against Zuquilanda, however.