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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08QUITO499 2008-06-05 23:23:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Quito
Cable title:  

CORREA FAREWELL LUNCHEON FOR AMBASSADOR

Tags:   PREL PGOV PTER PHUM EC CO 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #0499 1572323
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 052323Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8985
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7585
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 3927
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3054
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUN LIMA 2633
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3593
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L QUITO 000499 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/05/2028
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PHUM EC CO
SUBJECT: CORREA FAREWELL LUNCHEON FOR AMBASSADOR

Classified By: Ambassador Linda Jewell for reason 1.4 (D)



1. (C) President Correa hosted a June 4 farewell luncheon
for the Ambassador at Carondelet Palace. Correa's wife and
two of their three children participated, as did the
Ambassador's family. Relaxed and informal, Correa expressed
his thanks to the Ambassador for her friendship for him and
for Ecuador. He waxed eloquent about how much he enjoyed his
time studying in the United States (in Illinois), recalling
backyard barbecues with his neighbors and how much his oldest
daughter liked her school there. Correa called U.S.
universities the best opportunity for real learning in the
world, saying that Ecuador needed to make its education
system more interactive to teach young people to think for
themselves. He also repeated what he has mentioned at other
times with American visitors -- his strong admiration for the
U.S. justice system.



2. (C) The luncheon was interrupted by Gustavo Moncayo, the
father of a Colombian FARC hostage, and his daughter, who are
visiting Ecuador. They came in to greet Correa and asked him
to call the hostage's mother, which he did. Once they left
the room, Correa commented on how terrible it was that the
FARC held 3,000 hostages. He went on to say that when the
FARC began, it fought a non-democratic government, but now
have completely lost their ideals, are opposing a
democratically elected government and are involved in
narcotics trafficking and hostage taking for money and
political power.



3. (C) In the course of conversation, Correa talked about
the Ecuadorian media, complaining that they are deliberately
trying to stir up trouble within PAIS (his Proud and
Sovereign Fatherland movement) and criticizing the media's
lack of professionalism. At the same time, he explicitly
said that he recognized the need for a free press and that
there was no one who could be a neutral arbiter of what is
"good reporting" and what is "bad", although he clearly
believes that there is a lot of "bad" in the media today.



4. (C) Comment: This informal lunch was mostly a
conversation about family, friends and personal anecdotes,
but offered further insight into Correa's personality and
governing style. He works hard to keep his family out of the
spotlight and so it was an unusual opportunity to see them
interact. His wife bantered with him, affectionately ribbing
him and correcting some of his stories and anecdotes over the
course of the lunch. The ad hoc interruption by Moncayo is
typical of the frenetic and disorganized pace of activity at
the palace, prompting his wife to comment to the Ambassador,
with a roll of the eyes, "It's always like this." Correa was
relaxed and went well out of his way to stress his admiration
for many things about the U.S. throughout the lunch.
Offering the lunch and including the families was a
significant gesture and a signal that he wants to maintain
channels of communication with the U.S.

Jewell