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Cablegate: Correa Declares "State of Exception" in Three Cities To

R 051444Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0151
INFO AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL

UNCLAS QUITO 000861

DEPT FOR DS/IP/WHA, DS/IP/ITA, DS/DSS/OSAC AND WHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC EC PGOV KCRM
SUBJECT: CORREA DECLARES "STATE OF EXCEPTION" IN THREE CITIES TO
COMBAT CRIME

1. (SBU) On September 30, 2009, President Rafael Correa signed
Presidential Decree #82, putting into effect a state of exception
for the cities of Quito, Guayaquil, and Manta. The state of
exception allows for the Ecuadorian Armed Forces to collaborate and
support the Ecuadorian National Police in operations to combat
crime and in operations to control arms and vehicles within the
cities of Quito, Guayaquil, and Manta. The decree will be in
effect for 60 days and does not suspend any citizens' rights.

2. (SBU) The decree is in response to the high number of criminal
incidents that have occurred in the aforementioned cities and
provides additional manpower and support to the Ecuadorian National
Police. The decree also names the Minister of Government and
Police as responsible for the coordination of the action between
the Armed Forces and Police.

3. (SBU) Comment: It is not believed that the state of exception
is a response to the recent nationwide protests carried out by
indigenous groups which has seen some violent confrontations
between the Ecuadorian National Police and protesters. Recent
comments by Minister of Government and Police Jalkh indicate the
state of exception is specifically in response to the increased
numbers of homicides and express kidnappings recently seen in
Quito, Guayaquil, and Manta. It is anticipated that these cities
will see a substantial increase in police checkpoints, with the
security forces establishing a stronger presence throughout. This
increased presence may have a temporary deterrent effect in regards
to the high levels of crime, but it is unlikely that this
collaboration between the Ecuadorian Armed Forces and the
Ecuadorian National Police will tackle the numerous factors which
create a soaring level of insecurity throughout Ecuador. End
Comment.
HODGES

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