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Cablegate: Ambassador Meets with Lucio Gutierrez

VZCZCXYZ0009
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #1707 1942035
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 132035Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4819
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5787
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1865
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUL 9950
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 0768
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 0819
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS QUITO 001707

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EC
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH LUCIO GUTIERREZ

1. (SBU) Summary: After appearing in constitutional court
to defend his right to run in upcoming elections, Gutierrez
met with the Ambassador on July 12. Gutierrez summarized the
legal charges against him, seeking to show their arbitrary
nature. While the charges are obviously politically
motivated, Gutierrez's own is responsibility for the illegal
dissolution of his country's supreme court makes it hard for
the international community to rally to his cause. The
constitutional court is expected to decide on Gutierrez's
case on July 18 and will likely base its decision on
political calculations. Gutierrez feels he would win if
allowed to run, and did not discuss other options if the
court rules against him. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Gutierrez appeared in constitutional court the
morning of July 12 as part of the final appeal process of the
charges against him that have currently barred him from the
presidential elections and otherwise asserting any of his
political rights. As part of his efforts to garner support
against what he (rightly) regards as a process much more
about politics than law, he is visiting the ambassadors of
"friendly nations" to lay out his case. He met with the EU
ambassadors on July 11; we agreed to meet with him the
following day. Former Gutierrez Trade Minister Ivonne Baki
brokered the meeting - the Ambassador's first with Gutierrez,
and attended along with a Gutierrez assistant. The meeting
was held at the residence with the DCM also attending.

3. (SBU) Eschewing any small talk, Gutierrez launched
directly into a rambling and repetitive summation of the
legal case(s) mounted against him. Reading excerpts from
electoral and constitutional provisions and other documents
he had brought with him, he sought to show the legally
baseless and arbitrary nature of the charges. His argument,
if longwinded at more than one hour, was compelling. The
constitutional court had not reached a decision that morning,
instead postponing until next week. He said his problems
were the result of a personal and political vendetta against
him led by Social Christian Party (PSC) chieftain Leon Febres
Cordero, who controls the court. Baki noted that PSC
operative Xavier Neira is known to have intervened to have
one of the judges at a previous stage of the case move to
maintain the charges for spurious procedural reasons.

4. (SBU) Following the long presentation, Gutierrez relaxed
a bit and briefly talked about current politics. He did not
address any "Plan B" (such as the rumored scenarios of having
his brother run in his place, or allying with PRIAN and PRE
behind a single consensus candidate) should the court rule
against him, as expected. He asserted that he was the only
candidate attracting large crowds, and showed videotapes on a
laptop of various rallies from around the country to prove
his point. If allowed to run, he is certain that he would
win. He stressed his own responsible management of the
economy while president, his support for an FTA and repayment
of foreign debt, in contrast to the positions of the current
rival contenders.

5. (U) The constitutional court is expected to reconvene on
July 18 to make its decision on Gutierrez's case. The
court's seats were doled out by congress on a party basis; it
is generally assumed that the decision will be based on
political calculations, with each party deciding if
Gutierrez's candidacy would help or hurt that of their own
party. Gutierrez needs five of the nine court magistrates to
vote in his favor in order to run. Currently there is one
magistrate affiliated with Gutierrez's Patriotic Society
Party (PSP), one Roldosista Party (PRE) magistrate, and two
magistrates affiliated with Alvaro Noboa's PRIAN party who
are expected to vote in favor of Gutierrez. However, the
votes of the five PSC-affiliated magistrates will be decisive.

Comment
-------

6. (SBU) Lucio Gutierrez is undoubtedly the victim of
trumped up charges and legal abuse. But it's hard for the
U.S. and other members of the international community to
champion the cause of the same man who arbitrarily, illegally
dissolved his country's supreme court while in office.
Although vilified by the elites and most of the middle class,
he does retain significant popular support. Whether as a
candidate or not, he will be a factor in the upcoming
elections.
JEWELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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