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Cablegate: Libertad Act: Ecuador-Cuba Relations

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C O N F I D E N T I A L QUITO 000981

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT PASS TO WHA/CCA FOR JARAHN HILLSMAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/11/19
TAGS: PHUM ETTC ETRD PREL CU EC
SUBJECT: LIBERTAD ACT: ECUADOR-CUBA RELATIONS

REF: STATE 115416; QUIT...


id: 235716
date: 11/19/2009 22:35
refid: 09QUITO981
origin: Embassy Quito
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 09QUITO375|09QUITO716|09QUITO841|09STATE115416
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C O N F I D E N T I A L QUITO 000981

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT PASS TO WHA/CCA FOR JARAHN HILLSMAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/11/19
TAGS: PHUM ETTC ETRD PREL CU EC
SUBJECT: LIBERTAD ACT: ECUADOR-CUBA RELATIONS

REF: STATE 115416; QUITO 375; QUITO 716; QUITO 841

CLASSIFIED BY: Heather Hodges, Ambassador, State, Exec; REASON:
1.4(B), (D)

1. (U) The Embassy provides the following information on the
relationship between the Cuban government and Ecuador in response
to Ref A.

2. (C) Ecuador has not worked to promote the advancement of
democracy and human rights in Cuba, nor has it undertaken
governmental action to condemn human rights abuses or to support
civil society in Cuba. During a state visit to Cuba in January
2009, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa accused the "Empire,"
meaning the United States, of ethnocide (apparently meaning
destruction of a people's culture) and criticized the "perverse
injustice" inflicted upon the five Cuban spies imprisoned in the
U.S. Correa declared himself an unconditional ally of Cuba. He
commended the Cuban revolution's achievements, claiming it had
succeeded in ensuring human rights for all Cubans (Ref B). In June
2009 he criticized the Organization of American States for failing
to include Cuba as a member and urged the OAS to "apologize" for
the ongoing exclusion.

3. (C) Ecuador and Cuba continue to exchange high-level visitors.
Cuban President Raul Castro attended Correa's August 10
inauguration ceremonies (Refs C and D), and President Correa
visited Cuba in August and September 2009 for medical consultations
and knee surgery. During his August visit, Correa spent several
hours with Fidel Castro. Ecuadorian Vice President Lenin Moreno,
who is disabled, conducted a 4-day visit to Cuba in October 2009 to
study social programs for the disabled.

4. (SBU) Ecuador does not have significant economic interests in
Cuba. No information was found regarding Ecuadorian investments in
Cuba and the Central Bank does not list Cuba among those countries
with foreign direct investment in Ecuador.

5. (SBU) During Correa's official trip to Cuba in January 2009,
the two countries signed nine bilateral agreements in the areas of
health, trade, culture, sports, science and technology, electricity
and renewable energy, economic cooperation, reciprocal visa
treatment for government officials, and political consultations
(Ref. B). As a follow-up to the bilateral electricity and
renewable energy agreement, President Correa issued a presidential
decree on October 12 allowing the purchase of 68 Korean-built
internal combustion electricity generators from Cuba, for a total
of 150 MW generating power, without going through a competitive bid
process. The expected delivery date of the generators has not been
released.

6. (SBU) In August 2009, then Vice Minister of Commerce and
Integration in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Julio Oleas,
visited Cuba to sign an extension to the 2000 bilateral Economic
Complementation Agreement between the two countries, which
contained reciprocal tariff preferences and measures to reduce
trade barriers, including sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
Ecuador's trade with Cuba is very small. In 2008, Ecuador had a
positive trade balance of US$ 12.2 million. Ecuadorian exports to
Cuba totaled $14.2 million that year, or less than 0.08 percent of
Ecuador's total exports, with canned and pouch tuna accounting for
45 percent of the total. Imports from Cuba amounted to only $2.0
million, or less than 0.03 percent of Ecuador's total imports.
From January through September 2009, Ecuador exported only $7.0
million worth of products to Cuba and imported $2.7 million of
goods from that country.


7. (U) Ecuadorian students, primarily in the medical field, study
in Cuba, some on scholarships. Cuban doctors are working in Ecuador

and regularly conduct medical outreach programs.
HODGES

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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