|06QUITO1558||2006-06-26 15:39:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Quito|
VZCZCXYZ0108 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHQT #1558/01 1771539 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 261539Z JUN 06 FM AMEMBASSY QUITO TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4702 INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5746 RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1838 RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUN 9918 RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 0712 RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 0733 RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
1. (C) Summary: Vice Presidential candidate Ramiro Gonzalez
told the Ambassador on June 21 that he and Presidential
candidate Leon Roldos (currently ahead in polls) plan to
reform the educational system, the electrical sector, and
repair the investment climate crippled by the recently-passed
hydrocarbons law. He denied reports that Roldos would
default on Ecuador's foreign debt and said that they are
supportive of an FTA that is advantageous for Ecuador.
Roldos and Gonzalez plan to visit Washington in mid-July.
Roldos/Gonzalez to Visit DC
2. (C) Gonzalez told the Ambassador that he and Roldos will
travel to Washington in mid-July (tentatively 12-16) to meet
with representatives from international financial
institutions. The Ambassador offered to arrange appointments
with USG officials. Gonzalez thanked her for the offer, and
said that they would get back to us.
We Would Pay the National Debt
3. (C) The Ambassador asked Gonzalez to clarify reports that
Roldos had said he would not pay the country's foreign debt
if elected, noting this would complicate the next
government's relationship with international financial
institutions and likely further damage the investment
Gonzalez said that Roldos, plan for addressing the foreign
debt has been simplistically misportrayed by the press and is
not a moratorium. It is a complicated proposal that would
balance new productive investment and debt payment, so that
the GOE does not pay out more than it takes in each year.
The Ambassador noted that the opportunity to explain that
plan in detail to the IFIs during the Washington trip would
We Have a Plan
4. (C) The Ambassador asked what role Gonzalez would take on
as Vice-President if the Roldos-ID alliance were successful.
Gonzalez said that he intended to work as a team with Roldos.
He believed that his relationship with municipal and
provincial leaders would improve communication between the
central government and regional and local authorities.
Gonzalez also said he supports further decentralization, as
the central government has historically been unable to
effectively fulfill its obligations.
5. (C) Gonzalez told the Ambassador that he and Roldos
already have developed a comprehensive strategy to be
implemented within the first 100 days of taking office. The
goal is to quickly gain credibility with the Ecuadorian
public, he said. The first order for the Roldos-Gonzalez
team would be to aggressively overhaul the country's
educational system. Gonzalez lamented its inefficiencies and
said that Roldos would need to take on the powerful teacher's
union (UNE) and be prepared to wait out a three month strike,
at least. Gonzalez also revealed plans to reform the
electrical sector, and to work to make Ecuador more
attractive to foreign investors by repairing damage done by
the hydrocarbons law.
Gonzalez Discusses Elections
6. (C) The Ambassador asked Gonzalez who he felt was the
toughest opponent in the upcoming presidential elections,
Gonzalez named PSC candidate Cynthia Viteri as Roldos'
strongest rival. He said that a survey conducted by his
campaign team found that sixty percent of the respondents
believe Rafael Correa to be too extremist. Most of those
polled, he said, believed that a Correa alignment with the
indigenous would harm his campaign. Many, according to
Gonzalez, view the indigenous movement negatively, since it
puts its own interests ahead of the nation.
7. (C) The Ambassador raised the possibility of popular
journalist and Andean parliamentarian Freddy Ehlers joining
the Correa campaign, perhaps as his running-mate. Gonzalez
said that Ehlers had become increasingly absorbed by
religious mysticism, and suggested that Correa,s own fervent
Catholicism might be the basis of their rumored political
Must Separate FTA from U.S.
8. (C) Gonzalez, an economist by training with a
sophisticated and pragmatic approach to economic policy, told
the Ambassador that the concept of free trade agreements in
general terms are difficult here, but are particularly
problematic when attached to the United States. He said that
the ID supports free trade that is beneficial to Ecuador, and
hopes to expand talks with other nations, as well as the U.S.
The party was working to de-link free trade agreements from
the U.S. by explaining their overall benefit to economic
development, he said. Gonzalez also stated that it was
difficult to say if they would have supported the FTA with
the U.S., as the most important aspects of the agreement had
not been concluded.
ID Internal Battles Healthy
9. (C) Gonzalez claimed ID President Guillermo Landazuri had
lost control of the ID, but this was "healthy party
politics", showing the ID is more internally democratic than
other parties. The ID is very concerned with recent public
positions taken by congressmen Jorge Sanchez and Carlos
Gonzalez. The ID believes that they feared losing their
Congressional seats in outcome elections and thus ramped up
the populist rhetoric. They have since been requested to
tone down, he reported. Neither will lose their positions on
the October congressional election list.
10. (C) Ramiro Gonzalez Jaramillo was born on August 26,
1958. He received an economics degree from Quito's Catholic
University. He did post-graduate study in political science
at FLACSO, and participated in courses at George Washington
University, Harvard University, and Clark Atlanta University.
Gonzalez has held positions as Sub-secretary for Human
Resources at the Ministry of Labor, head of Quito College of
Economics, National Director for the ID Institute of
Political Formation, and provincial vice president of ID. He
is currently serving his second term as provincial prefect
(U.S. governor equivalent) for Pichincha.
11. (C) Gonzalez is a dynamic, moderate economist and would
likely be a constructive, like-minded interlocutor for the
USG on many issues. His attempt to portray the Roldos-ID
alliance as trouble-free belies other indications of internal
strain over congressional candidacies. A natural
conciliator, Gonzalez would seem well-fitted to balance the
more mercurial Roldos. Few believe, however, that the
ambitious Gonzalez would settle for playing second fiddle for