Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register



Cablegate: Ex-President Noboa Forcibly Returned to Guayaquil

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) Tactical police stormed the beachfront home of former
President Gustavo Noboa on October 11 and loaded him on to a
helicopter under orders from the provincial police chief that
he be returned to Guayaquil. Noboa has been under house
arrest for more than five months, after he returned to
Ecuador on April 3 from his brief self-exile in the Dominican
Republic. (reftel) He had originally left the country in
August 2004, when his arch nemesis and PSC stalwart Leon
Febres Cordero (LFC) charged him with supposed irregular
restructuring of Ecuador's external debt while Noboa was

2. (U) In this latest move, Noboa left Guayaquil without any
type of escort (police were no longer guarding his home). As
his defense, he claimed that a local judge had recognized his
right to change the location of his house arrest to his true
residence in the retreat town of Punta Blanca (offering as
proof that he only rents the house in Guayaquil). He also
argued that he had discussed this plan many times with
authorities, both within the police force and the Ministry of
Government. LFC was quick to admonish Noboa in the press,
stating "he has no right to be given any privileges." Noboa
quickly retorted that LFC was behind the questionable police
action. He went on to note that even Guayaquil mayor Jaime
Nebot (PSC) believes the law enforcement authorities went
overboard in their zealousness to bring Noboa back to
Guayaquil (Nebot's second such public spat with LFC in just
one week).

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

3. (SBU) While Noboa's lawyer prepares a formal lawsuit for
the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights seeking his
release from house arrest until there is a Supreme Court that
can hear his case, Noboa announced that he is seriously
considering a return to politics. However, Noboa's close
confidant and former Minister of Government Rodolfo Barniol
later told PolOff that Noboa cannot afford to re-enter
politics right now. Between the outstanding house arrest
order and the threat of further charges being brought against
him by the acting comptroller general, it would be very
difficult. "To say nothing of the strong-arm tactics LFC
would take to oppose it," maintained Barniol.

4. (SBU) Barniol commented that Noboa is "a victim of the
(in)justice system" here in Ecuador, and added that the
situation the former president finds himself in can all be
traced back to the maneuverings of LFC. When asked what he
believes LFC's motivation to be, Barniol replied that it
stems from two things: Noboa's close relationship with LFC's
father (Agustin Febres Cordero Tyler), which LFC came to
resent, and the fact that while president, Noboa refused to
do the bidding of LFC's party.

5. (SBU) Noboa's close friend also believes that things are
going to get worse for the former president. Specifically,
in addition to the charges settled against him by LFC, Noboa
faces the possibility of additional charges from the acting
comptroller general, who is close to LFC. These latest
charges would be against Noboa and his two Ministers of
Economy and Finance (Luis Iturralde and Jorge Gallardo) for
supposedly arranging for the transfer of $48 million to
Salomon Smith Barney for their role in Ecuador's debt
restructuring negotiations. The American company was the
official advisor to the GOE during these negotiations.
However, the comptroller general is portraying this $48
million as above their fee and more along the lines of making
some backroom deal with the banks. While Barniol admitted
that he could not provide any evidence of this intended
action, he stated the announcement is to be made in the next
week or two.


6. (SBU) This latest political drama is another illustration
of the debilitating predicament facing Ecuador's democratic
institutions. The current lack of a Supreme Court in Ecuador
means that Noboa's case is literally in limbo (under
Ecuadorian law only the president of the Supreme Court can
rule on Noboa's appeal). The last Supreme Court president
annulled the charges against Noboa and the person who
reinstated them was a district attorney, not a judge. The
fact that LFC came out early and very vocally against Noboa's
right to shift residences seems to confirm his personal
motives. It is also interesting that Nebot continues to
distance himself from LFC publicly.


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines

UN News: Aid Access Is Key Priority

Among the key issues facing diplomats is securing the release of a reported 199 Israeli hostages, seized during the Hamas raid. “History is watching,” says Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths. “This war was started by taking those hostages. Of course, there's a history between Palestinian people and the Israeli people, and I'm not denying any of that. But that act alone lit a fire, which can only be put out with the release of those hostages.” More

Save The Children: Four Earthquakes In a Week Leave Thousands Homeless

Families in western Afghanistan are reeling after a fourth earthquake hit Herat Province, crumbling buildings and forcing people to flee once again, with thousands now living in tents exposed to fierce winds and dust storms. The latest 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit 30 km outside of Herat on Sunday, shattering communities still reeling from strong and shallow aftershocks. More

UN News: Nowhere To Go In Gaza

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said some 1.1M people would be expected to leave northern Gaza and that such a movement would be “impossible” without devastating humanitarian consequences and appeals for the order to be rescinded. The WHO joined the call for Israel to rescind the relocation order, which amounted to a “death sentence” for many. More

Access Now: Telecom Blackout In Gaza An Attack On Human Rights

By October 10, reports indicated that fixed-line internet, mobile data, SMS, telephone, and TV networks are all seriously compromised. With significant and increasing damage to the electrical grid, orders by the Israeli Ministry of Energy to stop supplying electricity and the last remaining power station now out of fuel, many are no longer able to charge devices that are essential to communicate and access information. More


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.