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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05QUITO2863
2005-12-15 22:53:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Quito
Cable title:  

ECUADOR: PALACIO SWEARS IN TWO NEW CABINET MEMBERS

Tags:   PGOV  PINR  PREL  EC 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 QUITO 002863 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL EC
SUBJECT: ECUADOR: PALACIO SWEARS IN TWO NEW CABINET MEMBERS

REF: QUITO 2814



1. (U) Summary: On December 14, President Alfredo Palacio
swore in Alfredo Castillo Bujase as the new Minister of
Government (the fourth person to hold this post since Palacio
took office in April). Acting Minister of Government Galo
Chiriboga returned to his previous post as Minister of Labor.
Jose Modesto Apolo replaced Luis Herreria as Presidential
Administration Secretary on December 14. More Cabinet
changes are expected in coming days or weeks. Below is
biographical information for the following new Cabinet
members and government officials: Minister of Government
Alfredo Castillo and Administration Secretary Jose Modesto
Apolo. End Summary.

Minister of Government Alfredo Castillo


--------------------------





2. (U) On December 15, Castillo told press that as Minister
of Government, he will continue government efforts to convoke
a referendum on a national constituent assembly to consider
constitutional reforms. He reportedly said the project would
not be immediate, would not go through Congress, and would
include one question on whether to convoke a constituent
assembly. His other priority would be "recovering national
sovereignty."



3. (U) Castillo was born November 24, 1939 in Guayaquil. He
holds degrees in law and economics from Quito's Central
University. He studied in the former Soviet Union and
Britain. Castillo, a former hard-line Marxist, was a leader
of the Communist Party's "Leftist Broad Front" ("Frente
Amplia de la Izquierda" or FADI) in the 1970s. He founded
the National Liberation Party (NLP) in October 1987 and
served as secretary general of the party. The party
dissolved in 1995. Press reports claim that President
Palacio's father was a member.



4. (U) Since 1973, Castillo has held academic posts at the
Central University, University of Guayaquil, and Catholic
University. From 1973-74, Castillo was head of Central
University's Sociology Department.



5. (U) In 1990, Castillo was an unsuccessful candidate for
Congress, representing Pichincha province. His campaign
slogan was "Be Free!" and his platform was to include
workers' representatives on the Monetary Board, modify the
structure of the National Development Bank, and promote
greater state support for science and technology related to
production.



6. (U) Castillo was named advisor to then-President Abdala
Bucaram (PRE) in July 1996. Castillo became banana magnate
Alvaro Noboa's vice presidential candidate in the 1998
elections on the Bucaram's PRE party's ticket. Castillo met
Noboa when he was advisor to Bucaram and Noboa was president
of the Monetary Board. These associations would appear to

indicate a migration in the post-1989 era from communist
dogma to a more generalized populism.



7. (U) Castillo is married to Martha de Diago de Castillo
and has two children. In his free time, he reads, studies,
and writes. He has written works including "Keynes and the
Political Economy of the 20th Century" and "Particularities
of Latin-American Development." He enjoys reading the
literature of authors including Shakespeare, Balzac, and
Garcia Marquez, and the writings of Hegel and Marx.

Administration Secretary Jose Modesto Apolo


--------------------------





8. (U) Apolo becomes Presidential Administration Secretary,
similar to White House Chief of Staff, after having been a
close political advisor to Palacio. Apolo met Palacio when
he was the senior Under Secretary for Trade under President
Sixto Duran Ballen in 1995-96 and Palacio was serving as
Duran Ballen's Minister of Health.



9. (U) Apolo has a master's degree in international affairs
and diplomacy, as well as a law degree. At age 19, Apolo
participated in protests against the dictator Ramon Castro
Jijon, organized by the Guayaquil Chamber of Commerce. In
1986, he ran for provincial councilor for Guayas on the
Liberal Party's ticket, but did not win. Since his failed
candidacy, he has not had any political party affiliation.



10. (U) Apolo has been active in the Guayaquil Chamber of
Commerce, the Guayaquil Chamber of Industry, and the Maritime
Chamber. He has also served as an advisor to the National
Port Council and has been director of the Port Authority and
Customs. In Guayaquil, Apolo runs a law firm founded by his
father, Apolo and Associates, which specializes in maritime
issues.



11. (U) In 1999, Apolo was treated for a cancer on his
tongue. He later founded the Ecuadorian Foundation Against
Cancer. His health is said to currently be good. He has
been involved in charity exchanges with Sloan-Kettering
hospital in New York.



12. (U) Apolo has been married to Maria Lorena Santos for 28
years and the couple has two children, one of whom is an
architect living in Miami. Apolo speaks good English. He is
called "Pepe" by his friends. Apolo's father, Modesto Apolo
Ramirez, was a leader of the Liberal Party.

Comment


--------------------------





13. (SBU) We remain leery of Castillo's leftist credentials,
despite assurances he will not be permitted to deal with U.S.
bilateral interests (RefTel). Apolo has been better known
and generally helpful to us in the past. Both men appear to
favor Palacio's political strategy of confronting the
political party elites at considerable risk to this
government's stability. The Ambassador will request a
meeting with Castillo to size him up and seek common ground,
especially in the fight against trafficking in persons.
JEWELL